RR of the Day: 1983 Mazda RX-7 GSL

Ah, the RX-7. The first generation, it could be argued, are the best. They were inexpensive, sharp looking, sharper driving and durable. They burst on the scene looking a little like a cross between the Porsche 930 slantnose and the 924 greenhouse and rear end. Flickr member TacitBlue discovered the ersatz-Porsche goodness and affordable thrills of this 1983 RX-7 GSL and realized that it ticked every box on his "perfect car" list. Once he nabbed it, he did the right thing and went right to taking it apart.

Read on for the full story, a list of modifications and more pictures after the jump.

If you'd like to see your own ride featured here, simply upload photos of your ride into our Flickr group. Next week's theme is forced induction, so be sure to add your own unnaturally aspirated whip to the group. Detailed instructions can be found after the jump.

The first generation RX-7 is a great starting point for a really fun car. They're not hyper-powereful right out of the box, but they handle like demons. That handling prowess is due to the little beer keg of an engine, the 12A Rotary, being extremely light and located behind the front axle, providing a 50/50 weight distribution. The rest of the chassis was filled with good stuff, too, like a Watt's link out back and a curb weight of just over 2500 pounds, these cars tended toward the Lotus "Add Lightness" ethos. The Rotary (or Wankel, after Felix Wankel) engine was so smooth, you could easily rev it out to 9 or even 10,000 RPM – so the world's loudest buzzer was fitted to the tachometer of these cars. The 100 horsepower doesn't sound like much now, in these power-drunk days, but back in '78 when the RX-7 bowed, it endowed these cars with respectable performance for the day. If that's not enough for you, there's plenty of enthusiast support, and one of the quickest, easiest routes to power (and one that helped the RX-7 rack up more IMSA racing victories than any other car), is porting and bridging the intakes. This involves opening up the intake port in the rotor housing, allowing the rotor to take larger gulps, and tacking a little bridge across the port so the rotor's apex seal doesn't come flying out. This practice can nearly double the output of the little Wankel, and that's before you start playing around with forced induction.

Using the car as part of an automotive course curriculum, TacitBlue made some modifications, learned a lot about rust abatement and how to start fires with MIG welders. All his hard work has paid off, as he's got a nice-looking ride that's capable on the track as well. Not content to leave the GSL alone, he's fitted an RX-4 oil cooler, changed the carburetor, opened up the exhaust (at the expense of his hearing, no less) and made some chassis tweaks. Altogether, it looks like TacitBlue enjoyed his learning experience and he's apparently been taking the fruits of his labor out to autocross, which is far better than being sent to the glue factory. These are cars worth getting fired up over.


  • Mikuni 44PHH Side draft Carburetor
  • Mazda Wrap Around Intake Manifold
  • RX-4 Oil Cooler
  • Racing Beat Header
  • 2 ¼" exhaust w/Racing Beat Resonator, stock muffler
  • Carter 72GPH Fuel Pump
  • Holley FPR
  • Emissions Removal
  • A/C Removal
  • Engine Torque Brace
  • Racing Beat Springs
  • Tokico Blue Shocks
  • 195/60/R13 Sumitomo HTR200

How to submit to RR of the Day:

Create a
Flickr account if you don't already have one. Search for and join the group called 'Autoblog RR of the Day'. Upload up to three photos of your ride to your own account at a size no larger than 450 pixels wide if possible and include as much information about it and yourself as possible. Even if your ride is sweet, it will not be chosen if there's not a lot of info accompanying it. Click on each photo and just above the picture it will say "Send to group". Click that and select the Autoblog group. You're done, that's it!

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