In 2018, I spent about $7,000 on my 1991 Turbo II RX-7. It had a bucket seat, an aftermarket steering wheel, upgraded exhaust, an HKS BOV, and a few other small upgrades. I felt like that was a pretty good price, seeing that FDs were at least twice as expensive but with RHD. Today you might struggle to find a Series 5 Turbo II RX-7 for less than $10,000. As you would expect with any 30+-year-old sports car, prices are going up. Mazda built just over 272,000 units of the FC RX-7 between 1986 to 1992.
You could opt for a coupe or a convertible, a naturally-aspirated twin-rotor 13B or a turbocharged one, and a 4-speed automatic gearbox or a 5-speed manual transmission. The 10th Anniversary and GTU models were a bit rarer than most other specifications, and it's not hard to understand why Series 5 cars are usually more sought after than the Series 4 models. With more power, upgraded tech, and slightly better styling, the last FCs to leave the factory in Hiroshima should be a good start for any investor, or rotor head for that matter.
Auction History AnalysisWe've just finished analyzing a total of 73 auctions that were carried out on a well-known online platform between 2014 and 2022. If you're curious about the split between convertibles and coupes, it adds up to 24 versus 49 cars each. 40 vehicles had NA engines under the hood, and it's worth noting that a few other cars were no longer rotary-powered at all.
Average Price EvolutionThere are endless forum discussions about rotary reliability issues, but my advice to you is this: if you want one badly, just go for it! Some people will tell you that a naturally-aspirated RX-7 will last longer than a turbocharged one, but how many miles are you going to put on it anyway? Going down the turbo route will bring more smiles per gallon. I can vouch for that! Still, let's look at how the average price for these cars evolved to get a better understanding of where the market is going.
Seven auctions were successful on this platform in 2017, leading to an average RX-7 FC price of $6,642. 2018 saw the arrival of the most expensive FC you could think of, an IMSA GTO racer that went for $150,000. There was also an LSX-powered car which we will ignore for our analysis. So with nine cars changing owners in 2018, the average price went up by 37.3% to $9,120. The only way was up for 2019, and with the same number of sold cars, the market value was now 8.81% bigger than in the previous year.
We all know that 2020 was a difficult year, and just four FCs found new owners through this auction platform. It might not be wise to consider the average price for this year, as it saw an increase of 67.81% due to two somewhat special cars. More people wanted to capitalize on the RX-7 trend in 2021, and that led to a new platform record as a 1989 Turbo II model sold for $63,000.
Maximum Price EvolutionSeeing that we've calculated the average price for an FC RX-7 based on the 73 listings on the auction platform we were talking about, let's have a look at what happened on both extremities of the Japanese sports car's market value. A 10th Anniversary FC was the most expensive one in 2016, as the new owner paid $15,750 to get his hands on the 1 of 1,500 units ever made. In 2018 the bar was raised to $16,500 even though the convertible RX-7 used an NA 13B engine.
But it had only been driven for 3,000 miles (4,828 km) at that point, which justified the auction result. By 2020, one gentleman had to pay $24,750 for another 10th Anniversary that had previously sold for just $12,900. The record for this auction platform was hit in 2021, as we mentioned earlier, and two other FCs fetched more than $30,000 each. Both were turbocharged coupes with 5-speed manual gearboxes.
In 2022 the highest registered price was set at $47,000, and that car only had about 1,300 miles (2,092 km) on its odometer. If you do the math, you'll see that there was a 198% increase in the highest price paid for an FC RX-7, between 2016 to 2022. And one other interesting fact is that the most expensive Convertible only fetched $20,000, which happened in 2020. But let's continue our analysis.
Minimum Price Evolution
By 2019, the cheapest FC was a red convertible that changed hands for $6,666. Fast forward to 2022, a white one with a 4-speed automatic gearbox was on the lower bottom of the market with a price tag of $8,900. So once again, there's a noticeable increase in value to be considered for the big picture.
ConclusionIt's nigh impossible to determine how many of the 272,000 FC RX-7s are still in one piece today. Just think of how many might have been destroyed due to crashes, earthquakes, floods, fires, or just the passing of time. Scarcity leads to an increase in value.
As years go by, nostalgia also affects the market as more people will be thinking about buying the rotary-powered machine from Hiroshima. All signs seem to be pointing toward the fact that the RX-7 will become more and more expensive, much like plenty of other Japanese icons.
And plenty of NA owners will go out of their way to tell you how fun and reliable their cars are despite the obvious drawbacks. At the end of the day, we'll say this. If you have a dream, go out and chase it. Don't let the passing of time make it even harder to achieve, or even worse, have you forget all about it.