Lucas Fletcher is an instrumentation technician at an oil refinery in Ponca City, Oklahoma, and he’s also a diehard Nissan fan. But when his former National Guard Sergeant told him about an RX-7 collection up for auction in Kansas, Lucas decided to branch out and take a peek at some twin-turbo rotary Mazdas. What he discovered in a storage locker is so astonishing, it has captured the imagination of Mazda RX-7 enthusiasts around the world.
It all happened this past weekend.
“I’m a Nissan guy through and through,” Fletcher told me over Facebook Messenger after contacting Jalopnik via email. He told me he actually bought nine Z32 Nissan 300ZXs this year alone. But then opportunity came knocking — rotary-engined opportunity.
“My old [Sergeant First Class] from my national guard unit hit me up,” Fletcher continued. “He knows I like cars. He explained to me that his friend was holding onto 2 [Mazda RX-7] FD’s and [a] bunch of parts.”
Apparently, a gentleman with a “hoarding” tendency passed away last year, and someone was preparing his estate for a sale. Intrigued, Fletcher decided to take a look, driving to Derby, Kansas and laying eyes on two RX-7s and a storage unit “full of parts that this man was hoarding,” as Fletcher put it. Fletcher, though not a Mazda fan, says he was “overwhelmed with how much [was] in [the unit],” but knew he was looking at something special.
He understood that two FD RX-7s alone were worth quite a bit as their value has risen markedly in the last decade. A good one will fetch over $30,000. Add the parts, particularly because many appeared new and most were neatly stored in stacked boxes, and Fletcher was convinced he had more than $15,000 worth of merchandise on his hands.
So that’s the bid he offered: $15,000, for which he put three of his 300 ZXs up as collateral to his bank. “This is an absolute once in a lifetime chance of ever seeing a lot sale like this. I had to take a chance,” he told me. Fletcher won last weekend and began unpacking the numerous parts from their boxes on Facebook live on Sunday as dozens of Mazda RX-7 lovers eagerly watched.
Before we look at the valuable components, let’s start with the cars. [Note: I’m not an FD RX-7 expert, so let me know if I get some of the parts/special editions wrong]. Here are a few short videos showing their condition:
There’s a black 1993 and a white 1994, both with the factory 13B-REW 1.3-liter twin-turbocharged rotary motor and five-speed manual transmission, though both have upgraded intercoolers.
They’re far from perfect, with faded clear coat, a ding on the white car’s fender and rear quarter panel (there’s a new white fender in the pile of parts) and some wear on the interior. But for the most part, the bodies look solid, and though Fletcher hasn’t inspected the undercarriages, he doesn’t suspect much rust.
Mice apparently took residence in the engine bays, so those need to be cleaned:
Also, Fletcher doesn’t know if the two vehicles — one of which has 79,000 miles and the other of which has 117,000 miles — run, so that’s a big question mark.
But whether they run or not, Fletcher is going to make out well on this deal because the parts in the estate sale, per various RX-7 fans on Facebook (who provide references for the value of many of the parts), are worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Take the seats below. These are red Recaro’s found in the super-rare Spirit R RX-7, a limited-edition model (Mazda made 1,500 total) considered by many the greatest rotary Mazda ever built.
Incidentally, you should read Road & Track’s 2017 review of the Spirit R:
It is the last, the best, the only. In 2002, Mazda produced one last run of the twin-turbo RX-7 for the Japanese home market. As a final salute, Hiroshima threw everything they had at their departing halo car: forged, staggered BBS wheels; adjustable rear wing; Bilstein shocks; max-boost 280PS twin-turbo rotary engine.
They called it the Spirit R, one last sortie, one final flight of the purest driving machines Japan ever created. They made 1500 of them, two thirds of that the most hard-core Spec A version.
In short order, Fletcher sold those seats for $7,000. That meant he bought two RX-7s and still a boatload of parts for just eight large. And I do mean a boatload; here’s the locker as it sat when Fletcher won the bidding:
Fletcher, not familiar with RX-7s, posted his findings onto an RX-7 Facebook page to learn more. “People [were] going nuts over the picture of the storage unit,” he told me. “They were telling me how valuable just the parts you can see from the picture let alone what could be hiding inside.” That led Fletcher to create his own Facebook group called “RX-7 FD Cars And Honey Hole Sale.”
There, he shot live videos of his unboxing, sending RX-7 fans into a craze:
The parts include official Mazdaspeed body kits, both A-Spec and GTC bumpers (Google image search “A-Spec Mazda RX-7" and “RX-7 GTC”; they are beautiful), various parts from legendary Japanese tuner RE Amemiya and so, so much more. (You can learn more about the tuning outfit in this Drivetribe article; here’s a quote from that):
Thanks to their consistent performance in Super GT, Super Taikyu, and all those Best Motoring Tsukuba Lap Battles, RE Amemiya have cemented themselves not only as the go-to Rotary performance shop, but as an icon of the JDM aftermarket altogether.
There’s a bunch of “RZ” parts (and indeed, those “Spirit R” seats were also the same seats in “RZ” special edition RX-7s, which were also quite rare). Here’s a list that was in one of the boxes:
Here are some of those items:
Click on the video links and watch the realtime comments (the video below is nearly two hours of unboxing!), because they show an RX-7 community utterly gobsmacked.
“You haven’t even opened everything. Craziest collection of FD parts I’ve ever seen,” one commenter writes. “Damn this dude was hoarding all kinds of good shit!” says another. Additional quips include “Even at 20 you would’ve made out like a fucking bandit” and “That’s big profit for 15k.”
One member of Fletcher’s new Facebook page suggested that the man who discovered the treasure put the amazing find on YouTube, writing:
put this video on youtube witha titlel ike “RX7 FD3s Barn Find Mazdaspeed Spirit Re Amemiya” and do numbers from Detroit to Japan. Probably end up on barn find hunters or something
Another suggested that Fletcher contact Jalopnik (which he did) to get the word out, as his parts are likely worth “$10,000s”:
Getting your story on there could expose you to millions more people and net you $10,000s more for your parts. just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org””
Let’s look at some more specific parts that should fetch Fletcher quite a bit of cash. There’s the RE Amemiya full body kit. “This guy paid [9,000] to have shipped over from Japan a couple of months before he passed away,” Fletcher told me, saying the 1 million Yen invoice is still in the box (He showed me a photo). “Yea 10k easy for a complete kit,” writes one commenter on Facebook.
Then there’s the coveted Spec A bumper with full accessories:
And the also-coveted GTC bumper (with VERY rare light lenses):
Plus, there’s the 99-spec bumper, which is worth at least $500 per my cursory research on forums:
There’s even a Knights Sport bumper below, though the Spec A, GTC, and 99-spec — offered from Mazda — seem significantly rarer and more valuable.
I don’t know what the Spec A or GTC bumpers are worth.
Also in the pile of parts is this RZ gauge cluster:
“It’s less [than a Spirit R cluster] but white one 2002 is 800-1000 [dollars],” types one commenter. (Looks like someone in Australia tried selling one for the equivalent of ~$640, though one in Malaysia listed for over two large).
There’s also an ARC side-mount intercooler, which one reader says is worth ‘4-600 [dollars].”
Then there’s the black wing above. “Black one is Mazdaspeed GTC wing. $800ish,” guesses one viewer.
Strangely, the collection comes with four privacy covers, shown above, stacked. “Each one of the privacy covers are $100-200 each,” opines a viewer.
The list of desirable parts seems to never end. There’s an RE Amemiya park brake handle:
There are lots of wheels and gauge clusters:
There are some Rays wheels:
The big box against the wall is a carbon fiber hood:
In the pile of parts are Mazdaspeed shift knobs, radiator caps, oil caps, rearview mirror covers, short-shifter kits, coilovers, and even a Mazdaspeed cluster:
There are fenders, sports headlights and even a Mazdaspeed hood and wing:
And check out the seats. One viewer claims that they are “worth about 1200 a seat depending on the condition...”
The Oklahoman told me he’s been offered $30,000 for the lot, but he turned it down, saying he believes that what he has is worth significantly more. “I’m hearing no less than $50,000 upwards to $85,000 worth of parts and cars just sitting there,” is Fletcher’s guess on the value of his acquisition.
Now that he’s transported all the parts to his shop, Fletcher’s plan is to wait a bit before selling. He wants to understand what he has, and he wants to organize and inventory it all.
“I never ever ever thought I would own an RX-7" he exclaimed over the phone. “Out of nowhere, this happens. And I’m still blown away that I got this opportunity.” Fletcher says he’s going to keep the white car as his own, and build it up using many of the Mazdaspeed parts.
It’s a wild ride that has touched FD RX-7 enthusiasts around the world, and it all came from a quiet auction in the small town of Derby, Kansas. What an interesting man the former owner of these cars and parts must have been.