1985 Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works

Words by Samuel Cuthbert with Photography by Rowan Horncastle


The Works Mazda RX-7 Group B car represents Mazda’s effort for the ‘Golden Years’ of the Group B Rally Championship between 1983 and 1987. Achim Warmbold and his team of engineers at Mazda were obligated to build just 20 examples for Group B homologation to take part in the madness. However, thanks to the sudden demise of Group B in 1987, just seven of the original 20 were fully assembled, the remainder being left for parts or spares. 

This car is Chassis MRTE 019 and was completed in 1985 - one of the aforementioned seven RX-7 Group B cars built. Unlike its identical siblings, however, MRTE 019 is unique, as it has never been used. Never turned a wheel in anger against the wild Lancia Delta S4s, Peugeot 205 T16s, Audi Sport Quattros, Ford RS200s and Austin Metro 6R4s of the period.

Originally kept in Belgium at Mazda Racing Team Europe’s facility after Group B’s termination, it was acquired as part of a larger lot of RX-7 chassis and spares by the Swiss Mazda Importer in the early 1990s. Having been displayed in Switzerland for a number of years, the car re-entered automotive obscurity as part of a private collection before making its way into its current owner’s possession, albeit via a period in Scandinavia. 

Its current owner commissioned a six-month investigative ‘light-touch’ restoration to ensure that every detail is correct. David Sutton describes just how far he went in pursuit of perfection; 

I’m painful about detail,” he says. “I mean, when I buy a car, I literally take it apart and put it back together again, so that everything is right. Even on this car, someone put the wrong cable ties in it, so I went back and researched what the right cable ties were. I bought them from the US and put them on so they matched the original cable ties that Mazda Europe used in the day.

Although they came a bit late to the party, the RX-7 Group B cars did race in '84 and '85. Even though the cars weren’t as powerful, technologically advanced (favouring a naturally aspirated engine and rear-wheel-drive chassis, rather than forced induction and four-wheel-drive) or potent as the likes of the S1s, T16s or Lancias, Mazda did achieve a creditable 3rd place in the 1985 Acropolis Rally thanks to the skill of Ingvar Carlosson at the wheel. Race ready, the car weighed just 990 kgs (2178 lbs) and sent 300 bhp back to the rear wheels at 8200 rpm, with 196 lb.ft of torque at 7500 rpm.

It is now offered for sale through RM Sothebys (Est. £170,000 - £190,000) on the 6th of September not only in original factory condition, but also in exact Works specification. Not only is it the most original and only unused Works specification Mazda RX7 Group B rally car in existence, it is quite possibly also the only unused Works Group B rally car left in the world.