This 1983 Mazda RX-7 has been sitting, covered in dust in storage for the past 10 years at least, possibly longer. It’s now being offered for sale out of Canada in as-is condition for just $2,350 USD.

It’s clear that this is going to be a project car in every sense of the term, with some rust visible on the body panels, a small hole in the floor, and a rotary engine with over 174,000 kms on it which will undoubtably need a full rebuild.

Fast Facts – The First Generation Mazda RX-7

  • The 1983 Mazda RX-7 shown in this article has been stored under a layer of dust for over a decade and is currently located in Canada. It is listed for sale in “as-is” condition for the Canadian dollar equivalent of $2,350 USD. Despite being complete with no known missing parts and still housing its original engine, the vehicle needs extensive restoration due to rust and a mileage of 174,000 kilometers, indicating it will need an engine rebuild.
  • The Mazda RX-7 was first introduced in 1978, it had a major impact on the global the sports car market thanks to its sleek design and its unusual Wankel rotary engine – a Mazda staple. The RX-7 has more than a passing resemblance to the Porsche 924, and it competed against its German rival both on the race track and off the dealership showroom floors.
  • The early examples of the RX-7 were powered by the 12A rotary engine, offering 100-130 bhp. The car was quite lightweight at 1,043 kgs, which gave it a competitive power-to-weight ratio by the standards of the time. Later models, particularly those exported to North America from 1984, could be optioned with the larger 13B rotary engine with 135+ bhp.
  • The RX-7 earned a reputation on the race tracks of Europe and North America, taking multiple victories in the British Saloon Car Championship, winning the 24 Hours of Spa, and taking over 100 IMSA race victories in the US. Although it had a simple steel unibody and live axle rear end setup, the lightweight and balanced design contributed to its good handling, and racing successes.

The Arrival Of The Mazda RX-7

When the Mazda RX-7 debuted in 1978 it caused a sensation, the worldwide motoring media were enamored with this sleek new Japanese sports car, with styling reminiscent of the Porsche 924, and a Wankel rotary engine under the hood.

Mazda RX-7 Vintage Ad Mazda targeted the RX-7 squarely at the Porsche 924 and the Datsun 280ZX, and they were very open about it in their period advertising. Image courtesy of Mazda.

Few things were as desirable as pop-up headlights on your sports car in the 1970s, or in the 1980s that were to come for that matter, and the RX-7 offered some of the most memorable pop-ups of the era. The car that the RX-7 was replacing, the earlier RX-3, had decidedly aged styling by the late 1970s and so the new sports car from Mazda was almost overdue by the time it was released.

When it debuted the first RX-7 was powered by the 12A rotary engine, a 1,146 cc (1.2 liter) twin-rotor Wankel engine producing between 100 and 130 bhp depending on the specific model. Later, a turbocharged version would be added for Japan, good for 160 bhp.

From 1984 onwards, the export models, including for the North American market, had the option of the slightly larger Mazda 13B rotary engine with fuel-injection, a displacement of 1.3 liters, with 135 bhp.

Though these power figures may not seem all that impressive to us today, it’s worth noting that the RX-7 only weighed 1,043 kgs (2,300 lbs) at the time of its release, and so the power to weight ratio was more than capable of giving the competition a run for its money.

Not long after its release, the Mazda RX-7 would begin racking up a series of impressive motorsport wins, largely in Europe and North America. These included winning the British Saloon Car Championship in 1980 and 1981, winning the 1981 24 Hours of Spa, and taking victories in over 100 IMSA races in the United States.

Despite the modern styling penned by Matasaburo Maeda, and the long list of on-track victories, the RX-7 was somewhat simple under the bodywork. It had steel unibody shell with a live axle rear end, independent MacPherson strut front suspension, recirculating-ball steering, and front disc brakes with rear drums.

Mazda RX-7 Barn Find 8 This car has been sitting for over 10 years, it has some rust and plenty of dust, and now needs a full restoration.

The small, lightweight rotary engine was installed behind the front wheel center line, meaning the car was technically front-mid-engined, which contributed to its sharp handling. Perhaps the two main drawbacks to the Wankel rotary engine are the fact that they can tend to be quite thirsty, consuming more fuel than you might expect for their displacement and power output, and the fact that the apex seals tend to give out requiring a full engine rebuild.

The first generation Mazda RX-7 would be sold from 1978 until 1985 when it would be replaced with the second generation model. A third generation RX-7 would arrive in 1991, and generally speaking, its the first and third generation cars that tend to attract the most interest from enthusiasts and collectors.

The Mazda RX-7 Barn Find Shown Here

The car you see here is a Mazda RX-7 that’s been sitting in a storage facility of some sort, covered in dust, for at least the past decade. The car is located in Canada, which is why the speedometer is in kilometers per hour (outer ring) and miles per hour (inner ring).

The history of the car isn’t listed in any detail, in fact the entire eBay listing consists of “1983 Mazda RX7 barn find vehicle. Selling as is, buyer pickup only! Vehicle is complete no parts missing.” The good news is that it’s a manual transmission car, and the engine is still under the hood.

Mazda RX-7 Barn Find 4 Mazda’s famous Wankel rotary engine is what really set the RX-7 apart, the model would become the best-selling rotary-engined car in history.

It’s clear that this car is going to need a full restoration, the body will need rust repairs and the engine/drivetrain will all need to be rebuilt before any driving it attempted. The 174,000 kms or 108,100 miles, is remarkably high for a rotary-engined car, and it’s probably safe to safe that it’s had at least one or two engine rebuilds previously.

If you’d like to read more about this car or hit the Buy It Now button, spend $3,200 CAD ($2,350 USD) and make the car yours, you can visit the listing here.

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Images courtesy of eBay Motors

Published by Ben Branch -