Junkyard Find: 1979 Mazda RX-7

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1979 mazda rx 7

First-gen Mazda RX-7s aren’t difficult to find in self-service wrecking yards (we just saw this ’80 with Flashdance-grade custom paint and this fairly solid ’85), and so most of them don’t make it into this series. During my recent trip to California for the biggest 24 Hours of LeMons race in history, I stopped at one of my favorite East Bay wrecking yards and found this utterly rust-free example of one of the few bright spots of the Malaise Era.

Somebody has grabbed the complete dash, but the no-doubt-Quaalude-saturated driver’s seat is still present.

The 12A engine made just 100 horsepower in ’79, but that was pretty serious stuff at the time (keep in mind that the most powerful engine you could get in the ’79 Corvette made just 225 horsepower, and that the RX-7 of this period weighed less than 2,500 pounds). Sure, your grandma’s 11-year-old four-cylinder Camry will beat a ’79 RX-7 in a drag race, but the Malaise Era had different standards for cars.

You don’t often see gas struts on junkyard cars that still work— someone will buy these for sure!

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  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Sep 20, 2013

    There's a nice blue '81 I've been seeing posted for sale in my region: http://saskatchewan.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehicles-cars-trucks-1981-Mazda-RX-7-Coupe-W0QQAdIdZ523991839 The blue is a bit lighter though. The interior is worn, but the exterior looks to be in great condition.

  • Wispons Wispons on Feb 12, 2016

    The 79's are pretty common where I live. But the majority of them in other places are usually in the junk yard. My brother bought one of these lightly used in 1986. I remember when the he got tired of the base engine it had and installed a rotary version it was pretty good. Great memories brought back except the blue wasn't really like this picture it was dark kind of and it looked a bit after market.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys for that money, it had better be built by people listening to ABBA
  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?