Mazda RX-7 History and Values


Mention Mazda, and most people immediately recall the million-selling Miata MX-5 roadster, built for the last 26 years. But the company hit a home-run 20 years earlier with the rotary engine RX-7, greatly improving on Felix Wankel’s design. It was so successful that the four-rotor Mazda 787B won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991—the only Japanese car company to do so.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/06/02/mazda-rx-7-values.


I had a 1981 RX7 GSL coupe from 1982 to 1997. The car had 15K miles on the clock when I bought it used from a Mazda dealer. I had been regaled with all the war stories about the poor apex seals and had the car thoroughly examined by an independent mechanic prior to purchase. The apex seal problem was actually a metallurgy problem with the rotor chambers. The combustion chamber would pit and erode on earlier versions of the Mazda rotaries and that would tear up the apex seals. By the time my '81 was built they had solved the metallurgy problem and were offering a 50,000 mile warranty on the engine, which was an unheard of duration at the time. I sold the RX7 15 years later with 110,000 miles on the clock and still running fine. I had regularly changed the Castrol GTX 20W-50 oil over those fifteen years. The little rotary’s performance was similar to the 240Z that I had owned a decade earlier.


Totally agree @ragtop69
Bought an 81 ‘S’ model brand new. The only issue I remember is the car not wanting to start below about 15 or 20 degrees F. Big carb, long combustion chamber surface and frosted plugs. But dead reliable otherwise. And it was faster and handled as good or better than the 924, 280zx and pretty much anything else in its class. The rotary was, and is, a different animal. But like chain-smokers wearing radioactive underwear asking ME if I was afraid of cancer, I remember guys asking if I was afraid the engine might blow up…as they walked back to their British or Italian sports cars. :wink:


Purchased an '88 RX7 new from Continental Motors in Anchorage, AK. It was a summer car for several years until we moved to Indiana and eventually Florida. The car was driven every mile from Anchorage to Daytona Beach, including the Alaska Highway. Sold the car in 2016 for $6,500. It had just turned 55K miles. Normal maintenance, brakes, shocks/struts were the only repairs. Only problem we ever had was a hungry mouse in Indiana decided that the wire for the low water level alarm was his treat. Took me two days to find where the little rascal had chewed through it! Car ran like a champ and never failed to start in any weather. My issue with the car was that it did not have AC - hey, who needs it in Alaska? First week we had it I had to drive to Homer, AK. When I came out of the mountains into the Kenai Burn the speedo showed 130. Car was quiet and smooth - never was sure if the speedo was accurate but it made for a good barroom tale! Only reason for parting with the car was the lack of AC and space issues. The wife’s TR6 takes up the third garage stall. The guy who bought it laid out the cash and put it on the trailer - no questions, no test drive. One look and it was his!


I had an 86 GXL for about a year in my youth. Traded a perfectly good Honda Civic for it. Ended up blowing the coolant seals, but was a riot the whole way through. Surprisingly good in the snow through a Northern Michigan winter as well.IMG_20170404_222013_575|690x388