Junkyard Find: 1983 Mazda RX-7

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

First-generation RX-7s aren’t as common in self-service wrecking yards as they were five years ago, but it’s not hard to find a couple in a typical large yard in the Los Angeles or San Francisco areas. Most of the time I don’t photograph these cars, but we’ve seen this ’79, this ’79, this ’80, and this ’85 so far in this series, and now we’ve got today’s beat-looking but low-mile ’83 from Northern California.

Do you suppose this is the actual mileage, or did the speedometer cable break in 1991? It seems unlikely that the car has 1,068,798.3 miles on it.

While California’s tailpipe-emission limits in 1983 seemed incredibly strict by the standards of the other 49 states in 1983, these grams-per-mile numbers are filthy compared to current standards. For example: in 1983, your new California car could spew 0.7 grams of nitrogen oxides per mile; in 2015, the limit is 0.05 grams/mile.

I hope these “GS” emblems weren’t applied by Mazda. At least it has the beautiful rotareeeee.

The more you look, the more you like!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Qwerty100 Qwerty100 on Apr 28, 2015

    I learned to drive, and drive stick, on my father's new 1979. Good memories. The clutch was quite easy in its operation. The other thing that impressed me was how smooth revving the engine was at high RPM's, not at all like a conventional one. It was my father's pride and joy. He was quite relaxed as an instructor, but became perturbed only once, when I had driven many miles with the emergency brake on. "Check your instruments," he yelled. But he was totally cool with all the wear I put on his clutch learning first gear. His evil second wife took it in his divorce in the early 1980's, leaving him her old 280z, so all the RX7's virtues and problems went to her. B**ch.

  • Sat7 Sat7 on May 19, 2015

    I worked as a line technician on Mazda in the late 70's A truck load would arrive and during the pre-delivery inspection a road test was called for. All the rotary engines ran a little different from one another depending on manufacturing tolerance. The tighter the "seal" the stronger the car ran. The Wankel design is an outstanding design unfortunately very expensive to repair. This is why Mazda required any compression problem to get an engine swap and the core shipped back for diagnosis. Great company with customer service close at heart. Nothing rev's like a good Wankel... screamers. They would still be in the U.S. except for emissions and cost... .

  • Jalop1991 What is this "dealer" thing Ford speaks of?
  • Picard234 So this release amounts to 2.7 hours of gasoline consumption in the US. You won't even see a penny. The administration is draining the reserves for political optics, nothing more.
  • ToolGuy If that nice young man really wants to help this hardworking American, he can have his people deliver the gasoline directly to my fuel tank. Thanks in advance.[42 million gallons divided by 233 million licensed drivers in the U.S. makes 'my' share almost two 12-ounce soda cans. This is huge, thanks for the effort lol.]
  • The Oracle Farley proves once again he is WAY in over his head.
  • Theflyersfan Gas prices went up $1.00/gal today at the three stations I just passed to get home. Was there a war? No? Could it be oil company greed? Perhaps.