July 7th, or 7/7 has become the unofficial holiday dedicated to the love of Mazda’s RX-7. What seems to have originated as a tradition in car parks all across Japan’s urban landscape, eventually made it’s way to our shores in the guise of similar informal meets as well as more organized events. At least in the Chicagoland area, Elite Rotary Shop was willing to step in and put on one of the more formal events for the day. Hosting a car show at their shop in Schaumburg, complete with prizes for the best cars in attendance.
The turn out for the day was fairly good, and while it was far short of representing all of the areas RX-7’s, there were still quite a few nice examples on hand from each generation. RX-7 owners made the trip from Wisconsin, Ohio and everywhere around the Chicagoland region; all driving to Elite Rotary Shop’s door step, to enjoy the gorgeous summer weather, some great tacos provided by Big Rig Tacos, and the company of fellow fans of Mazda’s rotary engine sports car. Elite Rotary even graciously picked up the tab, covering food and drink for everyone on hand! It all made for a great afternoon catching up with old friends and making some new ones, all celebrating the cars we love.
The cars on hand ranged all three generations of the RX-7 and included some RX-8’s as well. You could find models in various conditions from newly acquired projects, well preserved and maintained survivors, no expense spared builds, and everything in between. Here are some of my favorites from the day.
When your car ends up on the cover of a flyer/announcement for Gridlife/Automass car show and track event, you can be pretty confident you’ve got something special. The owner of this white FD adorned in RE Amemiya Aero goodness, is Ben. This FD is his latest chariot of choice to run in his event of choice, Gridlife. Having previously campaigned a 240 in drift competition, Ben intends to use this purpose built FD in the Gridlife time attack series. I’m not sure what was more impressive, the aggressive aero package of the car, or that Ben was able to pilot it through Chicagoland streets without incident! One thing that was not surprising, was this extensively modified track weapon took home the best of show award for the day. (An additional note, that vanity plate “HTR”, stands for Hard Times Racing, not hater as is often mistaken.)
Another prize winner of the day, for best first generation, was Hector’s gorgeous red 1979 RX-7. It has shown up on the blog here, several times, for good reason. It is tastefully modified throughout with period correct touches, all blended in a well thought out and cohesive manner. Everything is kept immaculate beyond belief. Even where certain modifications include more modern components, they do so in harmony with the look and feel of the era the car was born in. For example, the paint veers a bit from period, using a modern Velocity Red Mica instead of the original Sunrise Red, but it’s still in the Mazda family and honestly it looks unbelievably good on the car. If they made a first generation RX-7 today, Velocity Red Mica would definitely be on the option sheet. The fender mount mirrors are rounded, sculpted looking pieces; much better than many of the OE options of the era, where chunky utilitarianism often took priority over beauty. The interior is a clean and simple black and white theme, with a Momo styled steering wheel a perfect focal point. Hector has put tons of effort and time into this car, and it shows every time I see it.
Taking home best second generation, was this FC sporting RE Amemiya bumpers and a fresh coat of Galaxy Gray, also from the modern Mazdaspeed line up. Under the hood, things get quite a bit more interesting, where a 13B-RE swap now resides. Aggressively ported and equipped with a Elite Rotary Shop’s own prototype turbo kit, this thing is a force to be reckoned with. I actually first saw it during the dyno tune event Elite held back in May. As of this writing, development is still in progress, so I won’t divulge the horsepower figure it made, but suffice to say it was impressive, with more on the table for sure. I’m hoping to see this thing around again, as I can’t wait to see the end results.
The best 3rd generation car award, went to this red beauty below. When Mazda created the third generation RX-7, they very nearly created the perfect sports car styling. Even nearly 20 years later, the lines of this car seem no less beautiful and no less relevant today. As such, the formula for a beautiful FD is a simple one, less is more. In the case here, some carbon fiber, Work Emotion wheels in a lovely satin bronze, and a nicely lowered stance, are more than enough to accentuate the automotive goddess that is the third generation RX-7.
The night finished out with a cruise back in to the city I call home, as a caravan of fire spitting machines weaved their way through traffic into downtown Chicago. The final meeting point in the shadow of the Field Museum, would be where the crew of RX-7 enthusiasts would cap the night, sharing stories of the trip in to the city and good times the cars have brought them that day and all the days before.
-photos and writing: Robert Sixto