Rotary Survivor: 19k Mile 1983 Mazda RX-7

If you haven’t been paying attention, then you probably haven’t noticed the record prices being brought at auction by certain seventies and eighties sports cars.  With a 240Z recently bringing a six digit price, collectors are now scanning the horizon for the next big automotive money maker.  While some special Corvettes are bringing big money, and the Fox Body Mustangs are being snapped up left and right, a really influential sports car has been overlooked.  For now.  Take a close look at this pristine 1983 Mazda RX-7 being sold here on eBay out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  This little rotary rocket is fully loaded and is fresh out of a fifteen-year stint in climate controlled storage.  With bidding at $13,900 and a Buy It Now price of $19,900, are we seeing the next hot collectible automobile?

The back story on this car is amazing.  Bought new in Jacksonville, Florida by an elderly lady, she obviously kept the car in mint condition and drove it sparingly.  The car has just 19,272 miles on it.  She must have liked nice things because the car was ordered with nearly all of the options offered that year with the GLS package.  Sadly, she passed on fifteen years ago, and the well cared for car was placed in climate controlled storage.  Everything was kept as original, and the car comes with all the books and paperwork.  They even kept the original tires when the car was treated to a new set to get it back on the road.

The seller also cleaned out the fuel system, installed new spark plugs, replaced the ignition wires and cap, and even changed the oil.  The car is said to run and drive excellent.  Why wouldn’t it?  It is practically a brand new car.

As you can see from the picture above, the interior is as stunning as the exterior.  There are no rips, stains, or cracks to be seen.  The red cloth seats are miraculously free of the sun fading that older cars from Florida often exhibit.  We can also see that the original owner was, thankfully, a fan of manual transmissions.  She was also a fan of power equipment.  The car is equipped with power brakes, a sunroof, power windows, power mirrors, and a state of the art (for the time) radio with a cassette player and an equalizer.

Under the hood is Mazda’s famous rotary engine.  Known for its incredibly smooth power delivery, these engines are also known for their lack of torque at lower engine speeds.  Wankel type rotary engines also have a reputation for mildly excessive oil consumption and for their thirst in comparison to conventional engines.  By this time, Mazda was doing what it could to promote this type of engine.  General Motors had all but begun production on their version of the rotary engine by the mid-1970s, but the engine’s drawbacks forced them to shy away.  Only Mazda soldiered on with this engine.  It makes you think of the “what ifs” of this novel powerplant was more widely produced.

In the RX-7, it was perfect though.  These were reliable, well-styled sports cars that handled and drove great for the time.  They are also underappreciated in the collector car market.  While the prices for early 924 Porsches are starting to skyrocket, the early RX-7s are not building momentum.  That is too bad, as most would agree that the RX-7 is a better car.  Perhaps this RX-7 will garner enough attention to start a scramble amongst collectors.  Good cars of this era are hard to find.  I doubt you’ll find a better RX-7 than this one.

Do you think the car will sell for the Buy It Now Price?  Are RX-7s the next big thing?   Do they deserve to be?


  1. ccrvtt

    This is one of the 3 cars I’ve owned that I’d like to have again. I found mine to be very well built, spacious, useful (hatchback), and tons of fun to drive. Given the nature of the Wankel it’s somewhat surprising that many examples on the market have well over 150K miles on the clock. The gas mileage is nothing to get excited about for sure, but I never felt that the lack of low end torque was a detriment. That’s because the power curve is more of a straight line, it just keeps building to the redline.

    This one is admittedly beautiful, but good luck with the price. I don’t think the market is there – yet. It should rise in step with cars like the 240Z, the Datsun 1600, and the 2nd gen MR2.

    Nice find. Nice manual transmission.

    Like 8
    • Jerry

      I’ve previously owned an 82, 86, and an 04 rx8 for 15 years now. The exclusivity of them draws me. Everyone’s got other cars aplenty (Camaro, mustang etc). I don’t think they’ll gain in value much, except for the 93-95 FDs. But the rx8 should be comparable to those 93-95, yet, the values are very underwhelming (more incentive to keep mine).

      Like 1
  2. healeydays

    I love Rx7s. I owned many from new over the years and was the President of the Northeast Rx7 club back in the day.

    Oil consumption is not because of problems (in the beginning of the car’s life) as they are designed to use oil so they can lube the apex seals in the engines. Over time, if oil isn’t changed regularly, or you let the oil levels go down, or if you let the car sit unused, those seals will fail and you will start seeing the engines using oil to the point that you could see oil consumption as much as a quart per 1000 miles.
    If the seals totally fail, you will loose compression and you will need to rebuild the engine and that’s where the problem is. There aren’t enough folks out there that want to touch a rotary engine as they don’t understand them.

    Low mileage Rx7s are great to find, but be prepared to get into a rebuild at some point in it’s future…

    Like 6
    • CanuckCarGuy

      I believe seal failure is the Achilles heel in terms of value on these…not really conducive to DYI repair and knowledgeable mechanics are hard to find in many parts. I’ve always wanted an RX7 for that sweet rotary engine, but it’s also what holds me back from buying one.

      Like 2
    • racer-x

      At 13 years old, I learned how to drive my father’s 79 RX-7. I finally got around to buying not just one, but two this year.

      My wife and son, neither with any RX7 exposure, had a blast driving them. I decided on keeping the better of the pair (single owner ’82 with 200k mi) and will start refurbishing it soon. The one I “rescued” from Yosemite was promoted on this website. Both were an adventure.

      Like 1
  3. chris lawrence

    all rotary cars are trash. Otherwise you would see them everywhere.

    Like 1
    • Country Joe


      Like 1
    • Rx7turboII

      Chris, ever even own a Rotary powered car before? I doubt it. (Eyes rolling)

      Its a very nice car, but on a high side for me personally. I bought my 88 Turbo 10 years ago with 65k on it for 7,500 and have been very happy with it ever since. Yes, they have their quirks, but like Chris said, you don’t see them everywhere so actually it makes them more enjoyable when you do spot one on the road! Unlike Camrys, which you see everywhere. I’ve been rebuilding Wankel engined since about 1989, not complicated to rebuild at all, just finding a good set of rotor housings nowadays that the chrome isn’t beat to death is the trickiest part.

      Like 4
      • Boatman Member

        Can the rotors be rechromed?

    • arizman2

      I bought a new one in 1979 in Dallas Texas. Drove the heck out of it for years with not a single fault. Up in the Northwest I put a light weight flywheel, put on a set of headers, built a custom exhaust and autocrossed the car for several years. Eventually I gave the car to my brother who autocrossed the car exclusively for many years and won the class championship in the NW region every year. The seals in the engine never went bad.

      Like 5
    • healeydays

      Thanks for that articulate comment. Very informative

      Like 4
  4. TimM

    Just helped a guy rebuild one of these it was a learning experience for sure!!

    Like 1
  5. Vudutu

    My fave pocket rocket ever, owned two in the 80s, mind you I also enjoyed a TR3 and a 58 Porsche speedster. Low end torque issues, not a problem rev the heck out of it feather the clutch and put your foot in it, great fun.

    Like 1
  6. Gay Car Nut Tacoma

    I remember when the Mazda RX-7 looked like this. I find this, and the 2nd generation RX-7 the most attractive. I’d buy a 1st or 2nd gen RX-7 if I knew someone who specialized in the rotary Wankel engine.

  7. Gay Car Nut Tacoma

    I have a cousin who had one back in the 80s. I was too young to drive at the time, but I seem to remember him enjoying driving the car. I don’t know how reliable the car was, or if he had any problems with servicing (maintenance) the car.

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