Mazda Capella/ RX-2: Rotary power transforms an ordinary car

01 May 2017

It was early 1976. I had never given the Mazda Capella RE much thought, didn't even know it was called 'RX-2'. And then my best friend rocked up in a red coupe with a new engine. The timing was interesting because I had just bought myself a nice lemony yellow Fiat 125. We'd paid similar money. The fact that the Mazda had a new engine served to confirm my idea that the rotary engine was unreliable and short-lived. I was in those days a complete Euro car snob.

This period orange suited the RX-2 coupe to a tee.

Alongside the understated Fiat the Mazda looked to me sort of, well, brash. Both cars had cost roughly the same, some $2500, at a time when a new HJ Holden 202 automatic was almost $5000. Bargains, both. But surely my car was superior?