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Weekend Edition Quick Hit – This is a 1973 Mazda RX-3 Wagon ready to be “Reborn”…

Jim Brennan August 30, 2014 For Sale, Weekend Edition 18 Comments

1973 Mazda Rx3 Wagon. Garage Find!! Stored Since 1997. Must See! - Google Chrome 8302014 104537 AM.bmp

Southern California is a wonderful place that seems to have all kinds of treasures hidden within storage bins and garages. This is a 1973 Mazda RX-3 Wagon that has been in storage for quite a while, but it is not currently running. So, the question of the weekend is this: Is a Rotary Powered Mazda Wagon worth the trouble of getting back on the road for future generations to enjoy, and at what cost?


1973 Mazda Rx3 Wagon. Garage Find!! Stored Since 1997. Must See! - Google Chrome 8302014 104532 AM.bmp

According to the Craigslist Listing:

Just Pulled From A Garage After Being Stored Since 1997! 1973 Mazda Rx3 Station Wagon ( Not Running) All Original, 99.9% Complete and Unmolested.. Factory 4spd, 12a from a 1st generation rx7 (previous owner did swap with son and never completed it).. Overall Body Very Straight! California Car it’s Whole Life (solid and dry).. Original Paint! Factory Red Carpet! Interior Complete but needs attention..

1973 Mazda Rx3 Wagon. Garage Find!! Stored Since 1997. Must See! - Google Chrome 8302014 104601 AM.bmp

All Moldings ,Trims and Badges Complete w/exception of one rx3 badge on passenger side quarter panel. pass side qrter panel did have minor work done from grocery store dent in the 80’s. 2 small rust spots on front windshield.
Clean Title. Current Registration.

1973 Mazda Rx3 Wagon. Garage Find!! Stored Since 1997. Must See! - Google Chrome 8302014 104638 AM.bmp

The asking price for this unusual wagon is $5,950, which I think is a lot in its current state, but maybe I’m off base here. The trim will be almost impossible to find today, and almost everything is there, so what do you think? See the , and tell me what you think about this rather rare wagon.

1973 Mazda Rx3 Wagon. Garage Find!! Stored Since 1997. Must See! - Google Chrome 8302014 104625 AM.bmp

  • Sjalabais

    Stiff price, but it looks really good on the outside. I'm always up for tiny diesels with lots of them Newtonmeters!

    • nigel mgb

      ( Rotary. Not a diesel. Had to hear it from someone… )

      • Sjalabais

        Yeah, originally, but as a swap I'd like to see a modern diesel in it. It was never intended to be a race car and a torquey modern unit would fit this car well. At least that's my 2 ct.

        • wunno sev

          what's a torque? is that something that comes with one of those piston engines?

          • NotJustDucky

            I think "a torque" is the Canadian term for 'a hat'.

            • Sjalabais

              You can't drive a Mazda wagon without your hat on. There are laws to follow, you know.

        • Giannibu

          Dropping in a diesel would ruin what is fun about this car. Drop in a 13b so it sounds like this:

  • MrDPR

    I owned one of these, in bright yellow w/ white interior, in 1976-7 while stationed at Ft Hood. Damn thing was a little bullet. Engine block about the size of a 12 v battery, 2 distributors, 3 sets of points, 4 very unique spark plugs & a 4bbl. Lasted me about a year, I drove it pretty hard. One little trick I discovered was to rev it repeatedly & then quickly shut it down & walk away. The resulting blast 8-15 seconds later from the exhaust was worth more than a few laughs. While it was being serviced at the dealer, they informed me that the seals on the ends of the rotor were worn & the whole block would need to be replaced soon. The next day I traded it for a 1976 VW Micorbus – the first US model with a new 2.0L motor – and drove it for several years. Never will forget that screaming-yellow-zonker RX-3 wagon. It was tons of fun while it lasted.

    • dukeisduke

      Could the rev-then-shut down trick have hastened the demise of the apex seals?

      • Steve C

        No , the unburnt fuel was already outside , past the engine combustion chambers and in the emission control thermal reactor when it “burned”.

  • stigshift

    My neighbors across the street bought a white '73 4 door. I remember as a 9 year old gearhead being amazed at how fast it was! Hell of a lot faster and smoother than our '67 VW Fastback…

  • Rover_1

    Keep it Rotary.

    With Turbo

    <img src=";

    But don't forget to stock up on these…

    <img src="; width="500">

  • CJinSD

    The rusted out A-pillar is scary. That's a tough repair, but a crucial one. No good can come from driving a car without an A-pillar, and I don't just mean the inevitable water damage to the interior, floor, and wiring. As an incomplete project in need of a surgeon with a welder, I'd say the price is between 4 and 10 times its worth. That's a shame, because it would be a cool car to save.

  • boxdin

    Those backfires were loud and often, I had forgotten until I read this. Funny !

  • dukeisduke

    I always thought their moving the front door unlock buttons forward was a great idea.

  • dukeisduke

    If you can shoehorn it in, you could swap in a used 20B twin-turbo three-rotor, for $4500 to $5000:

  • Steve C

    Those “backfires” was actually the thermal reactor burning off unburnt fuel , for emission control purposes. My ’73 RX3 red wagon would do that if you let off the gas fast for a turn and scare people at bus stops – a real riot !

  • Steve C

    My ’73 RX3 original engine lasted about 55K miles – engine block “O” ring seals leaked oil into antifreeze chambers , 2nd engine ( rebuilt ) about 15K miles and engine block seals leaked exhaust into antifreeze chambers , 3rd engine ( rebuilt ) about 3K , jammed & locked up on expressway , 4th engine ( rebuilt ) – ? at 76K I sold it while it was still running ! ( all the rebuilt engines came from Mazda )

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