• Three ‘no reserve’ Australian-delivered RX-7s
• Rare opportunity to purchase sequential Series I, II, III models
• Increasingly sought-after Japanese classics with generational collectability
A trio of increasingly collectible Mazda RX-7 rotary-engined sports cars will be crossing the block at Shannons upcoming May 8 Melbourne Autumn Auction.
The Australian-delivered Series I, Series II and Series III coupes all come from the same local Mazda collection and represent the first time that a sequential trio of early RX-7s has been offered for auction in Australia.
Even more appealing for local and International collectors, all three RX-7s are fitted with manual transmissions, they are presented in largely original condition and all will be offered with ‘no reserve’.
Introduced in 1978 as a successor to the rotary-engined Mazda Cosmo ‘halo model’, the RX7 represented the Japanese manufacturer’s first volume production application of the revolutionary Felix Wankel’ rotary engine.
Unusually, the RX-7’s1146cc, twin-rotor 12A Wankel engine was mounted slightly behind the front axle, a configuration marketed by Mazda as ‘front mid-engined’.
The RX-7 was intended to compete with the likes of Porsche's 924 and the Nissan 260Z and 280Z. Contemporary road tests compared the RX-7 more than favourably with its rivals, commenting on its excellent handling and roadholding and the outstanding performance afforded by its twin-rotor engine.
It was also seen as very stylish, with its aerodynamic body featured fashionable pop-up headlamps, 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, four-wheel disc brakes and an uprated engine, while the Series III (1984–1985) 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 believed low-kilometre, three-owner car that was sold new by Hotham Motors in Traralgon, Victoria, but has spent most of the past 10-12 years in storage.
The metallic blue Series II RX-7 is a one-owner, unmodified Melbourne car with original books, while the yellow Series III coupe is a low-kilometre 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 air conditioning.
Shannons National Auction Manager Christophe Boribon said it was very rare today to find three substantially-unmolested early RX-7s with their correct wheels, trim and anti-pollution gear still intact.
“Because RX-7s have always had strong appeal to younger enthusiasts, they are often modified and can pass through many hands. This is the first time we have seen a collection like this come to auction.”
Adding to its sporting appeal, the RX-7 acquitted itself well in motor racing around the world with four-time Bathurst winner Allan Moffat campaigning a series of RX-7 models in the Australian Touring Car Championship, famously winning the National title against the might of V8-engined rivals in 1983.
Further vindication of the rotary as a serious rival for conventional engines occurred in 1991, when the Mazda 787-B sports car claiming outright victory in the Le Mans 24-Hour race,
Shannons expect the three RX-7s to appeal to Japanese and/or Mazda car collectors and are predicting that the Series I model will sell in the $20,000-$26,000 range, with the Series II and Series III models each commanding around $14,000-$18,000.