Keith’s Blog: Why I Didn’t Buy an RX-7

There was a first-gen Mazda RX-7 on Bring A Trailer recently. It had only 16,000 miles, a rare automatic transmission — and was located fewer than 15 miles from SCM World Headquarters in Portland, OR.

I’ve always been attracted to these cars. Their lines are period-interesting, and the rotary engine is intriguing.

It sold for $9,500.

As much as I wanted to bid, buy and drive it home, voices of reason in the SCM offices prevailed.

First of all, it was a two-seat sports coupe, and we have plenty of those.

Second — and even more compelling — was that RX-7 enthusiasts care much more about the third-gen car, especially the models without a sunroof — but do have a Zagato-like double-bubble roof.

SCM staffers asked me exactly what my plans were for the car, aside from a couple of cars and coffees and cruise-ins.

The car is too new for most tours, and the Mazda club isn’t known for a lot of driving activities.

So I didn’t pull the trigger. But I watched up until the very last second.

With limited garage space, I need better reasons to buy a car than “I don’t own one, it is cheap and it is close.”

I’ve asked Brian Baker, SCM IT manager and staff expert on Japanese cars, to keep his eye out for a third-gen RX7 with an automatic. I know the right one is out there.

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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3 comments

  1. Well, I was super interested in your comment, as I was the actual buyer of the car.. 🙂 Our motivations were a little different.. This was one of the few new cars I wanted in High School.. and have been looking for years.. I’ll drive it 45 min to work, so Automatic is perfect.. No worries, I’ll likely put a couple hundred miles on it per year. If you are in Houston, I’ll be happy to share. – CandyMan Jim

  2. Your Mazda comments reminded me of my late father-in-law. He was quite a character, retired career air force who started flying in 1933. When I first met my wife to be the family fleet consisted of 4 vws. Shortly thereafter he became interested in Mazdas and rotary engines. He owned the first Mazda to be licensed in Illinois and had a difficult time getting it titled as they based the licensing on engine displacement and couldn’t believe it only had 11 cubic inches. His last Mazda was a ’79 Fly yellow RX7. He was a believer in Italian tune-ups and was stopped by an Illinois Trooper for driving 80 mph. He said the trooper lectured him about driving that fast at his age. He told me it was a good thing the trooper hadn’t stopped him a mile or so before as he was doing 110. Glad your recovery is progressing.

  3. I was a first owner of a 1982 RX-7 GS first-gen for 28 1/2 years and drove 118,550 miles on it mostly with a smile. I had a lot of positive comments while I owned her. Two years later, I bought my first Corvette.

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