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 bought an '81 RX7 GSL back in the day and I thought the article was interesting, but there were some errors. The problems with the early rotary engines was in the metallurgy of the rotary chambers and not, as stated, in the apex seals. The crappy metallurgy allowed the chambers to pit and that is what caused the failure of the apex seals. Mazda had solved that problem by the introduction of the RX7 in 1979. My '81 had a 50,000 mile warranty on the engine; Mazda’s effort to convince buyers that it was a dependable power plant. I drove the car for 109K miles, changing the Castrol GTX 20W-50 racing oil faithfully. When I sold it private party it was running as strong as the day I bought it. My only issues were with the power window switches, which were made of plastic and were in the center console. They would regularly get disfigured from the heat coming through the moon roof that I added to the car, and would stop working. Easy change, so I carried an extra switch. Also the top edges of the door cards were cheap and turned black and brittle (my car was Torodado gray with burgundy interior). I eventually had the car interior recovered in a heavy duty burgundy vinyl. I went through one clutch and that was about the extent of the mechanical issues with the car. BTW, here in sunny CA you almost never see a first gen RX7 on the road.