Best new cars you can buy with a rotary engine in 2023—this is a title I’d love to write, but can’t. Sure, Mazda revived the Wankel this year, but it’s only a range extender for the MX-30 R-EV battery-powered crossover. And there’s no other offering of the sort. Fortunately, though, the aftermarket seems to have fallen deeper in love than ever with Wankels, with more and more such projects emerging across the world. And the most recent feat of the sort takes us to Japan, where a trio of FD-generation Mazda RX-7s, all sporting Liberty Walk Sihouette body kits, recently put the Wankel engine on a widebody pedestal.
In 2025, Norway, a leader in electric mobility, will ban the sales of internal combustion vehicles, and this is only the beginning. The European Union will phase out ICE vebicles come 2035. And, while there US has now federal law regarding this at the moment, states like New York, California and Massachusets plan to instate the ban by 2035 for cars, off-road vehicles, light-duty trucks and equipment.
Now, with the Wankel being part of the less emission-friendly combustion camp, one might imagine that using such an engine in this age is an anti-system statement of some sort. And while that’s not entirely wrong, once you get behind the wheel of a rotary-powered machine, the smooth power delivery and brap-brap soundtrack will show you the actual charms of such an engine—here it is displayed on a Mazda MX-5 Miata RF.
Back to the present year, showcasing a build that relies on its engine alone is nearly impossible, at least if you seek serious attention. However, the three RX-7s sitting before us have no such issues, since they all sport the Liberty Walk Silhouette body kit unveiled in January at the Tokyo Auto Salon.
The $25,000, racing-inspired Liberty Walk widebody for the FD RX-7
Back then, the Japanese developer showcased a black FD-generation RX-7 sporting its $25,000 widebody, with the latter drawing inspiration from the world of motorsport. Interestingly, there’s quite a bit of Porsche inspiration in there, namely the Slantnose front end and the Moby Dick posterior—as Mihnea explained when writing about the kit, those details show why the car is dubbed 935FD.
However, Liberty Walk founder Wataru Kato also used 1980s Japanese race cars of the Super Silhouette type, which mixed touring car bodies with tube chassis. Now, the Mazda RX-7 had its fair share of that, ableit in its FC (second-gen) form—we’ll return to this below.
Even with all the aero awesomeness of the Liberty Walk demo car, the white-on-black Coca Cola Zero livery alone wasn’t enough to quench our motorsport thirst.
Liberty Walk FD RX-7 liveries at Osaka Auto Messe
Nevertheless, the Osaka Auto Messe event, which took place earlier this month, welcomed the trio of Liberty Walk RX-7s that brought us here. These machines were built by Miyoshi Racing Paddock, a family business that’s been making rotary heaven since 1983.
And while a black livery is once againt present, the other two cars sport a classic Coca-Cola white-over-red color scheme, as well as a tribute wrap for the FC-gen RX-7 GTU, a racer that wong the Daytona 24 Hours five times in a row (1985-1990). Hey, in today’s market, the $150,000 the RX-7 GTU fetched on Bring a Trailer back in 1985 almost feels like a steal. Regardless, you’ll find a comparo of the two in the image gallery below, with the colors on the FD coming via a wrap.
Each car has its own spec, but some common points include the airREX air suspension and 13b rotaries—this was the factory engine in the FD RX-7, present here in built form and sporting generous single turbos for each build.
As for the black vehicle, which is owned by Instagram user riratsukuman, its trunk now accomodates a fuel cell and a nitrous bottle next to the air tank for the said suspension system.
Despite all the buzz at Osaka Auto Messe 2023, YouTuber WasabiCars managed to get close to the three Libery Walk RX-7s Silhouettes, even showcasing some unusual details.
For one, in the video below, we can see the Coca-Cola unit sporting gold foil exhaust heat protection on its diffuser, while we also get to enjoy the modern-day LED taillights of the black car. So picking your rotary poison has never been more difficult.