If you haven’t noticed yet - well this year we’ve been more exposed to cars of the 90s than ever before. Starting off from the beginning of the year, we’ve gotten the opportunity to drive most of the 90s JDM legends, including the WRC spirits from the likes of EVO and Imprezas. The 90s always brings a great, distinct memory of what we love about cars. The soundly characteristics of the engine, the bulky yet sleek shape of the design, and beyond everything, the experience of driving one behind the wheel.
But the two cars that will always get enthusiasts craving, will always be the RB26 powered Skylines and the 13B Rotary driven RX7 FD3S. There’s just something about these two cars, that at any moment we see one, we just all doozy eyed and wanting one badly! Let's get it clear that this won't be one of those articles that only shares facts that you can get off the internet, because if it's just that, then why do we even do this in the first place?
The BNR32 falls in the long line of Skyline generations that were once lost. Ok, not lost but rather never made enough wave in the car to rattle everyone's hearts globally. Other than the Hakosuka and Kenmeri generation from the 70s, the 80s generation Skyline lost its pedigree for some reason that even till today, it doesn't hold the same status as the R32. But because we've spent some time recently in an R31, in no way was it ever a bad car to drive.
Just that in every other way, the BNR32 always felt years ahead of the 80s generation Skylines. This was the car that was christened with the "Godzilla" name, and brought out some of the most iconic racing liveries on Skyline that we know and love today. In no way does the R32 feel dated to drive. Everything about it feels just exactly how you imagined it to be. From the moment you step inside the cockpit, you will surround yourself against a selection of dials that will keep you busy on the drive. They're not distractions, but only information. Regardless - everything falls back to the RB26, 6-cylinder power house that makes the Skyline, what it truly is... a monster!
There was a time when I really hated the RX7. Don't get me wrong, some parts of me still do after having shattered my childhood dream back in the early 2000s when my dad had one, and all I remembered was it being stuck in the workshop, constantly broken for the longest time till we parted ways. But this year alone, I've had to chance to drive the Spirit-R a couple of times, and got behind the wheel of this particular, immaculate condition FD3S and found myself rekindling into the whole rotary concept again.
The thing about the Rotary engines is that, as a theoretical concept, it's absolutely beautiful. But it hasn't proven to be the most reliable, nor the most economical engine ever made. However, if you put all that aside, you will then understand just how special the RX7 is. This isn't a car you drive everyday. Because perfection doesn't exist, it's a car for special occasions for moments ONLY when you want to drive it. This is how you understand just how amazing the engineering that has been put into the car, that makes it silky smooth all the way to 8000rpm.
Given a choice?
The real world issue that we face is still, the choices we'll have to make. Could you live with choosing only one of it, without the other in your garage? That's the void that we'll always fail to understand because we hate having to choose between either of these cars. To each of its own, both the BNR32 and the RX7 has got its own characteristics behind the wheel, its own quirks in ownership, and a different feeling every time you take it out. So which one makes you feel special?
If it is looks that we're after, I think that the FD3S is an artwork of its own. The body lines, the curvature on the fenders, and most importantly, the pop-up headlights just give it a leap that the Skyline just can't compare right here. It isn't exactly a very big car either, and when you sit inside, you feel cocooned at the wheel with only the top of your pop-ups to guide you on the road. Honestly, I love that feeling. The car feels so agile yet planted, like you'd imagine a lotus would be.
On the other end of the scale, the BNR32 feels huge. It is after all, a GT car that so happens designed to go racing in the 90s. But there is a sense of presence driving a 'Godzilla' around on the street, the kind that gets people nodding in agreement, wherever you go.
Let's admit that the age of these cars mean you won't be buying this as a daily driver. Most of us can't afford it anyways, with parts for it going up in paramount. And if it were to be the RX7 that I had to drive to work daily, I think after 2 weeks, I'd be broke filling up the against horrid fuel economy that it churns. No doubt though, that the R32 feels like a more comfortable car to do longer journeys in. But I think the FD3S would be a lot more fun to drive over the twisty roads on a weekend drive.
There isn't a right or wrong choice here. Only personal opinions. If only we didn't have to choose (like the owner here that owns both). But which would you have?