A welcomed inevitability… While I was ordering the Rein Hard exhaust, I indulged in my curiosity and peeked around Yahoo Japan’s auctions. Conveniently, I spotted a set of Spirit-R Recaros with tilting seat rails. Until now, I held off on these seats for as long as possible, primarily due to their exorbitant price tags. These are surely an epitome of a luxury item. Nevertheless, I knew my interior would never be complete without these seats, so I bit the bullet and had my contact secure a bid.
These seats come in 2 variants, black in the earlier RZ models and then red in the Spirit-Rs. Evidently, the weave pattern in the carbon kevlar was updated in the later RZ years. Given the fact that the Recaros were available only in exclusive models, quantity is limited. I have to say, they are undeniably one of the coolest OEM seats out there. Leave it to Mazda to partner up with Recaro and offer a carbon kevlar, fixed back bucket seat.
Overall the seats were in great condition, the backs and seat rails were very clean. Unfortunately, there was sun fading on the red cloth and one of the bottom bolsters was torn at the seam. The tear was easily correctable, but the fading was not since it was on the large, shoulder areas. Instead of fiddling with a repair work that may not have matched, I ended up having everything reupholstered. In the process, I had to bring one of the seats to a body shop first because I found a small, razor blade scratch on the back. They were able to fill it in with clear coat and it is virtually unnoticeable now.
For the reupholstering, the clear choice was to go with suede. Seeing how easily the standard Recaro material faded, I didn’t feel it was worth pursuing. I also didn’t go all-out and pick Alcantara again, because the yardage required to cover both seats would have accrued an immense cost. Furthermore, I see these seats as wear items with unavoidable maintenance. This explains why it’s so hard to find the Recaros in perfect condition, because by design of a bucket seat, the material is highly susceptible to wear. I instead went with another line of automotive grade, synthetic suede – in red. Reupholstering them in black was an option, but I was swayed to stay with red for the contrast. Selective loudness is a good thing, in my opinion.
The job took over a month to complete because one of the center sections was accidentally ripped during reassembly, and the embroidery had to be redone. In the end, I was happy with the results and it was refreshing to have the seats returned to their rightful glory.
For good measure, I rubbed the backs with polish and added a layer of wax.
I also had the seat belt guides replaced with brand new ones from Mazda.
The embroidery work, which had to be outsourced locally, was especially good. They matched the Recaro font well.
These Recaros were essentially the ONLY option on my list aside from staying with the factory R2 seats. Given how cramped the cockpit is in the RX-7, I had no interest in messing with aftermarket seats that may rub the door panels and/or are off-center in alignment. Because the Recaros are truly OEM, installation was a cinch and the fitment was perfect.
I remember installing Bride Vios III seats in my previous RX-7 and its shoulder bolsters rubbed the door panels slightly. As I have aged, so have my brand inclinations… Recaro is the only brand of seats I am willing to have displayed in my car. I guess this preference is similar to my favoring of Brembos over StopTech, etc.
The Recaros are great for “aggressive” street use and light track duty. They hold you in well, but there is definitely room to spare. A size specific racing bucket will be more snug and probably more stiff.