Saturday, August 16, 2014

5k: Repeat Offender: 1979 Mazda RX-7 Limited, Minty Clean

Update: 8/15/2014:  We originally featured this car in November of 2013 when it was offered in Dover, DE for $4,500, but it is now back for sale, this time from a new owner who picked it up in January of 2014.  The new owner also points out that this is one of 3000 Limited Edition cars sold in the US.  Find this 1979 Mazda RX-7 Limited offered for $4,500 in Bel Air, MD via craigslist. Tip from Mark W.

It is nice to see that this car isn't being offered at some crazy inflated price by someone who thinks a car is a good substitute for a 401k.  If it is still as clean and nice as it was before, it'll make a great driver for somebody.

Original Post: Nov 13, 2013 -- complete with old school DT badges.
The Mazda RX-7 was a pop-up headlight equipped Japanese classic with an engine located behind the front wheels in what is considered a front-midships configuration.  The lightweight rotary engine located far back in the chassis gives the RX-7 fantastic reflexes and makes for a great car if you can ignore the routine engine rebuilding required from the delicate spinning valveless engine.  Find this 1979 Mazda RX-7 for sale in Dover, DE for $4,500 via craigslist.  Tip from Mark W.

The Mazda is offered with a recently rebuilt engine and advertised as being in perfect running condition, no issues at all.  It almost reads to good to be true and for the asking price packs a lot of recent maintenance and "previous owner's money" into a small package.

The Mazda 12A 1.1 liter rotary engine puts out 100 horsepower in carburetor fed, in non-turbo trim.  A rotary engine isn't a good choice for the average driver, but for those who love high revving fun, it is hard to beat.  The exhaust note is muted stock, but opened up it sounds like a 50 lb bag of rock salt thrown into a woodchipper.

The inside of this RX-7 looks to be in great shape and is also equipped with what the seller calls "Limited Trim."  The light colored fabric is really nice condition for a 30 year old car.

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  1. What engine rebuilding? I have a 1982 Rx-7 with 107,000 miles, and the engine has never been out. It still runs like new. Besides, I figure that a rebuild will be pretty straightforward when I do pull the engine at 150,000 miles. It's the size of a motorcycle engine, and with half the number of parts.

  2. Rebuilding these typically isn't worth the trouble as the final engine failure will likely include overheating which warps the aluminum rotor housing. When its done just throw it out and source a new/used/jdm replacement and drop it in. Best of all, its a good excuse to drop in a larger, more powerful 13b.

  3. We had a dark grey metallic '83 RX-7 in GSL trim. Sharp car. All kinds of fun too. Felt quicker than it really was, and the tail always trying to arrive ahead of the nose. Kept you engaged. Quite small compared to most other cars on the road though. Not so much a problem until you have a head-on collision with a Chrysler.

  4. I had one of these in college and it was a blast. Yes, the tail did like to drift out in the corners, but it was supremely controllable. I can speak from experience (on the 270 degree off-camber offramp moving from 91S to 89S in Vermont) that the tail does not drift out as quickly or abruptly as an 80's Porsche 911 trying and failing to keep up with this Japanese upstart. And yes it did only have 100hp but it was light enough for extended dumped-clutch burnouts and the engine would rev forever. Reaching the 7000rpm redline happened so quickly and effortlessly that a warning buzzer would come on at redline to tell the driver, "Hey, you might want to shift now." But 8000 or 9000 rpms were possible and useful, just not recommended. I do agree with Larry, however, that car was very small in 1990 and using it today on a daily basis amongst the bloated Escaladitions would be risky.

  5. So the January 2014 buyer decided it wasn't the car for hm or her?

  6. I just purchased this vehicle today. Appreciate the information in this blog!

    1. Dennis,
      Excellent - send us a few pics and a story about the purchase, we'll write up a short story.
      DT Editor-in-Chief


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