Now that she’s out in the open, I’ll come clean – I’ve been spending a lot of time working on car projects so I’d be ready for the next big project – a baby! Since she’s doing well, I’m celebrating by writing a quick post on my favorite subject: cars! I was poking around eBay and couldn’t find anything really compelling. Finally thought I’d write about a first-gen RX-7, but then I stumbled upon this, and how could I resist: a funky Euro-looking sedan with a funky Euro-invented engine, built in Japan, and sold in the US.
There’s something of the Opel Manta, Dino Spider/206/246, and maybe something else Italian in this car. Or am I thinking of the Mazda Luce from the late 60s? Either way, this is a handsome little sedan, and the taillights hint at its sporting engine. It’s currently available on eBay in lovely Whittier, CA with a Buy-it-Now price of $2998, or an opening bid of $2499 if you’re feeling luck, punk.
See? Not so bad looking. A little dent here, a little scratch there, but overall a fairly tidy car. The warts will only show up if you try having your body guy smooth out everything to put a clean coat of paint on it. Not that you should do that with this car before accomplishing several other things.
Not sure I get the point of the roof rack and period cooler – with the rotary fighting a primitive automatic transmission, you need to minimize the wind resistance and weight as much as possible. Definitely need to get rid of the Toyota Corona hubcap on the right rear wheel and replace it with a correct hubcap. Or replace all 4 wheels with later Mazda alloys, retro Japanese wheels, or maybe even a set of minilites to give it a bit more of an agressive stance, and counteract the gold/rust finish.
Check out that 7000rpm redline, and the sports steering wheel. My gut feel is to ask why the guy who rescued this car by dropping in an engine from a first-gen RX-7 couldn’t also have included the (ostensibly manual) transmission in that job. On the other hand, I’d be curious to try how well the rotary collaborates with an automatic. Not like they have a lot of low-end torque, but they’ve got decent power and rev forever, so maybe it would work? Seats, especially the driver’s, are pretty split up. What are the odds of getting some correct material for this? Probably small…
Finally, the dirty bits. Seller has installed a newer engine, and things look pretty clean here. Apparently it’s got some cooling issues, which are being blamed on an old radiator. With any luck, a flush should do it, or you could put the old tanks on a new core. With some more work to enhance reliability, this could be a great, sporty alternative among the rallying set to a 2002 or Alfa Berlina.