Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
8/25/23 10:09 a.m.
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Love triangles and station wagons? You’re going to love this Mazda RX-3 Wagon project for sale.

Billed as a “solid Oklahoma car” that’s been “stored for years,” the RX-3 features a twin distributor 12A rotary engine that’s backed by an automatic transmission.

Sure, it’ll probably need a lot of work to be roadworthy again, but when was the last time …

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jgrewe
jgrewe Dork
8/25/23 10:43 a.m.

The guy that introduced me to the joys of rotary racing had one of these to go with his RX3 he ran in GT3. He had "last years" race engine in it and it was his DD. This was how he described his trip into town one morning for an auto-x;

"This Corvette was crowding me on the on ramp so I let him by as soon as we got on I-75. I dropped in behind him as he took off and stayed with him up to about 90. After a mile or so I flashed my lights at him to see if he would move over, he didn't. He punched it, I punched it. I don't know how fast we were going when he finally moved over and let me pass but it was triple digits and he had a look of bewilderment as the wagon passed him."

j_tso
j_tso Dork
8/25/23 10:47 a.m.

Definitely needs a lot of work. I wouldn't modify one in better condition, but that's a blank slate.

I think it was about 2007 when I last saw an RX-3 wagon driving.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/25/23 10:47 a.m.

Yeah, this turns my crank...so to speak.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
8/25/23 10:56 a.m.

In reply to j_tso :

I hear you. I would love to restore it and probably keep some of the patina, but if you wanted to build something wild, this could be the perfect starting point.

jgrewe
jgrewe Dork
8/25/23 11:09 a.m.
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) said:

Yeah, this turns my crank...so to speak.

I think you mean shaft...to remain true to the engine,lol.

dannyp84
dannyp84 HalfDork
8/25/23 11:19 a.m.

Trim and body parts for these are hard to find and as such are exorbitantly expensive. A friend of mine bought an early RX-3 from a GRM member and told me he intends to sell it as a complete running car, but that the steering wheel alone could easily be sold for $1500. I've always wanted a pre-RX-7 rotary, but the costs and scarcity of parts has kept me away. Many of the good clean examples here in the states have been sold to Australians who are willing to pay the import costs..

M2Pilot
M2Pilot Dork
8/25/23 3:03 p.m.

I had one of those with a 4 speed.  When I bought it new, Mazda had a 50K mile engine warranty.  That was quite a long warranty in those days.  Apex seals blew at around 51K.  Mazda refused to help with engine rebuild or replacement.  I had engine rebuilt by dealer and sold the car soon after that.  I'm still sort of pissed after 50 years.  

A couple of years after I sold the car, I received a check for $750.  There had been a class action suit vs. Mazda and Mazda lost.

Having said that, it was a fun, versatile, car.  I don't remember what the redline was but the car seemed to want to try to reach 10000 rpm.

PT_SHO
PT_SHO New Reader
8/25/23 3:29 p.m.

My bro was a huge rotary head back then (late '70's).  Great success in his local autocross with a mostly stock RX3 wagon.  This was when the Pirelli P-3 was the hot tire to have.  His dream was to put a rotary reversed into a Karmann Ghia mid-ship but never got it done.  Would have needed transmissions regularly if it used VW's would be my guess.

The RX-4's had a buzzer installed for over-rev as it was so easy to forget due to the smoothness.  A friend's father had one and kept setting off the buzzer, unsure if the buzzer was at redline or slightly over it at 8000.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/25/23 6:33 p.m.

That is nicer than my 4 door RX-3.

 

IIRC, all RX-3 wagons, at least in the US, were twin dizzy.  That is to say, they stopped selling the wagons here after 1973.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/25/23 6:36 p.m.
dannyp84 said:

Trim and body parts for these are hard to find and as such are exorbitantly expensive. A friend of mine bought an early RX-3 from a GRM member and told me he intends to sell it as a complete running car, but that the steering wheel alone could easily be sold for $1500. I've always wanted a pre-RX-7 rotary, but the costs and scarcity of parts has kept me away. Many of the good clean examples here in the states have been sold to Australians who are willing to pay the import costs..

Hell, the windshield is pure unobtainium, anywhere in the world.  Literally could not place a dollar amount on it because there are none for sale anywhere.  That is what really, really scared me off of the car.  Break it and there is no way forward from that.

j_tso
j_tso Dork
8/25/23 7:07 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Hell, the windshield is pure unobtainium, anywhere in the world.

Even if you know a guy in Japan?

That guy with a rotary museum in Germany once had a Mazda exec stop by and he complained that he couldn't find one for his Cosmo, but the exec hooked him up.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/25/23 7:24 p.m.

In reply to j_tso :

The 4 door RX-3 windshield is exclusive to the 4 door, the majority of RX-3s were 2 door.

I went to see how difficult it would be to replace in case I broke it, and found nothing but people in Australia and New Zealand and Puerto Rico trying unsuccessfully to buy glass.

Colindw
Colindw New Reader
8/29/23 1:56 p.m.

I built

Colindw
Colindw New Reader
8/29/23 1:58 p.m.

Colindw
Colindw New Reader
8/29/23 2:07 p.m.

I built this RX3 wagon in the early 1980's in Jamaica. It had a very successful rallying and racing record in Jamaica and the Caribbean during the 80's and 90's.

There is a ton of information on the project if anyone is interested.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
8/29/23 2:09 p.m.

In reply to Colindw :

That is so rad. Thank you for sharing.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
8/29/23 4:29 p.m.
PT_SHO said:

My bro was a huge rotary head back then (late '70's).  Great success in his local autocross with a mostly stock RX3 wagon.  This was when the Pirelli P-3 was the hot tire to have.  His dream was to put a rotary reversed into a Karmann Ghia mid-ship but never got it done.  Would have needed transmissions regularly if it used VW's would be my guess.

The RX-4's had a buzzer installed for over-rev as it was so easy to forget due to the smoothness.  A friend's father had one and kept setting off the buzzer, unsure if the buzzer was at redline or slightly over it at 8000.

The deal was, when autocrossing, if the buzzer stopped buzzing it was time to shift down and get it buzzing again... These magic doritos loved to spin... Never had a wagon, but did have a couple coupes (as well as an R100 and a couple RX2s). Always ignored redlines. They simply stopped spinning when they ran out of breath. Porting them a bit to add air allowed them to go higher. This one tended to run out of breath right about 9000 rpm. The buzzer came on at 7500...

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