What's in a name?

FC3S and SA22C are references to RX-7 chassis designations. Frequently you will hear many such references on email lists and discussion boards, so it pays to know them.

RX-7s were imported from 1979 to 1995 (US model years). In that time, there were three major body styles. And, between the body style changes, there were major underlying changes made on several occasions.

1st generation body style RX-7s were imported from 1979 to 1985, with two major underlying changes (1981 and 1984). The Chassis designation was "SA22C". In 1981, however, Mazda adopted standard VIN numbers and the model code was FB. So, 1st gen RX-7s can be called either SA22C or FB. Reference to the underlying changes is done by noting the "series": I, II and III, respectively, which is more common outside the US.

2nd generation body style RX-7s were produced from 1986 to 1991. The chassis designation was FC3S with a corresponding VIN model code of FC. Additionally, there was one major "minor" change in 1989, so the early 2nd gens are also called "Series IV" and the later ones "Series V".

3rd generation body style RX-7s were imported to the US from 1993 to 1995, with no significant changes in that time. The Chassis designation was FD3S, or FD for short. They are also known as the Series VI. Outside the US, there was a Series VII, for 1996+.

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Email lists are a very useful thing for sharing information. Basically, you subscribe to a group where one email sent to the listserve (the distribution software) is forwarded to all the members of the list -- a single email is sent to hundreds, or even thousands, of people. The result is a public forum for the sharing of information between a wide group of people who may be located anywhere in the world. While there will be some people who do most of the talking, the majority of list subscribers tend to "lurk" (just listen). Most lists also have a "digest" mode, whereby you can opt to have many emails bundled together into one large email, to cut down on the number of emails you receive. This is a good option when you just want to try a list out, but you lose the "real-time" nature of getting each email as it is sent so it's harder to actively participate. One highly recommended tool to deal with individual list emails is the Rules feature of your email program, which can be used to move messages into a common folder. Click here to see an example of a rule.

There are several good email discussion groups for RX-7s. Some are public and some are private. The ones I subscribe to are:

(1) the "RX-7" list (aka, the "big list") for all generations of RX-7s
(2) the "FC3S.ORG" list, for 2nd generation (1986-91) RX-7s
(3) the "SA22C" list (aka, "FB") for 1st generation (1979-85) RX-7s
(4) the "RX-Tech" list for technical discussions (invitation only).

The Big List (1,500+ members) has extremely high traffic (a hundred or more emails per day, or several digests) , tends to ramble and get off-topic a lot, and mostly discusses 3rd generation (1993+) RX-7s. Either try the digest, or use a Rule in your email program to send it to a special folder, so your in-box doesn't get too cluttered.

The FC3S.org email list is a Yahoo!Groups based email group that focuses on 2nd Gen (86-91) RX-7s. This is the replacement for the old Team FC3S list that has been limping along for too long without a system admin. If you are still on TeamFC3S, I would recommend switching to FC3S.org list.

The SA22C list is focused on 1st Gen RX-7s, and is the most civilized of the public lists. If you have a 1979-85 RX-7, this is the place for you.

The RX-Tech list is an alternative to the free-for-all nature of the public lists. Topics are technical in nature and flame wars (personal arguments) are verboten. While it is not moderated (emails go out directly, with no manual approval process), the list members are there by invitation and will be excused for breaching the list rules. Nonmembers, however, may read the list archive to keep up with the discussions.


At this time, there are only a few major forums (web-based discussion board). One of them is at <http://www.rx7forum.com>. Personally, I find it much less useful than any of the email lists I have mentioned, but some people prefer the web-based format.

Copyright © 2001 by Blake Qualley. All Rights Reserved.