Rotary Relic: 1978 Mazda RX4 Wagon – Sold?

by | Jul 2021 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

August 17, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Mention Rotary (Wankel) engines to most knowledgeable car enthusiasts and they will immediately gravitate to the Mazda’s successful RX-7 sports car.  Prior to that sports car, however, Mazda marketed a number of rotary-powered cars throughout the 1970s.  One rare-in-the-US example is this 1978 RX4 Wagon we came across originally listed in July 2021 on Craigslist in Islip, New York. Reported to be a solid but non-running example, the current caretaker has it listed for $7,000. Unfortunately, these cars are so rare that our normal price guides do not list value estimates for them. Not even a check of Bring a Trailer netted any examples for price comparisons, so we have no basis to compare this project car to.

The RX-4 was Mazda’s largest car line the company made initially available as either a two-door hardtop or four-door sedan, followed by the launch of a station wagon launched in 1973. For 1974, Mazda replaced the original 12A engine with its new larger “AP” (short for “anti-pollution”) version.  The car used a strut-type independent front suspension with a solid axle in the rear. Front disc brakes and rear drums were standard equipment.

Mazda sold the RX-4 in the U.S. from 1974 through 1978, when its RX-7 sports car debuted. In U.S. trim, the 13B produced 110 horsepower and 117 foot-pounds of torque. Base pricing was $4,295, with the automatic transmission ($270) and air conditioning ($395) the only expensive options.

Road & Track magazine writers were fans of the RX-4 and even had it listed on their annual Ten Best list for “Best Sports Sedan, $3500-6500” in 1975.

The best thing going for this RX-4 is what appears to be a very rust-free body.  A knowledgeable Mazda RX-7 enthusiast could likely swap in an RX-7 powertrain, reupholster the interior, and then have themselves a rare and thirsty rotary-power grocery getter.

Here’s the seller’s brief description:

“It’s not running needs restoration 95% rust-free

Do you have a Mazda RX4 story?  If so, comment below and let us know!

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