“Time capsule” classic with only 15,000 miles on clock

Mazda RX7 Sports Coupe photgraphed outside with a photo superimposed over it and the text time capsule

It may look like it’s just driven out of a showroom – but our latest attraction belies its true age.

It’s a classic Mazda RX7 Sports Coupe which was first registered way back in January 1985 – making it nearly 40 years old. But it has just 15,000 miles on the clock and is in mint condition.

It has been donated to the museum by the family of Sheila Sides – a former Cheshire hotel owner – who drove it for just six years after buying it new from a dealership in Warrington for £10,995 in 1985.

The Mazda RX7 with all doors and bonnet open

Her son, Chris Sides, says: “Throughout her life my mum always had a love of stylish cars and had owned a Morris Minor, a Vauxhall Viva HB GT and a Lancia Fulvia.

“But when the Lancia started rusting, she looked round for a new car and fell in love with the Mazda. She loved the lines of the car and of course it was quite fast as well, a common theme with all her cars!”

She snapped it up and even used it in advertising material for the Highlands Private Hotel which she ran in Helsby, Cheshire.

(Left) The Mazda features in an advert for The Highlands Hotel. (Right) Chris Sides with his mother Sheila

📷: (Left) The Mazda features in an advert for The Highlands Hotel. (Right) Chris Sides with his mother Sheila

“She loved it but there were a few issues which she hadn’t really considered,” explains Chris. “Firstly, she wasn’t very tall and the Mazda had a long bonnet she couldn’t really see over! We partly resolved this with the addition of a cushion to sit on.”

Chris adds: “The car didn’t have power steering either and was very heavy to drive. With advancing years, it became too much for her and was used less frequently as the months passed.”

It was stored in the garage at the family home at the end of 1991 and left unused until 2020 when the family decided to donate it to the Lakeland Motor Museum.

Chris explains that when his mother died in 2008, his father did not have the will to dispose of the car after all those years. When he died, it was left to Chris and his sister to decide what to do with the car which remained in pristine condition.

The interior of the Mazda

“We decided to go with their original wishes that it be donated to a motor museum,” says Chris. “We had visited the Lakeland Motor Museum with my father in his later years and he really enjoyed the visit – so we decided to approach them to see if they might be interested.”

Chris Lowe, Curator at the museum, says: “We were delighted to accept the generous offer – and have spent time carefully cleaning and restoring the car before giving it pride of place in the museum.

“It’s a First-Generation 3rd Series RX7 with a twin rotor Wankel rotary engine. It is in a wonderful condition and is a great addition to our collection. We would like to thank the family for donating such a lovely example of this classic.”

Chris Sides says: “They have done a wonderful job of cleaning it up because after all those years in the garage it was rather dusty!

“We are delighted that it has a new home and that many people will get pleasure from seeing a classic like this in such good condition.”

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