Weekend Courier - - Driveway -

THEY'VE be­come hard to find these days, but three col­lectible Mazda RX-7 ro­tary-en­gined sports coupes will be up for grabs at Shan­nons’ May 8 Mel­bourne Au­tumn Auc­tion.

The Aus­tralian-de­liv­ered Se­ries I, Se­ries II and Se­ries III coupes rep­re­sent the first time that a se­quen­tial trio of early RX-7s has been of­fered for auc­tion in Aus­tralia.

Even more ap­peal­ing for col­lec­tors is that all three RX-7s have man­ual trans­mis­sions, are pre­sented in largely orig­i­nal con­di­tion and all will be of­fered with no re­serve.

In­tro­duced in 1978, the RX-7 rep­re­sented the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer's first vol­ume pro­duc­tion ap­pli­ca­tion of the rev­o­lu­tion­ary Felix Wankel ro­tary en­gine.

They had 1146cc, twin-ro­tor 12A mo­tors that gave them ex­tra­or­di­nary per­for­mance for such a small ca­pac­ity and they com­peted suc­cess­fully against cars such as Porsche’s 924 and the Nis­san 260Z. Their aero­dy­namic bod­ies fea­tured fash­ion­able pop-up head­light, a glass lift-up rear win­dow and 2+2 seat­ing, while the in­te­rior was well equipped and trimmed in velour.

The Se­ries II RX7 mod­els, made from 1981-83, fea­tured big­ger bumpers, larger wrap-around tail lights, prom­i­nent waist­line pro­tec­tive strips, new al­loy wheels, four­wheel disc brakes and an up­rated en­gine, while the Se­ries III (19841985) had an up­dated lower front fas­cia and fea­tured big­ger brakes, stiffer sus­pen­sion and dis­tinc­tive new al­loy wheels.

The sil­ver 'small bumper' Se­ries I be­ing auc­tioned is a low-kilo­me­tre, three-owner car that spent most of the past 12 years in stor­age.

The metal­lic blue Se­ries II RX-7 is a one-owner, un­mod­i­fied car with orig­i­nal books, while the yel­low Se­ries III coupe is a lowk­ilo­me­tre car made even rarer by not hav­ing a fac­tory sun­roof.

All sit on their orig­i­nal and dis­tinc­tive fac­tory al­loy wheels, have ex­cel­lent in­te­ri­ors and, un­usu­ally, each is fit­ted with air­con­di­tion­ing.

Adding to its sport­ing ap­peal, the RX-7 ac­quit­ted it­self well in mo­tor rac­ing around the world, with Allan Mof­fat cam­paign­ing a se­ries of RX-7 mod­els in the Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship, fa­mously win­ning the Na­tional ti­tle against the might of V8en­gined ri­vals in 1983.

Shan­nons ex­pect the Se­ries I model to sell in the $20,000$26,000 range, with the Se­ries II and Se­ries III mod­els each com­mand­ing around $14,000$18,000.

This Se­ries 1 RX-7 is ex­pected to fetch about $25,000 on auc­tion.

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