My new 1979 Rx7 GS - RX7Club.com - Mazda RX7 Forum

1st Generation Specific (1979-1985) 1979-1985 Discussion including performance modifications and technical support sections

My new 1979 Rx7 GS

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Old 09-27-15, 03:55 PM
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My new 1979 Rx7 GS

I ‘grew up’ in the sports car world driving a 1980 Rx-7 followed by a 1984 and then a 1988 and most recently my 1995 Formula Mazda which is powered by the 13B rotary engine.

My 1980 was a particularly special car to me. I did a lot of work on that car including weber side drafts, headers, rear drum to disc conversion, and racing suspension. That car also had black rear window louvers, sheepskin seat covers, black wheels and a low black rubber front air dam. Yes, it was the early 1980s and I was in love. I have such great memories of that car including doing about 8 days of DE with COM at Bryar (now NHMS) and Limerock in the early 1980s. It was my first track car!

As the car had a removable sunroof it had to be removed before going on track. One of my memories of this car was running over my own sunroof in the dirt paddock at Bryar. That bent sunroof then became a coffee table.

So why am I talking about all of this history? I decided a while ago that I would like to find a car identical to the one I owned. My original car got wrapped around a tree by the kid I sold it to about 1 week after selling it. I remember that bummed me out. I’ve been looking on line for some time and finally came across a 1979 Rx7 (the first year of production) which is just like mine. My car was a 1980 red GS with factory A/C and sunroof and this 1979 car is just that.

I found the car on EBay and had the car shipped from Nebraska. It has 68k on the odometer and is in excellent condition inside and out! Unfortunately the shipping company was HORRIBLE. They lost the sunroof and transported the car with an open roof with tore the headliner in the car. Fortunately, there was no rain and the rest of the interior was spared from their incompetence.

Through the miracle of EBay (and Rx7club Stu!!!), I managed to find a vintage glass sunroof in flawless condition. The symmetry of the situation to my destroying my own sunroof on my 1980 is interesting!

I unloaded the car from my trailer today and I just love sitting in it. It started right up but a hot restart is being problematic. There is an inspection sticker on the car from 1982 and I think this car sat in a garage for a lonnnng time.

I think it will need some loving but this car is going to be a keeper. WooHoo.

As you can tell, I'm very excited to get back to my rotary roots. Be prepared for me to ask countless questions.
















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Old 09-27-15, 06:50 PM
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well done. the car looks beautiful and appears to have been well treated. would love a '79 someday, myself.

on a sidenote, you seem to have a pretty sweet stable. very, VERY nice.
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Old 09-27-15, 07:11 PM
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GO BIG RED! (as a native Cornhusker and it being a Nebraska car - I couldn't resist)
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Old 09-28-15, 02:07 AM
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Great story on why you wanted to replace it. I still miss my 80LS, but the 84SE has filled its place. Here was the SA in its heyday:


A bunch of the parts on this car made their way to the 84SE over time, namely the rear spoiler. The rest is history, as I sold that car for $1 to a local kid who was more interested in restoring it than I was, and I needed the garage space. For a lot of us, the SA's and FB's were our joy riding cars when we were young enough to really enjoy them. Welcome aboard,
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Old 09-28-15, 06:15 AM
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Congrauts and welcome back! Car does look pretty clean, above average. Looks like an early build car too by the dash trim and lack of passanger side mirror. 1st yr SA's can kind of be grouped in 2-3 catergories. I class them as early, mid and late production 79s. The test and very early cars (built Feb-Jul 78) have some various minor differences in trim, details and parts. Mid production (built Aug -Dec 78) saw some updates and changes (hod prop rod location, A/C switch, door pannel design and the plaid seat interiors kind of faded away, being replaced by velour seat inserts as the upscale interior. Red dot seats were the base trim seat) Late production cars (built Jan-Jun 79) saw the all the cars comming with the passanger side door mirror, and the introduction / production of the 79 Limited.

I'm guessing your car falls in the mid production slot somewhere. The build month and year should be on the drivers door jam tag. SA parts are getting more scarce, but stock, steel roofs (and headliners) can still be found if you ever want to replace the one that was lost. You just need to be patient and dilligent.

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Old 09-28-15, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by diabolical1 View Post
well done. the car looks beautiful and appears to have been well treated. would love a '79 someday, myself.

on a sidenote, you seem to have a pretty sweet stable. very, VERY nice.
Thanks! I thought about cropping out the other cars so as not to take away from my 12A!!!
Originally Posted by wahootee View Post
GO BIG RED! (as a native Cornhusker and it being a Nebraska car - I couldn't resist)
Big Red works!

Originally Posted by LongDuck View Post
Great story on why you wanted to replace it. I still miss my 80LS, but the 84SE has filled its place. Here was the SA in its heyday:


A bunch of the parts on this car made their way to the 84SE over time, namely the rear spoiler. The rest is history, as I sold that car for $1 to a local kid who was more interested in restoring it than I was, and I needed the garage space. For a lot of us, the SA's and FB's were our joy riding cars when we were young enough to really enjoy them. Welcome aboard,
Thanks!
Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
Congrauts and welcome back! Car does look pretty clean, above average. Looks like an early build car too by the dash trim and lack of passanger side mirror. 1st yr SA's can kind of be grouped in 2-3 catergories. I class them as early, mid and late production 79s. The test and very early cars (built Feb-Jul 78) have some various minor differences in trim, details and parts. Mid production (built Aug -Dec 78) saw some updates and changes (hod prop rod location, A/C switch, door pannel design and the plaid seat interiors kind of faded away, being replaced by velour seat inserts as the upscale interior. Red dot seats were the base trim seat) Late production cars (built Jan-Jun 79) saw the all the cars comming with the passanger side door mirror, and the introduction / production of the 79 Limited.

I'm guessing your car falls in the mid production slot somewhere. The build month and year should be on the drivers door jam tag. SA parts are getting more scarce, but stock, steel roofs (and headliners) can still be found if you ever want to replace the one that was lost. You just need to be patient and dilligent.
Thank you. I'll check the door jam later today. I've been reading about the differences (mainly on this forum) of the 1979 cars. I don't have passenger mirror and the hood prop is on the passenger side. I also notice that the door panels have a diagonal pattern to them instead of smooth.

I'm going to get her registered today and then play around with getting it running.
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Old 09-28-15, 07:14 AM
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The car starts up when cold with the choke no problem but once it warms up it will barely hold idle or it stalls. There is also quite a backfire after revving the car. No significant smoke. Someone suggested the carb float may be stuck since the car sat for a while.

Any thoughts? I will try tapping on the carb with a hammer.
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Old 09-28-15, 07:15 AM
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That SA looks amazing!! It looks to have been well cared for over the years! Do you know any history on the car? The floor mats are a nice touch as well!! What's the story behind Meowzda?
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Old 09-28-15, 07:21 AM
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I would try a carb adjustment first off. The early cars have issues with the mixture screw's threads not holding particularly well and causing odd idle conditions. First thing I did when I got my 80 was a carb adjustment and it idles much better and starts easier.

The backfiring is normal due to the exhaust system with the thermal reactor and the trailing plug shutdown system under deceleration. In 1981, Mazda introduced the three way catalytic converter to the RX-7 and at the same time installed a shutter valve and coasting valve. The shutter valve cuts the fuel mixture to the rear rotor during decel, however the coasting valve permits fresh air into the rear rotor to prevent engine drag. These things eliminated the backfiring for the most part and allowed the 12A to be run at a leaner carb setting resulting in increased fuel economy and slightly less wear on the spark plugs, which were changed in 1981 as well.
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Old 09-28-15, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by mazdaverx713b View Post
That SA looks amazing!! It looks to have been well cared for over the years! Do you know any history on the car? The floor mats are a nice touch as well!! What's the story behind Meowzda?
Originally Posted by mazdaverx713b View Post
I would try a carb adjustment first off. The early cars have issues with the mixture screw's threads not holding particularly well and causing odd idle conditions. First thing I did when I got my 80 was a carb adjustment and it idles much better and starts easier.

The backfiring is normal due to the exhaust system with the thermal reactor and the trailing plug shutdown system under deceleration. In 1981, Mazda introduced the three way catalytic converter to the RX-7 and at the same time installed a shutter valve and coasting valve. The shutter valve cuts the fuel mixture to the rear rotor during decel, however the coasting valve permits fresh air into the rear rotor to prevent engine drag. These things eliminated the backfiring for the most part and allowed the 12A to be run at a leaner carb setting resulting in increased fuel economy and slightly less wear on the spark plugs, which were changed in 1981 as well.
THANKS. I just don't remember my 1980 popping like this with throttle off until after I put on headers/weber. I'll read up on adjusting the carb.

The "meowzda" name was coined for my Formula Mazda race car. My wife and I are basically crazy cat people so the meowzda name stuck!
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Old 09-29-15, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Coochas View Post
There is also quite a backfire after revving the car. No significant smoke. Someone suggested the carb float may be stuck since the car sat for a while.Any thoughts? I will try tapping on the carb with a hammer.


These cars are prone to backfiring upon deceleration, I find it more prevelant when the choke is pulled. Once warmed up and the choke is off, it settles down normally. Mazdatrix suggests that this can be affected by the aircontrol valve. https://www.mazdatrix.com/b-egr.htm
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Old 10-02-15, 05:29 AM
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SA is a beauty (sez this shameless Sunrise Red SA owner…)
Seems to be keeping some classy company with the SL and Porsche in the garage too!

Did you get any maintenance records with the car? Would be nice to know where its stands "out of the gate" as far as fluid changes, etc. If you have no records, assume the worst and change them ALL. And if you are doing that I recommend you pull the Rad and get a Pro rad shop to chem-dunk it and cleaned out. Rotaries are pretty demanding about good cooling, and good chance that rad has never been out.
I throw in a bottle of Seafoam in every year too (I put about 3K mi/yr on mine), just as it goes into winter storage. Helps the gas sitting all winter, and reputed to do some nice work cleaning carbon deposits out of the motor.
I bought my SA on ebay too. Great experience (but then, I _drove_ mine home from San Diego to Alaska, not shipped. Yours shipping is a sad story!)


Stu Aull
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Old 10-02-15, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 7aull View Post
SA is a beauty (sez this shameless Sunrise Red SA owner…)
Seems to be keeping some classy company with the SL and Porsche in the garage too!

Did you get any maintenance records with the car? Would be nice to know where its stands "out of the gate" as far as fluid changes, etc. If you have no records, assume the worst and change them ALL. And if you are doing that I recommend you pull the Rad and get a Pro rad shop to chem-dunk it and cleaned out. Rotaries are pretty demanding about good cooling, and good chance that rad has never been out.
I throw in a bottle of Seafoam in every year too (I put about 3K mi/yr on mine), just as it goes into winter storage. Helps the gas sitting all winter, and reputed to do some nice work cleaning carbon deposits out of the motor.
I bought my SA on ebay too. Great experience (but then, I _drove_ mine home from San Diego to Alaska, not shipped. Yours shipping is a sad story!)


Stu Aull
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Alaska
All seems like good advice Stu. I don't have the car with me right now as I decided to get some pro help cleaning the carb and getting it running again. The last inspection sticker on the car is 1982. SERIOUSLY. I think this car was run for 69k miles early on and then beached indoors which is why the body is in such pristine condition. I want to make sure it runs OK and then this winter I will go about changing all the fluids and lines etc.
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Old 10-02-15, 05:11 PM
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I just looked at the service booklet that came with the car. The last entry was from 1982 at 47k. Assuming that this car truly has 67k on it, then the car was only driven 20k since 1982. I suppose it's possible that the odometer went all the way around but this car is in such great condition (including the engine bay) that I doubt it.
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Old 10-02-15, 10:54 PM
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nice car! my last SA was just like that, it was great fun too
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Old 10-04-15, 10:24 AM
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Have you been driving the car much? Just wondering if you had any new pics to share? The car looks to be in excellent condition and based on what we can see in the pics, I would believe it to be a true 68k mile car.
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Old 10-04-15, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mazdaverx713b View Post
Have you been driving the car much? Just wondering if you had any new pics to share? The car looks to be in excellent condition and based on what we can see in the pics, I would believe it to be a true 68k mile car.
Car is getting a little professional love. It was running so rough that I decided to get some help. Mechanic thinks the carbs is gummed up from sitting so long.

Once I get her back, I'll post more pics and driving impressions!
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Old 04-02-16, 05:28 PM
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I am soooooo happy to be back in an SA after so many decades! In another post I detailed how I ended up going with the RB Holley set up and now have the car running well again! I've been going on some nice 40 mile drives with no hiccups at all. I even had the sunroof off on one particularly nice day. Here are some post wash pics! I love my rotary baby!














And for anyone interested, here is my other rotary rocket. It's a 95 Formula Mazda which uses a 13B coupled to a 50 DCOE Weber. It is an awesome machine and very pure. Love it!








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Old 04-02-16, 05:32 PM
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Oh yeah, and my new license plate frame!!!!!!



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Old 04-03-16, 12:33 AM
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Great looking SA, I think my favorite thing about the SA has to be the retro "Rotary Engine" badge followed by the "outlined" Mazda badge. Even though this is a RX-7 forum, I'd be interested to hear comparisons between your various cars to your new SA! I'd also be curious to know what is the engine setup on the Formula Mazda? My understanding is that it is a NA peripheral port 13b?

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Old 04-03-16, 07:30 AM
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Keep that stock niiki and intake, dont lose it. You can hog out that carb and it will work better
than the holley. We've told you this in the other thread I think.

Very nice looking SA. SAs are the best because they were the first years.
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Old 04-03-16, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by hcaulfield57 View Post
Great looking SA, I think my favorite thing about the SA has to be the retro "Rotary Engine" badge followed by the "outlined" Mazda badge. Even though this is a RX-7 forum, I'd be interested to hear comparisons between your various cars to your new SA! I'd also be curious to know what is the engine setup on the Formula Mazda? My understanding is that it is a NA peripheral port 13b?
Well nothing will ever be as good as my 1980 but I think that's mainly emotional attachment. The terrible thing is after I sold that car in 1984 the guy wrapped it around a tree shortly after. Sigh. My 1980 stock block with Weber 42DCOE/headers was a great engine. It could pull into redline in 5th gear on a good day. Then again, I also ate two motors in a relatively short period of time.

I remember my GSL-SE as a big step up in luxury. I remember liking the stereo! The car was not modded and not as much fun but it was totally reliable.

I bought the anniversary edition in 1988 and I was looking at a 924 at the time as well. I got drawn in by the turbo build up of the Rx7. I also thought the all white car was particularly cool looking. I kept that car for about 5 years until it developed an electrical gremlin that nobody could figure out.

My FM (a standard or original FM) uses a 13B which I'm fairly certain is peripheral ported. It has a high rise intake for the 50DCOE as opposed to the set up that my 12A had where the intake manifold was about 3 inches long going straight into the engine. It idles around 1750 with a nice brapbrapbrap. It has a Borla muffler (required for FM) and still hits about 101 dB at many tracks. It revs effortlessly. It is rev limited to a conservative 6850. SCCA FM specs require this so that the motors will last relatively longer. The 13B that came with my car had unknown time on it. I beat on it for most of one season until the apex seals fried. A new sealed engine from Drummond was about 7k as I recall. Wayyyyyy better than when my wife and I were driving Porsches at the track!

The Pro FM, often called Star Mazdas, use a Renesis variant. My FM makes 180HP while the ProFM make about 230. The Pro cars are also about 300 pounds lighter and have paddle shift auto rev matching boxes. Very cool.

Here's a vid of me in the FM at Watkins Glen. The sounds isn't great but you can clearly tell it's a rotary!

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Old 04-03-16, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by t_g_farrell View Post
Keep that stock niiki and intake, dont lose it. You can hog out that carb and it will work better
than the holley. We've told you this in the other thread I think.

Very nice looking SA. SAs are the best because they were the first years.
Thank you. Personally, the earliest years of the Rx7 are my favorite as well.
My Nikki and intake is safe and sound. I don't rule out playing with the Nikki next winter or if I develop any problems with the RB Holley.

Right now I am majorly enjoying having the car on the road in a reliable manner. It's certainly not track ready (and it will NEVER go that direction) but it's very happy on country roads on the highway or in town.
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Old 04-03-16, 07:15 PM
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Awesome car and appears to be a great find! I recently picked up a 79 that needed a little work but the series 1 body style has grown so much on me I dont think I would even care for a gsl-se at this point. (a series 1 with a 13b, gsl-se suspensions and brake swap is a whole other story) This is also my first 12a car and I have to say I am not in the lease disappointed.
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Old 04-05-16, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Coochas View Post
Well nothing will ever be as good as my 1980 but I think that's mainly emotional attachment. The terrible thing is after I sold that car in 1984 the guy wrapped it around a tree shortly after. Sigh. My 1980 stock block with Weber 42DCOE/headers was a great engine. It could pull into redline in 5th gear on a good day. Then again, I also ate two motors in a relatively short period of time.

I remember my GSL-SE as a big step up in luxury. I remember liking the stereo! The car was not modded and not as much fun but it was totally reliable.

I bought the anniversary edition in 1988 and I was looking at a 924 at the time as well. I got drawn in by the turbo build up of the Rx7. I also thought the all white car was particularly cool looking. I kept that car for about 5 years until it developed an electrical gremlin that nobody could figure out.

My FM (a standard or original FM) uses a 13B which I'm fairly certain is peripheral ported. It has a high rise intake for the 50DCOE as opposed to the set up that my 12A had where the intake manifold was about 3 inches long going straight into the engine. It idles around 1750 with a nice brapbrapbrap. It has a Borla muffler (required for FM) and still hits about 101 dB at many tracks. It revs effortlessly. It is rev limited to a conservative 6850. SCCA FM specs require this so that the motors will last relatively longer. The 13B that came with my car had unknown time on it. I beat on it for most of one season until the apex seals fried. A new sealed engine from Drummond was about 7k as I recall. Wayyyyyy better than when my wife and I were driving Porsches at the track!

The Pro FM, often called Star Mazdas, use a Renesis variant. My FM makes 180HP while the ProFM make about 230. The Pro cars are also about 300 pounds lighter and have paddle shift auto rev matching boxes. Very cool.

Here's a vid of me in the FM at Watkins Glen. The sounds isn't great but you can clearly tell it's a rotary!
Thanks for sharing! I initially liked the looks of the S2/S3 cars better, but the S1 cars have quickly grown on me, I almost think I like them more now! Cool video, scary stuff though! I'm curious how the RX-7 feels in comparison to other sports cars, my 83' GS is the only sports car I've driven, discluding my old 91' 300ZX which was more of a GT car really.
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