The ’99 spec tail lights truly transform the rear end of the car and are, in my opinion, a mandatory feature. No RX-7 should go without them. I couldn’t wait to take these lights out of their wrappings and mount them, especially after letting them sit on the shelf for the past couple of months.
The pre-’99 tails are undefined and give no character:
Who knew a series of circles could look so good? Many of the great cars in history share this trait of circular taillights, including Ferraris, Corvettes, Lotuses, and dare I say even Supras? The fact that RX-7s have pop-up headlights, another winning trait, make them doubly more awesome.
Since they are simple in design, crafty people have been “converting” the regular tail lights to ’99 spec by masking and painting off the circles. The results are quite convincing, my old RX-7 had them, but this time around I needed the real deal. A distinguishable difference with the OEMs are with the individually raised lenses:
I was so eager to have the OEM versions, I paid for brand new ones… and paid I did. Prices for these parts have skyrocketed in recent years. I sent the first set I received back to the vendor because on one of the tail lights, there was minor spider webbing in a lens.
While changing out the tail lights, I replaced all the bulbs. I originally bought a set of standard Sylvania Long Life bulbs (type 1156 for the turn signals and 1157 for the brake lights), but returned them after finding the High Performance versions available at another parts store.
Removing the tail lights is surprisingly uninvolved, you take out 3 screws on top and then slide the light outwards towards the side of the car. And there’s no nasty butyl glue to deal with, thank you Mazda.