2020 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1977 Mazda RX3 SP Coupe (LHD)
|Engine||1146cc 13B rotary|
|Gearbox||Five speed manual|
|Wheels||Steel with trim rings|
This lot is no longer available
The Mazda RX-3 (Savanna in Japan) was produced by Toyo Kogyo between 1971 and 1978. For the original 1971 version, Mazda fitted its 10A rotary engine to create a separately marketed product line sold in coupé, sedan, and station wagon guises. Shortly after its release, Mazda came up with a new process called Transplant Coating Process (TCP) which utilised sprayed-on steel to coat the notorious fast-wearing engine rotor tips with chrome, which greatly increased engine life. All Mazdas then had their die-cast rotor housings coated with this new process. The rotary engine had financial advantages to Japanese consumers because the smaller engine displacement (below 1.5 litres) meant significantly reduced annual road tax, at the same time delivering more power than the traditional in-line engines. The RX3 range’s rotary engine was upgraded to the larger 12A rotary in the GT model introduced in September 1972, and eventually this became the standard engine across the entire model range. The RX3 SP was originally a US-only model designed to stimulate interest in the Mazda Coupe late in its model life, and trim and driveline upgrades as well as taillights derived from the Australian 808 model. The SP’s rather gawdy (optional) stripe kit, as seen on the example on sale here, was designed in California and applied at the point of entry. Around 4000 SPs are thought to have been produced across all years, with a further 1000 variants also manufactured for the Japanese domestic market. Attractive and practical, the RX3 coupe was the hero of the Australian range and became a staple in Touring Car racing here at the time. Ultimately, the popular RX3 coupé accounted for over half the total RX3 sales worldwide.