Junkyard Find: 1983 Mazda RX-7

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1983 mazda rx 7

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!

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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... .

  • MrIcky Out of the possible Jeep recalls to bring up on this site, I'm surprised it's this one and not round 2 of the clutch recall.
  • Dukeisduke I saw a well-preserved Mark VII LSC on the road not too long ago, and I had to do a double-take. They still have a presence. Back when these were new, a cousin of mine owned an LSC with the BMW turbo diesel.
  • Dukeisduke I imagine that stud was added during the design process for something, and someone further along the process forgot to delete it after it became unnecessary.
  • Analoggrotto Knew about it all along but only now did the risk analysis tilt against leaving it there.
  • Mike Beranek Funny story about the '80 T-bird. My old man's Dart Sport had given up the ghost so he was car-shopping. He & I dropped my mom at a store and then went to the Ford dealer, where we test-drove the new T-Bird (with digital dash!)So we pull up to the store to pick mom up. She walks out and dad says "We just bought it.". Mom stares at the Mulroney- almost 13 grand- and just about fell over.Dad had not in fact bought the T-Bird, instead he got a Cordoba for only 9 grand.