||RX7 debuts in spring 1978 as a 1979 model. Powered by 100 horsepower 12A engine displacing 1146cc. A Nikki 4-barrel carburetor provided fuel. Three transmissions were available: 4 and 5-speed manual, or a 3-speed automatic. Cost and time restraints required recirculating ball steering, front disc/rear drum brakes, and 13" wheels. Early '79 models lacked passenger-side rear view mirror. US model was only available as a 2 seater.
||Electronic ignition replaced points system. The speedometer was limited to 85 mph per federal regulation. Rear bumper had two rubber nubs below the rub strip. Antenna length increased 8" for better reception. Vinyl upholstery became optional. Anniversary and Leather Sport edition available. The Anniversary edition included special upholstery on new seats, side mirrors that were manually controlled from the inside and optional alloy wheels. The Leather Sport option included full leather upholstery, a sunroof and gold alloy wheels.
||Thermal reactor was replaced by a pair of catalytic converters. 4-speed manual dropped, 5-speed was now standard. A rear anti-roll bar, electric remote fuel filler release and intermittent wipers became standard. Black Mazda emblems replaced bright ones on the hood and rear deck. Wider side molding integrated the front and rear bumpers together and incorporated sidemarker lights. Turn signals were recessed into the corners of the front bumper. Front and rear bumpers were more aerodynamic. License plate moved below rear bumper. GSL model replaced Leather Sport package and received rear disc brakes and a limited slip differential.
||No major changes were made.
||Oil cooler was moved from under the radiator to under the oil filter. 130 mph speedometer returned. Pop-out sunroof became standard on the GS model. New heater ventilation controls and lumbar adjustable seats were available. 5,000 Limited Edition models introduced, with Chateau Silver paint with red pin-striping. They also featured a special sound system, pop-out sunroof, cruise control, air conditioning and a red velour interior.
||GSL-SE models introduced with 13B fuel injected engine. Engine displacement increased to 1308cc, with 135 horses and 6 port induction system. 4-speed overdrive automatic with lock up torque converter was optional on GS and GSL versions, replacing the 3-speed. Speed-dependent variable power steering assist was optional on GSL models. Rear-trailing arms were dropped 20mm to provide roll understeer.
||Wheels on all models had 5-1/2" wide rims. Last year for the 12A engine.