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Rare Special Edition: 1983 Mazda RX-7

Special editions are a dime a dozen, but some limited offerings in the car world are worth paying attention when they show up for sale. This 1983 Mazda RX-7 is a prime example of this, as it is a gussied-up “Limited Edition” model making it a one-of-5,000 made specimen that came with some desirable upgrades. The FB RX-7 is one of the more collectible RX-7 models, and this nicely kept example is offered here on craigslist for $8,900.

The earliest RX-7 is known for its slippery profile and rotary powerplant, and while its power output wasn’t massive, this was a surprisingly quick sports coupe. However, there were some growing pains with the novel engine design, and the car hasn’t appreciated as much as the later FD-chassis RX-7. Still, it helps that Jay Leno’s garage recently profiled one that was up for auction, and I suspect we’ll see prices continue to climb for the best cars.

The Special Edition RX-7 of this generation gave buyers a host of upgrades, the most notable of which was the attractive set of BBS-style forged aluminum wheels that got kicked up to a beefy 5.5 inches of width. Other standard features included air conditioning, sunroof, cassette player with graphic equalizer, and the distinctive “Chateau Silver” paint job. Of course, the most attractive feature of this car is that it’s been with the same owner for 30 years.

That’s the car you want to buy if you’re hunting vintage sports and collector models – long-term owned. It’s hard to find examples that haven’t traded hands a few times by now, but this appears to be one of those needles-in-a-haystack cars. The seller provides a list of notable recent maintenance, including new plugs and wires, brake master cylinder, alternator, and tires. In my opinion, this is one worth pursuing if you’ve had your eye on a first-generation RX-7.


  1. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    Like the color. Looks well-maintained, but it’d be nice to see the seats. The little bit shown looks like cloth inserts. I personally prefer my leather seat covers (an 84 GSL). Mileage is good for the vintage and the price seems low to me. I wouldn’t part with mine for anywhere close to that number.

    Like 4
    • Dave Evade

      Does it have power steering? It does not have power windows. Does it have a power sunroof? My Dad had one of these, and it was a lot of work to drive. Never understood why this was a limited edition. Don’t get me wrong, I love an RX7! This model, I don’t understand the appeal. Not as good as the others IMO.

      Like 0
  2. Robert Cordova

    Those limited edition emblems look like the ones you can buy at autozone. Just saying!

    Like 1
  3. FrankD Member

    These 13B engines had ( crankcase seals or wiper seals?) and mechanical problems turbo /manifold problems as time when on. Buy a spare engine or know a good place that specializes in

    Like 0
    • JMB#7

      It is a 12A engine. Extremely reliable. Make sure the oil injection works properly. And/or run 2-stroke oil 256:1 in the gas. (Aka 1/2 ounce per gallon). Maintain the ignition system (never run for long if the leading ignitor fails). The 12A will run great for 150k miles. And keep running well beyond that if the basics are tended to.

      Like 4
      • K. R. V.

        Back in the 70’s I ran a Yamaha DT 250 back and forth from Ft. Dix, N.J., to my family’s home in SE Mass. DownRt 95 and the NJT, when the speed limits were65-70. To help that two stroke I added two oz of Marval Mystery Oil in at every 2 gal refill. That really helped at high speeds to keep thing well lubed and cool. I was told by an engineer who worked at Fram that would be more than just help lube, but also raise octane by slowing the burn just a bit. All I know is I put 10,000 miles on that little bike at high speeds and never had any upper end issues and ran with traffic all through the 272 mile knee way trips.

        Like 1
      • John Frazier

        The write-up on Craigslist says it’s a 12B engine.

        Like 0
  4. JMB#7

    Nice find. Looks as original as they get. I consider 110k miles to be low. The price is very reasonable. Look for rust in the rocker panels, rear fender arches, and lower door seams. See my other comments in reply above. The FB RX7 is a solid no nonsense sports car. The 12A engine is the icing on the cake. Don’t get all hung up in comparing numbers or you’ll deprive yourself the enjoyment.

    Like 4
  5. charlie Member

    Daughter’s boy friend’s father had one, raced at Lime Rock, got a new one, made the old one street legal, son and my daughter went off a wet road in it, ABS worked, but slid into a rotten apple tree, took flight over a stream and cleared the other bank, meanwhile doing a barrel roll, landed on all four wheels, bounced another 50 feet through pucker brush, again landed on all four wheels. Boy and my daughter got out through the broken back window, all four wheels splayed out, no fire, all taken to ER to sew up various small cuts and bruises, mostly from back window glass and the puckerbrush. He had not been drinking, but lost license until he was 18, daughter learned it was OK to “back seat drive” and tell the driver he/she was going to fast. I suppose some people would have sued, but, not us. No lasting damage and a lesson learned. Point is, these are strong cars.

    Like 6
    • tiger66

      Glad everyone survived the crash relatively unscathed but if ABS was involved it was a later car than this one as it wasn’t offered until 1987 and then only on the GXL and Turbo models.

      Like 1
    • B.B.

      Sounds like your daughter went on one h*** of a ride!

      Like 0
    • K. R. V.

      Yea they might be able to hold up on their own. But get hit by anything bigger?

      Like 0
  6. CarNutDan

    I would take this generation of rx7 over the Porsche 944 lookalikes of the next gen any day. I would just put in a miata or a toyota engine in because the rotary is too high maintenance for my liking.

    Like 0
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      Interesting idea to use a Miata engine, but the reality is that the rotary engines are low maintenance, not high. Change the oil and filter regularly and they last for a very long time.

      Like 1
    • JMB#7

      Strange that you should mention that. Although I liked the Miata… if I were to ever own one I would swap in a rotary. I really think that Mazda missed the boat by not offering a factory rotary in the Miata. IMHO

      Like 3
  7. John Frazier

    I had a ’79 and an ’87. I can’t speak for all of the mechanical problems that you guys are talking about, but I never had any problems at all. I don’t recall the mileage on the ’79, but it ran well until I got rid of it in 1990.

    Like 1

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