So a while back I teased receiving one of my grails. Well here she is in all her glory. I present to you, AUTOart’s Signature 1:18 Mazda 787B 20th Anniversary Edition.

First let’s begin with why this car is so important. Well back in 1991, Mazda was not doing too well with its 787s and had one last year to go for a win before race rules would remove the ability to use their rotary engines (it limited engine size to 3 liters, making their 3.5's worthless).

Come race day at LeMans, things were not looking good. Mazda was sitting at a position (19th, 23rd, and 30th!!) way behind the leaders represented by Peugeot, Jaguar, and Mercedes. This being the days of Group C, it was going to be an uphill battle.

Relatively quickly into the race, the #55 Mazda moved up to third place, with reliability issues plaguing all the Peugeots, leaving Mercedes in the lead. A few driver errors and additional reliability issues let the 787b pass Mercedes and maintain the lead.

Advertisement

By the next day, Mazda had secured victory, a full 2 laps ahead of the 2nd place Jaguar XJR-12 (which came in 1st and 2nd in the previous LeMans). It may seem like the only reason the 787b won is because so many others bowed out due to breakdowns, but it should be mentioned that no wear was found on the engine after it was taken apart. Running 700 bhp in a rotary race engine for 24 hours with no wear? This is the stuff of legends.

This was the only time a Japanese car had and has since won LeMans, let alone the only car to do it with a rotary engine.

Advertisement

With the history lesson over, I hope that paints a picture as to why i wanted this car so bad. I love LeMans and cars that tended to rock the system are even more special. Also... listen to it. It has the most glorious sound of any race car (to me at least). Sounds like it’s waiting to stab everyone around it. (BTW the guy driving in the video is the one who took it to victory in 1991 - Johnny Herbert)

Now... back to the unveiling.

The outside of the box

Advertisement

Side of the box

As this is a Signature piece from AUTOart, the car does come disassembled. First parts to come out? Front hood and rear bonnet. Holy cow the detail...

Advertisement

Advertisement

Now for the chassis

Advertisement

You want cooling vents for the brakes? You got em. Oh and they flex when the wheels turn. Yes those suspension linkages work. Also... hood pins!

Advertisement

Love all the little details and decals. Those two tiny antennas came separately as well. Very easy to lose them... I may glue them in when displaying.

Advertisement

Engine Bay. Cool to see how the radiator sits in one of the main vents and the airbox the other. Excellent detail all around of the rotary and the in-board suspension.

Advertisement

Rear of the car is also a sight to behold. Dat diffuser! Also the picnic table of a wing.

Advertisement

Advertisement

How about some vented wheels for your brakes?! I love me some vented wheels. (Late Edit: I just noticed I put the front of the car on improperly, it shouldn’t be tilted up at all... it’s sitting on the tow hook which should be sitting inside one of the fascia vents... whoops!)

Advertisement

Amazing details everywhere. Just look at that exhaust.

Now for some more exterior shots:

Advertisement

Advertisement

Hood pins are awesome but the left rear one did not want to stay in.

Advertisement

Not sure what’s hanging out back here, but I assume it’s because racecar.

Advertisement

Interior time! As the car is Japanese, the driver sits on the right side of the car. (EDIT: Apparently this is a Group C thing, can’t find the actual regulations, but the competing cars also had drivers positioned on the right side of the car)

Advertisement

Advertisement

Pretty sparse inside, but it is a racecar.
Racecars wouldn’t be complete without a 5-point racing harness. No I didn’t check if it actually works.

Advertisement

Now for some final beauty shots.

Advertisement

Hi there!

Advertisement

Overall I am extremely pleased with this car. A few things are bothersome, but it’s only the extra details (those hood pins can be annoying, the antennas fly off whenever they see a chance to break for it, and one of the wheel vents doesn’t like to stay on). Other than that, this car is exquisite. Amazing details, amazingly put together and the quality of materials is top notch. Definitely the centerpiece of my collection right next to my 33 Stradale.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!