The RX-7

Clearly today in North America people are perfectly happy with their cars as long as it looks good, and in some cases not so good, but well what more is there to desire? Many could care less about what transmission they drive, I mean sure tiptronic is fancy, but it is rather expensive if something happen to, you know, stop working. Therefore most people go straight for the automatic, where one can put 100% of their efforts into driving safely, or so they think. Sure driving an automatic frees up a hand, but what most people do with that extra limb is far from safe, but enough about safety and on to fun. No only is driving a standard transmission more entertaining than say eating at your favorite diner, but its also cheaper on your wallet. Yes, it does take some getting use to and your hand could be free to say become a driving telemarketer, but the real power lies in giving the person back the control of the road.

Standard transmission usually comes cheaper by as much as $2,000 on newer vehicles and the gas you save may not be as much as say in the 90’s, but gas saving also depends on a person driving style. With that in mind it wouldn’t be very smart to get a standard transmission and a sports car, but thats where I was wrong. What I was out for was not gas efficency, but a new level of fun. Boy did I get that fun when I decided to choose the second generation RX-7. It was not only sleek and modern looking, it had that power, the lightness and the swiftness that I had never experienced before. Paired with a good standard transmission, the RX-7 is truly a magnificent beast. You see when you purchase a RX rotary vehicle, most of the power comes from the high end, meaning high revving is a must, not only for the power, but to keep those nasty carbon deposits from building up in the engine. If you buy an automatic RX you lose over 25 HP or more, because automatic vehicles automatically change gears at a level that provides decent fuel economy and power. But who buys an rotary vehicle for fuel economy? The same reason why you don’t get an electric bicycle over a fine race motorbike.

Now my personality is far from a person that lusts for speed, but I was hoping that I would adopt the RX-7’s personality and not the other way around. Being new to driving standard I had my embarrassing moments, and bad stalls, but I managed to pull it off in a normal amount of time and a fair amount of practice. Now I ask myself, why hadn’t I done this sooner? Now I find myself in full control of my car, and with the exception of my hill parking, all aspects and image of the road has changed. Maybe because I’m so much closer to the road or maybe because all the attention my engine gather had forced me to fix myself up a little more when I decide to go out. Clearly it has not changed my personality much, but thats because it has not completely won me over yet.

Don’t toy with me!

Sure the car is a beast on the highway, around corners and curves and is a master at everything, but it lacks enough torque to say “get out of my way”. Of course I don’t choose to drag my car regardless of how many times I’ve been challenged, not because the RX-7 car has low torque, but because driving in a straight line is hardly the best way to show off the abilities of a rotary engine. The 130 pounds of torque matches the 2003 Toyota Corolla S, but the RX-7 is clearly lighter and has more sexy features, but the amount of rpm it takes to launch it is slightly less than satisfying. The car Naturally aspired version consumes regular fuel (with very slight to no performance increase by using supreme) but has much lower milage than piston engines. I consumes about 40 liters for every 250 km you drive, again depending on your driving style. This consumption is double the Toyota Corolla S, and may be painful to those with a budget or the friendly neighborhood environmentalist. But again how many sports cars are known for fuel efficiency?

The engine and daily maintenance is hardly as troubling as the newer rotary cars. The second generation is free from the snake pit of vacuum hoses that plague the newer RX owners. This car has been built with relatively few to no loose parts, and this is a benefit because wither you drive on the highway or the quiet country road the engine will not end up rattling or suffering from high revving. Heck, by design the rotary is to be driven near the red-line and like a lithium battery it should be used to its limit constantly and to see the red-line at least once a drive will keep the mechanics away. The engine is lighter than most engine, and although it may scare most normal piston mechanics away, the rotary engine with a little reading can be easily disassembled and reassembled like a lawn-mower engine. It runs on two rotaries and not four pistons and for its sizes it gives dazzling power. However the rotary engine does consume a fair more amount of oil than “normal” vehicles, but its natural for all rotary engines to keep their rotors well lubricated to withstand the red-lines and daily drives. The problem lies in emissions, and if you have strict emissions in your state or province then you must fear the rotary. The oil it burns allows it to run extra smelly and your emissions officers will have some bad news for you if your seven is not well maintained. Therefore, as long as emissions is not a bitch and you top up your oil and change it every 3-5000 miles and maintain it a little more dearly than other cars then you will be safe. Although many may shy away from this tiny bit of work, this experience will allow you to look at your cars differently and the extra care you put into your cars will become a habit for a lifetime.

However this demon dominates in all aspects after the mild take off and if one had desired this car for rush hour traffic then they deserve exactly what they are getting. But if you are out for a fun car that will leave yourself asking for more then you have the most mechanic friendly rotary champion.


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