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Batteries Not Included: 1983 Mazda RX-7 GSL EV

I know that you’ve been wondering when we were going to show yet another battery-powered Mazda RX-7! It’s been since last August, when Jeff showed us one in the weeds that needed a lot of work. To follow up the question that nobody has asked, or maybe the question that that only two people have asked (the other one and this one), here’s another RX-7 and this time it’s a 1983 Mazda RX-7 GSL EV! This is one sharp-looking car, there is just no question about that. It’s listed on eBay with a bid of just over $200, but of course the reserve isn’t met.

I usually try to save the “engine” photo for last, but, here ya go! This car has an “Allis Chalmers DC motor with adapter plate ($500) and a Curtis 1231C controller (<200miles on it) ($1,560) and a Quick Charge Select-A-Charge On Board charger (120VAC-144VDC) ($499)”. The seller bought this RX-7 six years ago and it was already professionally converted to battery power. He performed a lot of upgrades on this car and drove it for 10,000 miles when, and this won’t do much to help the case or the cause for those of us who love these sorts of unusual vehicles, the batteries “wore out”. (push here!) Although, I’m assuming that the batteries were in the car prior to this owner buying it so the batteries may well have many more miles on them than just 10,000.

The owner/seller took out the dozen batteries, five in the front and seven in the back, along with the associated cables, and there it sits, waiting for the new owner to haul it home and load it up with $1,000 in new batteries. Before the batteries went on the blink it was capable of 65 mph and had a 25-mile range. That’s a thorn in the side of EV lovers and non-lovers alike – the low range. It’s usually one of the three things that EV non-lovers comment on when they comment on EV finds: the low range. The other two things are the pollution from lead-acid batteries, and the fact that supposedly all EV vehicles ever made only use power from super-polluting coal plants. I’m kidding on the last one, of course, a lot of folks realize that there are other clean sources of energy to recharge one’s batteries, so to speak. All three are valid points, however.

This is a new Electric Blue Motors EV Dashboard Computer that the seller put in and it’s just one of the many upgraded systems that this car has. For folks with a short commute of around 10 miles each way or less, this would be a fun car to drive. If it’s truly a case of only needing $1,000 in new batteries this would be a heck of a buy, depending on what the seller’s reserve is, of course. He said that it’s like driving the world’s fastest golf cart. I’m sure Mazda RX-7’s designers would love to hear that! I love burning gas and oil as much as the next person does, but I also love it when people try different ways to make their vehicles zoom-zoom!


  1. healeydays

    A nice paperweight. Sorry, but I use to own a number of Rx7s (1st one fall of 78). I bought them for the rotary power, and not a V8 or a battery pack.

    Not usually a purist, but the rotary was so unique and had such a nice power curve, why mess with it?

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  2. David Frank David F Member

    This Mazda was fun once, but the batteries and controllers are obsolete. If you want to try a fun electric car, try a used Fiat 500e. Nice, low mileage examples can be bought for about $6000. For example, this Fiat has 16,000 miles on it. The lead acid batteries and controllers in the Mazda are heavy and expensive and just don’t provide a useful range. The Fiats are a blast to drive and provide about an 80 mile range.

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  3. JMB#7

    I have a 1982 RX and did entertain the idea of converting to electric. Some day I will convert something to electric. Every time I think about it for the RX7, I soon give up the thought for several reasons. A lead acid conversion still isn’t exactly cheap, and adds weight, decreases range and performance. A LiPo, or LiFPo is just way out of my cost range, and still decreases range. I often get asked if my RX7 still has the rotary.. The answer is simple “yes, why would you want one if it did not?” Sure a LS engine swap can gain a lot of torque for a little money…. But the attributes of the 1st Gen RX7 were 50/50 balance and a flat torque curve from 2000 to beyond the 7000 rpm redline. If anyone feels inclined to hate on rotaries, please preface you statement with whether you ever owned one and what you did to break it. If you want to see some hot electric conversion search for Plasma Boy Racing.

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  4. Jeffro

    Yawn…if I convert a RX-7, it’s going to be converted to a V8

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  5. Royal Ricci

    Someone who wants to could buy this and revamp it to run on Lithium batteries which with a newer controller could extend the range to 100 miles.

    EV’s running on lead acid batteries are a total waste of time.

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  6. Rolf Poncho 455

    I owned a RX7 1st gen 13B turbo conversion
    what a POCKET ROCKET it was loved my car
    sadly I sold it to a drag racer and thy smashed it

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  7. rich voss

    My former ’83 RX-7 GS is probably rolling in it’s grave (unless it’s out racing somewhere) ! Why, for the love of all things rotary…of course, the answer is “because”.

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