The collector car auction marketplace is one of constant one-upmanship. Fewer miles, more documentation, rarer specs, and higher prices have traditionally been the order of business, and it’s come for all the cars we idolized as kids. This 1993 Mazda RX-7 is one of the lowest-mileage examples to ever auction on Bring A Trailer, to the point where it could set a new price record. However, with a current high bar of $148,000, this FD RX-7 has a long way to go.
Of all the 1990s Japanese sports cars, the third-generation Mazda RX-7 is my favorite. Not only is it lithe and agile where the Toyota Supra and Nissan 300ZX are a bit heavy, sequential twin-turbochargers mated to a two-rotor engine offer unbelievable powertrain character. The little Mazda feels like it’s running on rocket fuel rather than unleaded, and driving one is a surprisingly physical experience. Everything is hot, the cabin is tight, the chassis just wants to dance, and you need to be on your A-game to extract this thing’s potential. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to drive a laser-guided jet-propelled air fryer?
Mind you, the FD RX-7 never achieved quite the same fame as the Mk4 Toyota Supra or Nissan Skyline GT-R. It wasn’t the car that broke Gran Turismo, nor was it the big hero car in a Hollywood franchise about street racing and guerilla warfare. Instead, it’s simply a brilliant sports car, and made in a way that would be impossible to do again.
The appeal of this particular RX-7 comes down to condition and mileage. Not only is its black paint in absolutely gorgeous condition under studio lights, it’s only covered around 275 miles per year since it was new. As far as museum pieces go, this is a solid contender. It also comes with a ton of documentation and literature, including a work order to repair a chip and a paint scratch prior to delivery, and all manner of period-correct magazines. It’s a plausible record-contender if I’ve ever seen one, but we need to take a look at the current champ to see what deciding factors might lie ahead.
So what RX-7 holds the current record on Bring A Trailer? It’s a silver 1994 R2 car that hammered back in June for a wild $148,000. What makes this record even more interesting is that this Silverstone Metallic car and the black car currently being auctioned are extremely comparable in spec and condition.
For starters, the R1 and R2 package are essentially the same thing, with the name changing depending on model year. Both include twin oil coolers, brake ducts, a front tower brace, re-tuned suspension, and some aero add-ons, and both are highly desirable on FD RX-7s. In addition, the current record-holder had just 6,743 miles on its odometer when it hammered, making it roughly comparable in mileage to this 8,253-mile car.
So, what role will color play? After all, Mazda USA sold just 83 1994 RX-7 R2s in Silverstone Metallic for 1994, compared to 138 Briliant Black R1 cars for 1993. In fact, Mazda only sold 99 Silverstone Metallic R2 cars in America, no Silverstone Metallic R1 cars, and 312 Brilliant Black R1 and R2 cars combined. That’s a substantial difference in color availability, and could be a deciding factor. So could wear on some interior plastics — the scratches on the center console in the black car will require trim re-finishing to put right.
Then again, there’s also the chance the market could be softening. Save for a handful of outliers, the market for FD RX-7s has been trending downward since the second quarter of 2022, and I’m seeing similar trends in other enthusiast cars. According to Bring A Trailer historical results, E46 BMW M3 prices have been falling back down to earth, and the vast majority of R34 Nissan Skyline GT-Rs have failed to meet reserve in the past few months. My best guess is that some of the pandemic windfalls seen by wealthier individuals have been eroded away, leading to a slight softening in some areas of the collector car market.
In any case, with the eleventh hour left on the auction and a high bid of $80,000, this 1993 Mazda RX-7 will be one to watch. There will always be higher-mileage, driver-spec examples out there that won’t cost an absolute arm and leg, but there’s also a certain morbid curiosity in seeing just how high the cream of the crop can go.
UPDATE: Well, it turns out that a low-mileage FD RX-7 isn’t a $148,001 driving experience. Who knew? The hammer price for this thing was $80,500.
(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)
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