You might glance at this 1988 Mazda RX7 convertible and move on,
but you'd be making a mistake. Because for this very, very
reasonable price, you'll be getting not only a handsome ragtop, but
one that will terrorize Mustangs and Camaros in its spare time. Oh,
I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that it's stuffed full of LT1 Chevy
V8, a 5-speed, and razor-sharp reflexes. Got your attention
We'll get to the engine swap in a moment, but first let's talk about the pretty blue paint this Mazda's wearing today. It was repainted a few years ago and still looks great, with a few signs of use that you'd expect from a car that's this much fun to drive. The angular RX7 bodywork still looks contemporary today, despite being nearly 30 years old, and thanks to high-quality workmanship at the factory, these cars hold up incredibly well. It doesn't appear to have lived its life in a snow belt area, so everything's quite clean, and the surgery Mazda performed to turn their hatchback into a convertible is pretty convincing. The pop-up headlights give it a smooth front end and there aren't any styling gimmicks at all, so you get a clean chin spoiler, smooth flanks, and a tiny lip spoiler on the trunk, but that's it. No stripes, no wings, nothing to call too much attention to yourself. OK, so the exhaust note is going to raise some eyebrows, but by then it might just be too late. And if this were mine, I'd remove that Chevy Bowtie decal from the trunk and then go out hunting.
The Mazda interior was already a pretty nice place to spend some time, so they didn't waste a lot of effort trying to reinvent the wheel there. Grippy cloth bucket seats hold you in place and help keep you cool in the sun and the original gray carpets are still in good shape. The original gauges are in the dash, but they're not yet connected to the LT1 aside from the fuel and voltage gauges, but that's not as big a job as it seems for a smart tinkerer, and there's an aftermarket temperature gauge down in the console. They also added a Pioneer AM/FM/CD stereo system ahead of the white cue ball shifter for the Tremec World Class 5-speed gearbox. The black power top seals up well enough and you still get a good-sized trunk even with the battery stowed back there.
It's remarkable how easily the 1996 Corvette LT1 V8 slides under the Mazda's hood without any external modifications. It's pretty stock aside from a cold air intake, but that means bulletproof reliability and it virtually doubled the RX7's horsepower output and tripled its torque. It starts and runs beautifully thanks to factory-style fuel injection and there's a giant aluminum radiator up front to keep it cool. Neat wiring, a serpentine belt drive system, and an electric cooling fan all help with reliability, so you can enjoy this car without worries. The 5-speed manual shifts beautifully and powers the Mazda's original independent rear end, so handling is unaffected. Newer shocks, a beautifully crafted dual exhaust system with X-pipe, and a set of oversized 19-inch Z06 wheels from a later Corvette all enhance the experience. This is one heck of a car!
Available for pennies on the dollar, this RX7 represents one of the best blends of American horsepower and Japanese handling, all wrapped in a great-looking ragtop. Call today!