Hello from London, looking into a SA or FB

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Hello from London, looking into a SA or FB

Postby cib24 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:09 pm

Hello everyone,

I will start off by saying I am not 100% sure if I want to try a 1st gen RX-7 yet, but over the past 6-8 months I have become more and more interested in them as a second car. I found this forum after asking a few questions about 1st gens on the US site rx7club. I have to do a lot more reading on them as I only really know the general engine spec differences of different sub-models and some of the differences over the period they were produced - and that most of them have generally rusted quite badly in the UK and Europe but some good examples are still out there somewhere. Yet, I guess after owning two rotaries now, and seeing the occasional 1st gen at a car show or at a specialist's shop when I have my car in for work, the more intrigued I become and I am starting to think it is something I would like.

I'm not sure if I would prefer a 1st gen that is very close to original or tastefully modified yet but we'll see. And I'm not sure if it is worth trying to import from Japan rather than deal with the issues of trying to find a good one here given how rare they are in general and don't often come up for sale.

Anyway, it's nice to meet all of you and I will conclude with my last three most interesting cars:

1986 Buick Grand National from when I lived in California (which my dad still owns to this day)

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2004 Mazda RX-8 with a Hayward Rotary half bridge, full exhaust, and upgraded suspension, brakes and tyres - My first car to use for track days and first car in the UK


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1999 Mazda RX-7 Type RS stock motor, stock twins, full exhaust, Apexi Power FC and a bit more boost with Ohlins and other suspension upgrades

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Re: Hello from London, looking into a SA or FB

Postby codge » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:40 am

Hi There, Greetings.
Keep looking in 'Spotter's Corner'. Most UK cars for sale are reported on here. As you would expect they are the good, the bad and the ugly.

Not sure you can get an import from Japan these days without crazy money......and they seem to be rarer than UK cars?
Keep looking

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Re: Hello from London, looking into a SA or FB

Postby gt_james » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:50 am

Yeah importing from Japan would probably more expensive as these cars are more rare in Japan and are more collectible there so demand a higher premium over buying one in the UK. If you are not sure if an FB RX7 is something you want, try befriend an owner and ask for a ride in one, might help you make your mind up. You have some very nice cars already, the FD you have looks a great example.
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Re: Hello from London, looking into a SA or FB

Postby cib24 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:09 am

Hello Codge and gt_james, thank you for your replies. Yes, it is true I'm not sure if it's the car for me yet and finding someone that owns the car and going for a drive is probably the first step. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done given I have only ever seen 1 or 2 at shows or at specialist rotary garages being worked on, so haven't had the opportunity.

Looking at the history of cars sold over here vs. Japan it looks like a SA22C/FB in above average to excellent condition will sell for £2,500 - £7,500? Is that correct?

While Japanese cars at least according to Goo Exchange are starting around £8,500 up to £20,000 depending on condition (before shipping, tax and registration costs). Therefore, unless a Japanese car can be bought at auction for similar money to a UK car it looks like it's best to wait for a good UK car to show up.

I saw that yellow one on the classic car auctions a few days ago but I wasn't a fan of the interior and the exterior looked a bit rough for the money that was being asked. There was also the black one on eBay that looked sorted in terms of mechanicals and rust but the exterior and interior left a lot to be desired, but out of the two that would have been my preference as a starting point.

A rough exterior with a couple of surface rust or small rust areas on the outside aren't a huge problem as I would likely try to get the car resprayed quite early on in my ownership, but a complete interior and having all of the exterior trims in good condition as well is kind of a necessity since I don't want to try to find those parts all over the world if I can help it. The motor wouldn't even have to be working either as I could factor that in and go straight towards a new build.

Something like this looks like a great starting point:

http://www.goo-net-exchange.com/usedcar ... index.html

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However, the more I research the more I think I would like to end up with one that has a semi-PP 12a or 13b build and a few suspension upgrades to handle the power and handle a bit better in general, at least eventually if I enjoy a test drive or passenger ride when the opportunity arrives, and if I can find a nice one at some point in the future. This would be a pure toy so factory-style drive-ability can suffer.

Buying a car already done to the blue one's standard below (or at least some sort of the way there) would be worth it though and save some hassle.

I like how this car has been finished (exterior and motor but I would keep an interior) minus the bridge port as I would prefer semi-PP.

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Re: Hello from London, looking into a SA or FB

Postby ian65 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:39 am

Hi there, welcome to the forum h:
Over the last couple of years the supply of nice/above average condition cars has dried up in the UK with few coming onto the market and when they do, the initial asking prices sometimes have no basis in reality.... that said, it's a fact that prices for them are on the rise.
You will do well to buy an above average car for less than £3500 these days and that's probably for a non original car like the yellow one you referred to.
For a car in excellent condition you are now looking at 6 grand minimum rising to nearer 10 for the best examples.... but it's finding one that's the problem.
Jap cars have the advantage of much less rust as the roads don't get salted in Japan but the hassle and expense of finding and importing one stops nearly everyone from doing it.
Don't worry too much about trim... it's still pretty easy to find 2nd hand trim in the UK.... the shells disintegrate much quicker than the interiors....... bodywork is the critical thing to base any purchase on.
You may have already read this post I put up last week.... it referred to Elford Turbos but the advice on buying applies to any 1st gen...

ian65 wrote:Hi Peter,
welcome to the forum h:

Values of 1st gen RX7's are all over the place at the moment... some cars sell sight unseen on ebay for sums that they clearly aren't worth and recently there has been a trend for average (condition 2) cars to attain high hammer prices mainly from dealers who then retail them at ludicrously inflated prices and they tend to stick around for ever.
As a rough guide, nice high end condition 2 to lower end condition 1 cars are fetching between £5000 and £8000..... cars over that figure are either mint exceptional cars ( I can't think of any that have sold recently off hand) or highly modified bespoke cars which justify the uplift...... insurance values rarely reflect the true market value of a car.
It was widely accepted back in the day that an Elford Turbo car was worth a grand above the price of a stock factory car but this was back when they were newish and all of a similar condition and as stated above, condition is the most critical aspect these days.... forget history, mileage, spec, turbo or n/a, and colour...... buy primarily on the condition of the body/ monocoque. Sure, history etc is nice to have but if the shell is bad then good history /low mileage is no use whatsoever. There is a guide to checking bodywork and the typical problem areas somewhere on the forum.
Look for the Ebook on the forum... it's a free download of road tests and buyers guides and has some good info on buying these cars and particularly the stuff to look out for in recent years.

1st gen Rx7's were actually very well built and actually fair better than many other cars of the era but as the youngest one is now 32 years old they are all going to have some corrosion somewhere.... obviously the way they have been stored and how many winters they have endured on Uk salt laden roads will have had an impact on the bodywork.
Generally, they hide their corrosion well and unless you know where to look, it's easy to think a car is very tidy when underneath and in the box sections it can be corroded. Once the outer panels start to rust you can be sure there are plenty of hidden problems.
Be especially wary of cars that have had a full respray unless there is photographic proof that it was done right.... proper bare metal/glass out resprays cost £££££ and there are a good few cars out there that have had a quick blow over to hide the rust.

Both of the Elfords mentioned in the above posts, the one sold at ACA and the black one in Scotland have both been resprayed.

Specific advice on buying an Elford... they are a standard car with a standard 12a engine to which the factory induction was stripped off and a simple draw through turbo set up added. the only thing to go wrong with the Elford setup is the turbo which costs £200 to get rebuilt. It should have a solenoid on top of the engine to retard the ignition under boost... some 'owner converted' cars are missing this.... very risky! Everything else is as the standard car.
If it has the bodykit check behind it for rust and also carefully check the Elford front spoiler for previous damage/repairs ( they are extremely fragile and almost impossible to get hold of these days.)
Being a turbo it will put more stress on the engine so a compression test is a good idea... anything less than 6's is coming up for a rebuild and 12a rebuilds are getting expensive due to a lack of parts. ( I have an Elford turbo engine sitting under my bench that it just isn't economically viable to rebuild).
The only other thing I'd add is that these cars, like all classic cars, are happier when they are regularly used... cars that have been off the road for years need plenty of recommissioning and replacement parts like master cylinders, brake rebuilds, coolant and fuel system overhauls etc.
My advice is to buy on condition alone.... if it was a toss up between a really nice standard car or an average Elford I'd buy the standard car every time... it's much easier and cheaper in the long run to make it go faster than it is to restore a tired car.... I could convert a standard car to an Elford Turbo over a weekend ( assuming I had the kit... I think there's one on ebay atm for £400?) .... it would take many more hours than that to do a rolling restoration on a tired example.
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Re: Hello from London, looking into a SA or FB

Postby Hobbawobba » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:30 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum! Nice FD!! h[b[
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Re: Hello from London, looking into a SA or FB

Postby cib24 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:59 pm

Thanks. I have been in touch with Torque GT whom imported my FD and they have scanned the market for Savannah and Savannah RX-7 and it looks like purchased, shipped, imported and registered in the UK means spending at least £15,000 and more likely close to £20,000. Basically, they are on par with FD's that are being imported right now.
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