Savanna RX-3: The Mazda that Saved the Rotary
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Savanna RX-3: The Mazda that Saved the Rotary

By JoeKenwright - 08 August 2013
The first RX-3 Coupe with its 10A rotary was a more stable platform for this engine than the R100 it replaced thanks to a much wider track. It was exquisitely finished and quite accessible in Australia despite attracting full duty as an import. (Image from Wikimedia commons)

As global manufacturers jettisoned their rotary engine programs, it was the Mazda RX-3 launched in 1972 that showed it could survive fuel consumption and emissions hurdles. It was a close call then, and no less so today, as the RX-8 has succumbed to the same challenges with no news of a rotary replacement.

The rotary sucked the life out of Mazda’s piston engine programs. If the desperate, last-minute repackaging of the ageing 1300 mechanicals as the first 323 hatchback had not found buyers, it was curtains for Mazda and the rotary.