Popular Tags Cars

Rare Mazda RX-7 Racer Rediscovered After 35 Years

Barn Find / 3 Comments

It competed in the 1982 24 Hours of Le Mans and had been missing for over three decades.

What you're looking at here is the only surviving Mazda 254i left in the world after the car was believed to be lost for several decades. Back in 1982, Mazda entered a pair of 254i racers in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.

Based on the RX7, the 254i was powered by a dual-rotor 13B engine producing around 296 horsepower and weighed approximately 2,125 pounds at the time. Underneath the aero, you could even still see the stock RX-7 doors. Neither car was particularly successful, however, and the 254i you see here was believed to have been scrapped.

However, according to a report by Japanese Nostalgic Car, the Mazda racecars were shipped back to Japan and competed in races in the JPSC series. One was disguised with a pink paint job, while the other was painted yellow and was destroyed during an accident at a Fuji Speedway race. The pink car was never seen again after the 1984 Fuji 1000km.

Late last year, the surviving pink example was re-discovered in Okayama, Japan. Its identity was verified by Mr. Tachimoto, who was the chief mechanic at Mazdaspeed at the time. Tachimoto was able to confirm the car's identity by looking at its brake system and rear suspension, which also revealed that Mazdaspeed built the car around the chassis of the older 253i to cut costs.

You Might Also Like
Perfect Cars For Technophobes
Perfect Cars For Technophobes
Amazing Cars Built With Help From Lotus
Amazing Cars Built With Help From Lotus

A closer inspection revealed the car was also once painted gold, and also pink. This confirmed that it was once the No. 38 car that wore the famous black-and-gold Jun livery, and was also the pink car that raced in JSPC. Isami Amemiya from Japanese tuning house RE Amemiya recently oversaw the transportation of the car to a specialty shop called Powercraft, where the car will be getting a thorough restoration and an engine rebuild. Once restored, the Mazda 254i could even return to the track and compete in classic racing events.

Gallery

7
Photos