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-   -   1974 Rx4 Rustomod Build/restoration (https://www.rx7club.com/old-school-other-rotary-63/1974-rx4-rustomod-build-restoration-1090288/)

Smokeyfb33 09-29-15 11:48 PM

1974 Rx4 Rustomod Build/restoration
This was the image I saw after clicking a on craigslist ad titled: 1974 rotary. The ad had very little description with the picture. I could probably recite it, " mazda rotary, mostly complete, broken back window."


The price was right... The image was interesting... The year had me sold right away. '74. Smog exempt status in the great state California and the infamous smog nazis! Im not in the place at all right now to take on extra projects, but I didnt see a downside. I contacted the number in the ad. It was 9 hours after he posted it and I got an answer right away. We arranged to see it the next day. This was delayed after a night of heavy drinking and my friend with a flatbed trailer was left unable to help.

I called the early the next day and I had to give the news I would not be able to take the car home therefore my trip would practically be for nothing. "I'll try to make it happen next weekend", I told him. I sat for an hour upset that I might miss out on a deal. I called back. "Can you hold it for me? Can I leave a deposit?" He said yes! I sent a deposit through Paypal based off of one horribly put together craigslist ad and a very short talk with the owners son. I asked him to send pictures of a few more angles.










Smokeyfb33 09-30-15 01:26 AM


Smokeyfb33 09-30-15 01:30 AM

I was able to pick it up the next weekend...




We jacked it up and got it on the rx7 wheels. Then chained it up from the front tow hook. The front wheels rolled easily. We were also able to free up the drivers side rear wheel easily. But the rear passenger side was giving us trouble and I didn't have a good #3 phillips and impact to open the drum up. We sprayed some Wd40 in the drum and hoped for the best.


As soon as it hit the trailer the rear passenger wheel freed up. Time to do some paperwork and hit the road! First stop:


And my proud helper!




project7s 09-30-15 05:47 PM

looks like a nice project, i bet its going to be a pain to find a back glass though. seems like there should be a way to have one custom made

Smokeyfb33 09-30-15 06:01 PM


Once I got it home I was able to asses it a little better. I can say every panel has rust of some sort. The worst being the spare tire area, the seat mounts for driver and passenger, under the dash, and the under carriage.

I will post some of the worst pics here, and a link to the photo album if you want to check out more.





Its about the point where I realize there is enough damage to make this a huge task of trying to restore %100. What do I do? Its bad enough it will make me homeless trying to clean up, yet, its not bad enough for me to give up on it. I could sell it, but Im a sucker for rare and old. Id rather keep the cool stuff for myself.

I decide to do what I can! Its my new baby. Ill treat her well, and slowly she will come to love me too. I will have to do what I can afford, and if replacing something comes to the point of being truly an unwise decision financially then I will have to find an alternative to make it work! It will always have a rotary motor for a heart, and it will continue to roam the streets of California showing off its 70's jap beauty.

Im anxious to be sitting behind this dash. Driving along the coast down highway 1 with the sun in the sky and friends to share it with!




Smokeyfb33 09-30-15 06:06 PM

Originally Posted by project7s (Post 11974368)
looks like a nice project, i bet its going to be a pain to find a back glass though. seems like there should be a way to have one custom made

I have the glass sourced and we have a meetup scheduled for Sevenstock in Fontana this November 7th. Its been rained on for who knows how long, so Im not too concerned for the time being considering that the rear seats are pulled out and the spare tire area has a good spot to drain!

Smokeyfb33 09-30-15 10:52 PM

After committing to the project a bit more I was determined to get everything working on it. Transmission was in neutral but still engaged. The ignition would not make the starter turn over. Door locks were frozen. Motor health was in question. The list is growing faster and longer with every look at it.

I needed locks to work right away. So I started there. After much frustration I was able to figure out how to unlatch them so I could access the screws on the door panels. I found them nice and rusted. So they needed to be cleaned.



I had to clean it up hard core at this point. I pulled out the whole interior, and knocked out all the bugs and spider webs and all the crap that collected from sitting.

The big federal bumpers are ok in my opinion. Only because they are original. But... they are damaged enough that I wouldnt be able to repair them properly. Off with the front one for now and into storage. It does look mean, and my imagination starts going wild with ideas.


Onto the mechanicals. I was able to free up the transmission by putting it in 1st gear and rocking it around back and forth very gently. That helped a lot. I could move it around and now I could go into neutral to see what is going on with the motor.


I was able to get it to spin freely and I added some premix oil directly into the carb. The front rotor had signs of compression. Probably two out of the three apex seals were free. The rear rotor only had one seal loose. After a little while that seal froze up too.

I added some ATF and let it sit.

For a few days I tried cranking and adding lubricants to try to free seals. I finally resorted to having the car pulled in 1st gear around the block. Then I added more atf and let it sit.

Smokeyfb33 09-30-15 11:00 PM

The next day I cleaned the plugs. Charged up the battery. Grabbed the starter fluid. Got some gas and a funnel and made me a movie!

Medevack1 10-01-15 07:52 AM

WOW great find, I'm glad to see the car was rescued by you and brought back to life. Congrats on the find again!!!!

papsmagu 10-01-15 10:15 AM

WOW that is soo cool. how long had it been sitting. i cannot believe you got it started. WELL DONE. Interior is really clean too. If you know of anyone that is selling the radio surround piece ofr the interior let me know. I need one, as mine was hacked up by the previous owner. keep up the good work.

Smokeyfb33 10-01-15 12:10 PM

Thank you guys!

The car was last registered in '93. So it possibly sat for 22 years or longer.

I was extremely lucky to find a clean gas tank and a pretty much fully working drivetrain. I hope to be able to have enough work done to it by this weekend to actually be able to get it to move under its own power.

My goal right now is to drive it from the SF bay to LA for sevenstock in Nov. I think its very much possible at this point!

As far as parts Ive found a guy in LA on craigslist with a few items. My best resource seems to be the facebook group called rx4 fanatics. Ebay has surpised me too, I found a few original parts and some aftermarket like door seals and weather striping.

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