Car Culture

Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure: 1984 Mazda RX-7 GS

Rear-wheel drive, rotary-powered 80s goodness for less than $10k.

The mid to late 1970s were not exactly the best time for sports cars. Coming off the muscle car era, America was experiencing an oil embargo and it simply didn’t make financial sense for automakers to continue with thirsty and high horsepower coupes and convertibles. However, that was the American automaker way of thinking; the Japanese thought differently. Aside from the original Datsun 240Z and its successors, Mazda took a shot at the US sports car market with its own unique result, the first RX-7, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary.

During our time scrolling through Craigslist over the past few days we uncovered this totally clean and nearly flawless 1984 Mazda RX-7 GS up for sale in Chicago with an asking price of $8,900. Sounds a bit pricey we know, but we also think the first generation of Mazda’s rotary-powered, front-engined coupes could become a future collector’s item. And this one looks solid. For example, it has only 41,234 original miles on its odometer and everything, with the sole exception of the muffler, is original. Not surprisingly, it’s had only one owner who, for whatever reason, feels it’s time to part with the car.

Aside from some normal exterior and interior wear and tear, the overall condition looks sound, but we’re sure its next owner will want to correct a few blemishes. Under its hood is a Wankel rotary engine with fuel injection that displaces 1.3 liters and produces a total of 135 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque, and paired to a five-speed manual. Why was the rotary engine such a good choice for a lightweight coupe like this? Because aside from being somewhat fuel efficient (19/29 mpg city/highway), it produced little vibration at high engine speeds, was compact in design and relatively lightweight, tipping the scales at less than 2,500 pounds.

Rotaries also require less moving parts than a typical piston engine, thus making its overall design very simple. Basically, it’s a small engine that packs quite a punch and will keep revving and revving. On the downside, rotary engines burn a lot of oil and conventional piston engine efficiency improved drastically. Rotaries also typically have a problem producing enough torque. Given all of that, you can clearly see why rotary engines are no longer in use. The first generation RX-7 also had a live axle rear suspension and a 50/50 weight ratio, so you know you’re going to have plenty of fun behind the wheel. Without question a car that’s 34 years old is bound to have some issues, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.

And we even think the asking price is pretty decent, considering the seller also points out the NADA Guides prices for an ’84 RX-7 ranges anywhere from around $4,225 to $17,500. Average retail price today, according to the same guide, is $9,800. There is a healthy supply of used RX-7s from all three generations out there for sale, but we’ve seen few that are in as original condition as this one. The fact it’s had just one owner for all of these years is an added bonus. Photos courtesy of Craigslist.

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