It’s also the era that saw the birth of the two cars you’re about to see going head-to-head in a series of drag races with a questionable set of rules. For your viewing pleasure, both are finished in red, and both are pretty much stock. Well, the emphasis there needs to be on “pretty much”, but more on that later.
Partly because we’ve mentioned their names in the title and partly because they’re just absolute legends in the automotive world, the Acura NSX and the third-gen Mazda RX-7 need no introduction. Despite the fact they look fairly similar – helped tremendously in this case by the color scheme – they follow very different recipes.
The NSX has a naturally aspirated three-liter V6 engine placed just behind the two seats, leaving enough room behind it for a generous, by mid-engine car standards, trunk. It relies on the magic of the VTEC engines to give it 270-odd horsepower that it sends to the rear wheels through a manual transmission.
The Mazda RX-7 also gets a manual and rear-wheel-drive, but the similarities end there. Unlike the Acura, it has its engine mounted up-front, even if it does sit behind the axle. Considering it’s such a small unit, they could have basically placed it on the roof, and it wouldn’t have made much difference – that’s how compact Mazda’s notorious two-rotor 1.3-liter twin-turbo Wankel engine is.
As we’ve said, the two cars are largely stock. However, the Mazda has a cat delete, and possibly downpipes – Ron, the driver, is pretty coy about it and doesn’t explicitly admit to the mods he’s made to the car. The Acura, on the other hand, has only had its suspension modified, so it’s at a clear disadvantage here, particularly if you consider the fact the RX-7 also runs on Toyo R888R tires.
Well, we’re not going to reveal who the winner is, but we are going to say this: it’s pretty close. So close, in fact, that the last of the three races is lost because of just one shift. The two JDM legends deliver on all aspects: visuals, sound, and performance.