Group B saw drivers wrestling boxy turbocharged tearaways along narrow tracks inches from hordes of fans desperate to get a close-up view of their heroes as they slid past. It was an enthralling spectacle, but a deadly one. This immaculate Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works managed to survive the chaos, though, and now it's up for auction in London.
The car in question is chassis number MRTE 019, and it survived the '80s unscathed for one reason: it was never actually raced. Regulations required 20 cars to be built for Group B homologation, but Mazda only managed to produce seven before a fatal crash in Corsica forced the FIA to kill the category in 1986. The other RX-7 Evo Group B Works competed at some point in their life, and those unfinished were broken into spare parts, making MRTE 019 something of a unicorn.
It was originally stored at the Mazda Racing Team facility in Belgium, before the Swiss Mazda Importer bought it – along with a number of other chassis and spare parts – early in the '90s. It was put on show in Switzerland for a few years, before falling into the hands of a private collector who kept it out of the public eye. It spent some time in Scandinavia, and finally landed in the current owner's hands.
As is often the case with classic car collectors, they commissioned a restoration to make sure all the little details are period correct. Rather than stripping it down to bolts, the team went over the car with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it was still in Works specification – that is, as it would've been raced by the Mazda factory team.
That means it's powered by a peripheral-ported 13B twin-rotor engine with around 300-hp (224-kW) of power near its sky-high redline. The block was shuffled back in the engine bay for better weight distribution, and the rally RX-7 ran with dry sump lubrication. You'll find the spare wheel and fuel pumps down back, along with a ducktail spoiler for downforce through the forests and mountain roads on which Group B rallies were run. Oh, and the fuel lines run straight through the cockpit.
The body add-ons are made of fiberglass to save weight, although the wing and light pod do add a few kilograms back into the mix. Who cares, they're pure rally porn. Although it isn't nearly as wild as some of the other Group B cars running around – just check out the Lancia Delta S4 or Audi Quattro – it looks squat and purposeful, especially from the rear.
Given its heritage, the asking price of £170,000 to £190,000 (US$220,000 to $245,000) seems almost reasonable. The car will be auctioned by RM Sothebys in London on September 6th.
Source: RM Sothebys