Rotary Relic: 1977 Mazda Cosmo Fastback Project – SOLD!

by | Sep 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

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September 25, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “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.

September 7, 2022 Update – The seller just replaced the expiring Craigslist ad with a fresh listing.  Oddly, after lowering their asking price to $3,300 one week earlier, the seller posted the new ad with the previous ask of $4,200. We will keep an eye out for where pricing goes on this rare Malaise Era rotary-powered coupe.

September 1, 2022 Update – The seller just lowered their asking price again by another nine hundred dollars to land at the current ask of $3,300 for their slightly rusty but rare rotary-powered Mazda in need of an engine rebuild and rewiring.

August 23, 2022 Update – The private seller just replaced their expiring Craigslist ad with a fresh listing.  While the pictures and description remain the same, the seller reduced their asking price from $4,800 to $4,200.

Mazda was the only automobile manufacturer to market Wankel-powered cars across multiple models with varied success.  Despite their smooth power delivery, the Wankel engine’s rotor design tended to wear its seals too quickly. This, combined with lousy gas mileage, made Mazda’s pre-RX-7 offerings a tough sell.  This 1977 Mazda Cosmo Fastback, once listed in July 2022 on Craigslist in Alpine, Oregon (Eugene), is a prime example as, on paper, it is a low mileage barn find with only 50,202 original miles.  Unfortunately, as with most Wankel-powered Mazdas of the period, the seller reports their Cosmo needs an engine rebuild.  This, combined with some rodent-damaged wiring, makes this 1977 Mazda Cosmo a challenging restoration candidate.

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #4 “Fair” estimate of $3,250 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $6,650.

Across four generations spanning 1967 to 1995, the Mazda Cosmo was the Japanese automaker’s halo car featuring the Wankel Rotary engine.  Mazda chose to use the name “cosmo”, reflecting an international cultural fascination with the Space Race. Mazda wanted to showcase the rotary engine as forward-thinking, focusing on future developments and technology.  The second generation CD Cosmo appeared in 1975 and lasted until 1981. It was known as the Cosmo AP (Anti-Pollution) in Japan and sold internationally as the Mazda RX-5, though in some export markets, its piston-powered counterpart was called the Mazda 121 (a name later applied to Mazda’s subcompact model)

Mazda America used the Mazda Cosmo name and offered it from 1976 through 1978, after which the Mazda RX-7 replaced the Cosmo as their rotary-powered sports coupe. Mazda positioned CD Cosmo/RX-5 as a personal luxury car.   Due to its poor sales as an export, the Series II version, built from 1979, was not exported and remained a Japanese domestic sale only.

The Cosmo was Mazda’s largest rotary-powered coupe, based on the LA series Mazda Luce floor pan and mechanics, but slightly heavier due to body design and more luxurious appointments, including a five-link rear suspension and rear disc brakes. It was available with the 12A and 13B engines.

The MyCub YouTube Channel features this home market ad for a 1977 Mazda Cosmo AP:

While this 1977 Mazda Cosmo appears to be complete and mostly rust-free, this project car needs rewiring and restoration of what might be hard-to-source replacement parts.  Additionally, restoring the interior will require a change from the original materials as they are very likely no longer available.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“13B Rotary engine coupe.
This car was running well for a long time.
Small animals broke the wiring while not taking the car due to health reasons.
Wiring is not complicated, but my strength and passion are lost, and I will sell this car.
Need O/H engine, burning oil.
Original paint.
Bring Trailer.
Sat over 20 years in a barn.
Title in hand.
It seems driver-side door linkage is out.
All lenses are perfect.
☆Please just reply by E-MAIL to set up a time to meet.

Restore or Restomod: What would you do with this 1977 Mazda Cosmo?  Please comment below and let us know!


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