Our Cars: Mazda RX7

Today’s Post by John Larsen

A couple of years ago my fiftieth birthday was staring me in the face. Like many people, my life had not evolved as planned. I thought it would be the ideal time to take a trip with the sole purpose of photography. I‘ve always wanted to go to Churchill, Manitoba in northern Canada photograph polar bears in the wild. It was exactly the kind of the adventure I was seeking; until I started to do my research! Due to the short season, remoteness and lack of accommodations, the cost for one week was more than anticipated and I could not justify the expense.

Earlier the same year a friend-of-a-friend had joined us for our annual trip to the Rolex 24 in Daytona. This guy was an auto enthusiast and had more cars, trucks and motorcycles than most small dealers. I heard about an old Mazda RX7 that he might be selling. I have always liked the RX7 that had a removable Targa top and a sporty front air dam, so I asked if this was the model. He confirmed it. While I thought it was interesting, I tucked this away in my memory based on the rumored price.

johnsrx7

Months after I had decided that my photo adventure was not going to happen, I contacted the Mazda owner to see if he still had the car and if it was for sale. He confirmed that it was and invited me to visit. With that, I called my Dad to see if he wanted to make a road trip and off we went.

We arrived to see it in the driveway but this was not the Targa version I’d envisioned. This was the newer body style with a convertible roof. It did have the BBS wheels that were only available on these models. It had more mileage than I had hoped and as a result had more stone chips on the hood than I would have liked. However I have cars to drive them, not to just show them and trailer them around. After a short test drive with Dad I was still hesitant. I did not feel that the price that had been mentioned to me by our mutual friend was justifiable for a summer toy. When I asked the owner the standard “How much?” his response was almost half of what I had expected. Now I had to give this purchase serious consideration! After all it was even cheaper than that one week photographic journey would have been.

As I was leaving, the owner eyed my Subaru WRX and said that if I wanted to borrow the RX7 for a weekend and leave my WRX I could get a better idea of whether the Mazda was for me. We arranged for the following weekend and swapped cars on the Friday evening. It was the ideal evening to cruise home “topless” with the roof down. I stopped at a burger joint to grab a bite where my niece, Jenna, was working. When I brought her outside to show her the car she said “Wow, Uncle John, that is really, umm, old.” I replied, “Yes it is, Jenna, just like your Uncle John”.

After driving another thirty minutes, I pulled over in the next town and called the owner and all I said was, “I’ll take it!”

Senior International Travel Correspondent, John Larsen is located in the Greater Toronto Area, whose PhotoGraffics website contains samples of motorsports and hot air balloon photography from numerous Canadian balloon festivals.