Rotary Rescue: Pair of Mazda REPUs

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Mazda’s rotary pickup – known as the REPU – is a bit of an anomaly on the vintage truck landscape, but quickly becoming one of the more desirable Japanese trucks ever sold stateside. Think about it: rotary power has always been a Mazda staple, and stuffing a high-winding powerplant in a truck is simply something we won’t see ever again. This seller is listing two rough but supposedly worthwhile project REPUs here on eBay with a $2,500 Buy-It-Now.

The truck in the top photo is supposedly the better of the two, though it’s hard from the listing to determine which is which. The seller has listed the one above as the parts truck to help finish the other, but more work will be required either way. Both are blue, which makes it more challenging to determine which is which. Both trucks comes with their desirable 13B motors and transmissions, but no word on running condition.

Scanning through the photos, the truck lacking doors is the one in the top photo and definitely looks savable. The seller mentions that it has some serious patina that some diehards may want to preserve, but given the increased interest in the REPU as a future collector’s item, we say it’s worthwhile to restore it back to original condition and save the parts truck as the ratrod. The interior is quite rough in the parts truck; no photos are provided of the other.

Here’s the truck in the top photo sitting next to some other interesting project-grade Japanese icons. When you recall some of the details of this truck’s final production form, it really is pretty wild that it was even built: flared fenders, relocated battery, the wicked four-barrel rotary motor and a tailgate that screamed, “ROTARY POWER!” We hope these trucks are saved and not cannibalized, as there can’t be many left.

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Comments

  1. Royal

    I have one of these with 38 rotting into the ground with moss on it that looks ten times better than these two here. My father bought it in 1974 after sitting in the sales manager’s office all day until he caved on what my father was offering. You could really light up the tires in this thing. Mine was blue as well.

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  2. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    The thing I can’t figure is a rotary engine in a pickup. Lots of revs but little torque, and torque is what you need with a pickup, which is why the big-load, long distance hauler pickups are mostly diesels.

    Yes pickups are now cool, and a lot of people use them as cars, but back when this pickup was being designed and produced that wasn’t the case. Makes me wonder how many Mazda sold.

    I think this kind of truck will be an ultra-niche vehicle, and mainly for someone who loves Mazda rotaries. Having said that, I hope these get bought and brought back so they don’t disappear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one on the road…….

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  3. Howard A Member

    I’ve always liked the styling of the Mazda pickups, but dump the rotary for heavens sake. And both of these are very poor examples, but a V6 or V8 would sure spruce this truck up. Or be creative like this.
    http://www.engineswapdepot.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Roadkills-1974-Mazda-Truck-With-an-Oldsmobile-455ci-V8-in-the-bed-02.jpg

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  4. Wayne

    Hi Howard A. I thought that you were on the way to CA to buy a Pinto Wagon!Another Eldo/Toro conversion on that REPU. (Yes I know that this one is a Toro) I bet this one is faster than the black GM from a few days ago.
    I always liked these. And yes a small block Ford drops right in.

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    • Howard A Member

      Hi Wayne, “Pinto Wagon Quest” continues, but I’ve ruled out California. Stuff is a lot cheaper up the coast. Aside from my kids being in L.A., I have no real desire to go back there.

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  5. angliagt

    I still want to get one of these,& replace the “P”
    on the tailgate,& make it say ” ROTARY MOWER”.

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  6. Rentalbarn

    I owned one for a few years, bought it used with a rebuilt engine. It was a rocket and would chirp the tires in 3rd gear.

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  7. DG

    I forgot about these. Love those ’70s Japanese mini-trucks. Especially the Datsuns.

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