Thursday, May 21, 2015

10k: Clean Survivor: 1982 Mazda RX-7

The term survivor gets bandied about by car folks about as often as Madonna's shows her midriff, but let's take a quick second to define the term.  First, a survivor must have its original engine, transmission, options, & suspension, but wear parts can be replaced (shocks, engine/trans rebuild is okay), but when it comes to paint there is some room for discussion.  I would argue that the paint must be original, with the exception of any accident repair panels, but others will accept an older respray if it was done in the correct color.  Those people are wrong -- a survivor needs to have its original paint, peeling and faded or bright/shiny like this next one.  Find this 1982 Mazda RX-7 with only 45k miles on the odo offered for $11,500 in Sarasota, FL via craigslist.  Tip from dascpcu.
The first generation SA/FB RX-7 was lightweight sports coupe built in Japan and sold in North America from 1978 to 1985.  It was also was one of the last vehicles to use Barney Coopersmith's Felix Wankel's piston-free rotary engine design. 

Under the forward hinged hood is a 1.1 liter 12A rotary engine that pushes out 100 horsepower into a 5-speed manual gearbox.  The 2300 lb lightweight will hit 60mph in about 10 seconds, nothing to brag about, but the 50:50 weight distribution and 7000 rpm redline is a wonderful thing on a back road.
This base model is missing the leather accoutrements of the LS (leather special) model and the rear disc brakes/LSD of the GSL, but it offers a clarity of purpose that is endearing.  The muscle car market is starting to recognize the value of a nice stripper model (as they are called) perhaps the same will happen to the late model Japanese collector car market as time marches on.
See a car with cooler wheels?


  1. This poor car. I wonder why no DTer is interested in it enough to post a comment. Do you think that wing is stock? I don't remember them being painted but it's been a few years. Frankly, I really love these little cars. They're delightful to drive. I don't love the interiors, that's the only thing.

    1. Not really much to say other than: "nice survivor, my they've gotten expensive now, wish I had the money, garage space, etc"

      I think the wing is stock. I remember a few RX-7's in SCCA Pro Rally ran them.


    2. Okay, now I'm curious. I don't ever recall seeing an '82 FB GSL from the factory with a spoiler. If it was bought like that, I think it would have been a dealer installed item. Can anybody point me to information that proves otherwise? It would be much appreciated!

      The painted versus unpainted issue is because I'm getting the car confused with the 944. These things happen when you get old and forgetful. Now get off my lawn.

  2. What do you guys think of Mazda's new advertising slogan: 'Driving Matters"?

    1. I hadn't seen it yet; brilliant! I think it's really super, bringing an enthusiast's experience full circle like that. I wonder if it will resonate.

      Though it has nothing to do with the ad, it does make me cogitate on the reality of what gearhead is truly brand loyal like that in this day and age. It used to be a truism but I'd be surprised if there are many folks like that any more. Another sad reflection of our culture, in my opinion; never sticking with something that's good for us because there are bright shiny objects all around us and we chose to be easily distratcted. In other words, we all have a painfully short attention span.

      I was just talking to a friend the other day about how...BRB.

  3. Last Wednesday I was following one on I-75 towards downtown Detroit.
    Wow it sure looked small compared to all the newer bloated cars.

    I liked the next generation better for handling and they are the unloved RX-7.
    They are still reasonably priced.

    It is too bad that Mazda did not modify the RX-8 into a piston engine.

    1. Do you think that would confuse the image of the rotary engined sports car that the RX-8 was? They never offered a piston RX-7. I have always wondered if the decision to offer rotary and piston RX-2's and RX-3's was the plan all along or if it was reaction to the fuel crisis that happened in that time.

  4. This is not a stripper model, but the highest trim level in ''82. The emblem on the B pillar indicates a GSL (only trim level with the emblem), which would have had leather (cloth upholstery in this car is not original), other upgrades (LSD, 4-wheel disc brakes) and all options standard. A stripper (S trim) would have crank windows, 2-spoke steering wheel and non-power mirrors, unlike this car. The LS ('Leather Sport') was 1980 only, replaced by the GSL for '81-'85. The FB to have is the '84-'85-only GSL-SE with the fuel-injected 13B (135hp), with better performance than a 12A car.

  5. Correction: Leather was an option on the GSL (standard on the LS) so these are the original seats. Apologies for the error.


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