Vintage rotaries took a prime position at this year’s JCCS, thanks to a classy display by Mazda. Imagine a hillside blooming with brightly colored pistonless wonders from Hiroshima, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the Mazda section looked like at this year’s Japanese Classic Car Show.
Anchoring the section was Mazda North America’s swanky setup, complete with lounge and waterfall. The 4-rotor 787 took center stage, with 5-speed Michigan-built Mazda 626 beside it.
On the other side was a Mazda GLC, the one we drove in a Back Roads feature in 2017, along with several of Mazda’s latest offerings.
Another iconic car was Mazda’s 24 Hours of Daytona-winning 1979 RX-7 GTU racer. Though a replica and not the actual car, this one was at least Mazda-built out of a test mule.
Not all Mazdas were rotary powered. There was also a brilliantly preserved piston-powered Mazda B-series.
Beside it, however, was its very much so rotary-equipped fraternal twin. That truck was Jaime Cabral’s 1975 REPU, beautiful in Mazda’s trademark blue and white.
Early rotaries included Albert Medrano’s menacing Mazda RX-2 (a Touge California veteran), equipped with a bridgeported 13B turbo and a works-inspired split air dam.
Another old Touge California pro was Armando Licon’s 1974 RX-4 coupe.
Standing in contrast to many of the modified Mazdas on the field was a perennial favorite, Gerald Randon’s Mazda RX-3 Wagon, one of the most well-preserved examples we’ve seen.
Perhaps the most eye-catching Mazda was the purple beast at Star Road’s booth, wearing Glow Star wheels and Katayama-style flares.
Yoshiya Yajima’s street-ported 1991 FC3S Turbo looked Wangan-ready and was awarded third place in Best RX-7 class.
Hector Alvarez’s 1975 REPU still wore its original paint, and took third in the Best Classic Mazda category.
Early rotaries were represented by a bright red “sex spec” Mazda R100 and Jose Vasquez’s 1977 RX-3 SP, which took home the second-place prize in Best Classic Mazda.
Chris Taylor’s 1971 RX-2 was one of the most impressive builds at the show. According to Chris, it was originally owned by Shannon McMasters, the founder of the Spec Miata race series. Its 13B-REW engine was built by Pineapple Racing of Oregon and tuned by rotary drag racing legend Abel Ibarra. The body was taken down to bare metal for a just-completed nut-and-bolt restoration. For his efforts, Chris walked away with a much-deserved first place in the Best Classic Mazda category.
Capping off a row of SA22s was Jerry Rosenblum’s pristine 1985 GSL-SE. It looked brand new because it basically was, with just 18,000 miles on the odometer. Jerry’s was an easy win for first place in the Best RX-7 class.
To be continued…
We’ll have more 2018 JCCS coverage coming up, but in the meantime, in case you missed it, check out Part 01 — JDM, Part 02 — Toyotas, Part 03 — Hondas, Part 04 — Subaru and Isuzu, and Part 05 — Trucks, as well as a spotlight on the Wild Cards and the first Honda race car in America.