71k Original Miles: 1983 Mazda RX-7 GSL

Update 7/23/20 – After nearly a year, this dusty RX7 is still on the market. Perhaps a realistic offer would take it home?

From 9/25/19 – Following on from the success of the Series 1 RX-7, the Series 2 brought with it a number of minor upgrades that really saw the RX-7 come into its own as a sports car. They remain popular today, and while this particular example looks like it might need some work, it still appears to be a solid car. Located in Saco, Maine, you will find the Mazda listed for sale here on Facebook. The owner is asking $6,500 for the 1980s classic.

The RX-7 is looking pretty dusty, but under that layer of dust lies a straight body that is finished in Maya Gold. The car looks to be completely original, and as is often the case, the paint on the tops of both the front and rear bumpers is exhibiting some noticeable fading. The factory alloy wheels and the glass all look to be in good condition, and there are no obvious signs of rust issues. One nice bonus is the fact that the Mazda is fitted with a factory sunroof.

The interior of the RX-7 appears to remain original, and while it is serviceable, it is beginning to show its age. The driver’s seat cover has a tear on the outer edge, while some of the plastic trim is discolored. Items like the original radio/cassette player are still in place, while power windows are part of the package. We don’t get a lot of information on the car’s mechanical health, beyond the fact that it has covered a claimed 71,000 original miles. If they are cared for properly, the 12A Wankel rotary engine could be quite reliable, and this one is backed by a 5-speed manual transmission. Early rotary engines were prone to a number of reliability issues, but by the time the RX-7 was introduced, these had largely been addressed. As I said, provided it has been looked after, that little engine should potentially be fine. It isn’t clear how long the Mazda has been sitting for, but I would be very inclined to give the engine a pretty thorough check before I hit the starter for the first time.

The Series 2 Mazda RX-7 is an attractive car, and if properly maintained, it is a car that can be incredibly reliable. While the engine may not be the most powerful on the planet, its power delivery is silky-smooth. If the mileage claim can be verified, and if the car is in decent mechanical health, then it would only potentially require some pretty minor cosmetic restoration to return it to its best. If this is the case, then it could be quite a good buy at the asking price.


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  1. RedBaran

    I think I’m going to start my own business: I’ll happily go to a seller’s house/barn/etc and give their vehicle a decent detailing (for a modest fee), so buyer’s can see what they’d actually be buying!

    BTW, love the early model RX-7’s…

    Like 22
    • Dan B.

      So much this. Everyone is busy, but it seems a strange way to sell a big ticket item.

      Like 6
    • davew833

      Exactly! If you’re going to ask that much for a mildly rare 80s car, for pete’s sake, pull it out and hose it off.

      Like 5
    • Joe

      This has been for sale forever. Even a 12A that has been allowed to sit for to many years will need the oil and coolant seals replaced, which means a rebuild. Not worth the money for the condition of this car.

      Like 6
    • JMB#7

      Proper detailing would be wonderful. But can’ they just hose it off so you can see thru the glass? Maybe they are trying to prove how many years it has sat? I have an 1982 in this same color (although mine had been repainted way back). Fantastic fun to drive cars.

      Like 1
  2. Eric

    The interwebs are great, but there’s actually TOO many venues for selling now, so the potential for missing out on a car are greater. I don’t have time to search out more than CL and I can’t be bothered with Facetube.

    Like 5
  3. Rx-7 TurboII

    Simply put from decades of Rotary addictions… way overpriced for its condition. Wash it, get it running correctly, give me a compression test and make sure there’s no coolant leaking from the side seals, paint the front bumper and show me there’s no rust in the rear wheel arches and maybe it’ll be worth 4000 dollars. $6,500 is a pipe dream. There, I’m done with my rant..Lol!

    Like 24
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      I just bought an 83 parts car here in NC for $750…some rust, mostly roasted interior, but intact with lots of usable parts. The seller’s son was selling an 81 for $650 (that frankly looked much better than my parts car…I overpaid by about $250). I also have an 84 that I’ve owned since it had 5,000 miles on it (now 188K) with a body that is almost pristine, leather interior in excellent condition, moon and sun roofs, not a spot of rust anywhere. If I could get $6500 for it, I might consider selling. The instance car above, from Maine no less (NaCL??), a GS not a GSL, is a $2000-$2500 car depending upon rust condition. I believe that the series 1 cars were 79-80, 81-83, and 84-85 in terms of shared components, although there was some overlap.

      Like 4
  4. healeydays

    Most issues with the rotaries were solved prior to the Rx7, but one that wasn’t was the seals in the engines dry out due to lack of oil and lack of running the engine causing the oil to lubricate the seals. If this engine has been sitting for a long time, my guess is the engine will need a rebuild to replace those seals.

    One of my many Rx7s I’ve owned when new was a gold 83 GSL like this one. Those seats were some of the most comfortable cloth seats I’ve ever owned.

    Like 12
    • Bob Mck Member

      If that is the case, this car is not worth much. Guess that is why is does not sell.

  5. healeydays

    Rx-7 TurboII,

    Today, you might be right on price, but 5 years from now it might be a deal. 1980s Japanese sport cars are starting to move and I believe that the stock Rx7s will also start trending up.

    Like 8
  6. Ward William

    It looks sweet indeed but I would not even attempt to start it without replacing the apex seal, especially considering it has been sitting for some years.

    Like 1
  7. TimM

    I just took a ride in one of these the other day and what a blast it was!! Great pickup with good handling!!! I was at my buddies house when he was rebuilding it and I can say I was thoroughly confused!! Like no other motor I’ve ever seen apart!! I would like to tear one of these down I’m sure it would be a complete learning experience!!!

    Like 2
  8. bog

    At first glance I thought this was my old RX7 “Kiku”, that I bought new in ’83. Then saw the interior and wiper on the back window. Still have the brochure around here somewhere, and would swear the color was called “Aztec” Gold Metallic rather than “Maya” Gold. Had it for 15 years, and for the last 10 it was more of an occasional driver. But during the last 5 I had the engine worked on, light weight clutch and flywheel assembly added along with a competition gearbox and rear-end work. Really shined on several twisty roads around here, particularly one called “the Ravine”…

    Like 2
  9. GuernseyPagoda Member

    Here’s a crazy idea, ready? If it hasn’t sold in nearly a year, there are reasons for that, ie priced too high, mid-represented, dirty, etc. This usually means that you(the seller) should try something different. HOW ABOUT A BATH AND PRICE CHANGE? MORE PICTURES?

    Seriously….. Sorry for my rant, it just gets frustrating when people are too lazy to even sell a car(or try to sell a car)😳

    Like 7
    • JMB#7

      Maybe he doesn’t want to sell it, but his wife keeps telling him to list it for sale?

      Like 1
  10. Racer-X

    I’ve got one, same color.

    Engine parts availability for these 12a’s is this generation’s Achilles heal. Otherwise 6k would be low.

    Like 1
  11. DanaPointJohn

    I am not seeing much interest from the seller. As noted earlier, a cleaned-up car with more photos and a realistic price would show us how serious this person is in getting rid of the RX-7.

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      Exactly, this one’s on the seller.

      As it sits the asking price is unreasonable, when a car has been listed for sale for nearly a year it’s not right to blame it on potential buyers by suggesting a realistic offer could take it home.

      Steve R

      Like 2
  12. Joseph Hoffman

    In my neck of the woods and I own a RX-8 and would bet a nice RX-7, this one is not nice.

  13. H5mind

    I have owned several, including the wonderful convertible with those great BBS wheels. Even sitting for a few weeks can be enough to shrink thw seals and prevent it starting. Used to be you could pour half a cup of motor oil down the carb models, crank with the plugs removed, and then replace plugs and start. Would smoke like crazy for a while but clear out.

    Like 1
  14. djjerme

    I will say, one of my most favorite cars I raced was a first gen RX7. It made any driver feel like a hero on the track because you could put it anywhere on the track and it stuck. Even when running 200 tw tires, I could put the car inside anything else on the track and new it would stick. The balance was incredible, even when compared to all the BMW’s I have raced.

    The real weak point though was the 12A. The team I was on at the time ran it for two 12 hours before it blew the seals, so I later swapped everything over to a ported 13B and FI. After that, the only weakness was the tranny, and we only lost one of those during another enduro when it pushed all the fluid out the rear seal – I ended up being the last driver and only had two gears to work with.

    Eventually, I left the team, and a rookie driver was later piloting it when an oil line blew and the car endup in the wall totaled.

    Sometimes wish I had just bought it and continued to race it, but I doubt my hearing would have remained intact…

    • bog

      dj – sounds like you got your hands on my old ’83, ‘cept I already put a racing tranny in mine. Along with racing flywheel & clutch ass’y. My 12A was beefed up by a guy on Chicago’s North Shore that knew what he was doing ( he also did the entire drivetrain & suspension stuff). Loved that car, had it until ’99 and let it go to a guy that was going to really race it. Two issues, rust at bottom of doors, & it ate 3 starters. Fortunately, for a guy like me with long arms, changing starters never a problem…..

  15. djkenny

    This is over $1200? Seriously?
    Wash it. Get it running well. Repair what needs Repair. Maybe $3500-4000, if rust free, at MOST.
    $6500 is absolutely waaaaaaaay out of the Ballpark.

  16. LotusS777

    It is pretty easy to look this up on Hagerty since these are considered collector cars these days. A #4 is $4100.00, which would be a not too pretty runner, but not too ugly either, so yes, this would seem overpriced in it’s current condition. Not running and dirty is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

    With 35 years experience with rotaries, I’d have to say some of the commenters here don’t really know too much about rotaries, sorry, just stating the obvious. The 12A is overall a pretty bulletproof engine, and I would have no reason not to try starting it as is. You can do a compression check with a standard compression gauge to get a good idea what you are looking at. Anything below 70 psi and you probably won’t get it started. Apex seals don’t shrink from sitting, but he biggest problem is with seals sticking. The carbon that has built up in the engine so far could be enough to cause all of the corner seals and side seals to stick, causing low compression. The apex seals are less likely to be stuck. The oil seal orings have probably taken a set, which may make it a little smokey, but really won’t hurt anything. If you can get it started, see how smokey it is and if you can live with it or not.

    The engine itself is probably in great shape inside if it was to be rebuilt, and could probably be rebuilt with just a good cleaning, new apex seals, new oil seal orings. The apex seals could actually be reused if cost is really that big of an issue. Of course it should be street ported and get a good header/exhaust while your at it since it will double the HP with no ill effects.

    This could make a good entre’e into rotary world, maybe at a better price. I’m sure prices will go up in the future, but you could probably wait to pay more. RX7s are certainly getting much more scarce, and the risk of waiting could be seeing the rust free good builders suddenly shoot up past what you once considered too much. See what has happened to 240Zs.

    Current rotary inventory is a 72 RX2 vintage race BS, 73 RX3, 74 REPU, 79 SA RX7, FB RX7 SCCA GT3, 93 FD.

    Like 3
    • bog


    • JMB#7

      Thank you for you comments. Misconceptions about Rotaries is rampant. Some of it makes me laugh, whiles some of it makes me cry.You obviously have the experience and know what you are talking about. Long live the Gen1 RX7 and the big smile they bring to the face of those who actually drive them.

      Like 1

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