There are always cars that are considered ahead of their time. Sometimes they are apparent, like the Tesla Model S. Other times, it takes some time to realize how truly exceptional a car was. The BMW E39 that was made from 1999-2003 is a great example. It still has character and a subtle presence that makes it stand out from just about every other car on the road, even though it was designed nearly 20 years ago.
There’s another car that has been on my bucket list since the mid 1990’s when all I could think about was which new Mustang am I going to buy this year? Back in the mid 90’s, a good friend of mine and I had the same yellow 1994 Mustang GT convertible. They were both 5-speeds with white tops and 17″ wheels. They really stood out on the road in a sea of terrible used cars from the ’80s and ’90s. Less than a year after my friend bought the same car as me, he traded it in on a Japanese car! I was horrified that he would give up his shouty American 5.0L V8 Mustang for a 1995 Mazda RX-7, known to enthusiasts simply as an “FD,” which simply means it’s a 1993-95 RX-7. Turns out that I’m the moron who underestimated what that car could do with it’s piston-less rotary engine that measured out to a paltry 1.3 liters. Even with two turbos, how fast could it really be with only 276hp? Well guess what, it was fast and it was probably the reason I sold my Mustang too. The RX-7 was an expensive car for it’s time. With all of the options, it was around $40,000 in 1995 money! That’s about $80,000 by today’s standards. I was totally wrong about calling the FD an “overpriced piece of junk” back in the day because now, I understand. The lines of the FD RX-7 are similar to what C5 Corvettes from the early 2000’s look like. The Mazda lacks right angles. It sits just right, has almost perfect weight distribution, it’s light and can still run rings around many cars that are being built today. It’s truly an example of a vehicle that was far ahead of it’s time and I wish I had bought one while they were still affordable.
Click here for a pristine example of an FD that I saw on Bring A Trailer over the weekend. Prices for these original, low mileage cars are on the rise so get one while you still can. Take it to Sebring and drive the wheels off of it!
Erica Habedank | WTOG/CW44 CBS Tampa Bay