It was the year 1982 and the most famous Endurance Race in the whole cosmos was going to take place, so Mazda fancied a chance at it and came with its RX-7 based LeMans-ified 254i. The No. 82 car, driven by Yojiro Terada, Allan Mofatt and Takashi Yorino, was remembered the most as it was the first Mazda to finish the excruciating 24 hours. This was as good as a win for the bosses. The other was the No. 83 car driven by Tom Walkinshaw, Chuck Nicholson, and Peter Lovett, which got up till 8th but couldn't see the chequered flag.
The FIA introduced Group C class, and Mazda introduced the 717C. The success of Mazda's Group C cars became so prominent and famous, that it washed out Mazda's memory of the two 254is. The two flew back to Japan and showed their class on various races on JPSC calendar. One was painted yellow and even gold while the other was painted pink.
The No. 83 car did finish a race, the Fuji 1000km, then once again just like LeMans, retired after a race at Tsukuba then it just vanished of our radars into what seemed like the loss of the legend.
Now in 2019, 35 years on, we find ourselves glued to our mobile phones refreshing our Twitter, Instagram feeds every five minutes, not willing to increase the number of 'Barn Finds', but in Japan, the royalty Isami Amemiya – owner of legendary tuning house RE Amemiya managed this 'ultimate barn find' and got his wallet out. He expected one but found two cars, one was an IMSA spec car and the other was the LeMans car. He handed over the LeMans-ified RX-7 'aka' 254i to his mate Masachito Ito, owner of specialist carbon composite and exhaust firm, PowerCraft.
But Ito-san didn't know what he had bought but the 'internet' did. As soon as the fumes of the presence of the car reached the internet, A community on Twitter helped join the dots of the history of this car and then Tachimoto-san, the chief mechanic at Mazdaspeed at the time the 254i competed, 'Kakunin-zumi' that the car was the No.83.
You can still stock the RX-7 under all that aero work. Output of the No. 83 was established to be around 300 horsepower, while the car weighed approximately 2,125 pounds at the time.
The significance of this car increased when the internet got to know that the No. 82 car had been destroyed in a crash Fuji Speedway’s 100R.
The idea is to reinstate it to its former glory. The costume will be done by Ito-san while the engine will be done by RE Amemiya. Yes, Amemiya will be restoring 'that' 13B rotary engine. 'SWEET'
If time is with Amemiya and Ito-san, we'll be able to see this in its former shape in two years. Even though it produced 296 horsepower, RE can push this and other performance figures to beyond the troposphere. Whatever the fate of the 254i is, it'll be brilliant because this Mazda is in good hands.
Ito-san and RE Amemiya could win the Japanese Noble Price for this Public Service. For making people in Japan aware that they should GO in thei shed because they might strike GOLD.