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Thread: 1973 Mazda Rx3

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    1973 Mazda Rx3

    Here is my Mazda Rx3 that I saved from a farm paddock 2 or 3 years ago from rural Australia. I was told about the car from a mechanic. It's been unregistered since the very early 1990's. Ive been steadily working on it when time allows over the past 2 years. I know it still looks a wreck but it has come a very long way.

    These are recent photos of the car. I'll start posting up the entire build starting from the day I towed it home over the the coming weeks. The plan is to restore it to 95% original, the car will have a 5 speed gearbox, 10a rotary, standard steel rims with standard interior. For people who have already seen photos, please dont spoil it for others.

    The photos below were taken shortly after I replace the entire front end, chassis rails, skirts and radiator support.

    http://users.tpg.com.au/johng71/p1/9cdbd93420.jpg ]http://users.tpg.com.au/johng71/p1/img0628xx0.jpg

  2. #2
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    Great to see such a cool car being restored more pictures please :tu: :tu:

  3. #3
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    Jan 2008
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    Villeneuve, Qld, Australia
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    Sweet project man, good to someone else in Oz actually going a factory 10A Rx-3!!

  4. #4
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    May 2008
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    Japan
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    I love to see these cars being restored to factory. So many are just wrecked with the implant of the 13B. :?

    looks great, any pics of when you first got it?

  5. #5
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    Here are some photos before I started any work. When I was looking I couldnt find anything that was priced according to condition. Funnily enough right after I bought this one some better examples popped up. Always the way ! Im not someone who changes their project cars just because there is a slightly better car available. Once I buy it thats it, the vision is set for that car. I think that would have to be one of the main reasons why so many projects arent completed. Its been a big learning curve but Im enjoying it.... well most times anyway!

    Fresh off the trailer after towing it home.


    Dont be fooled by any of the photos the grey etch primer hides alot of dents, the roof was pretty bad ! The left and right rear quarter panels require alot of work. I'll put up more detailed phots as I complete sections. The rear beaver panel isnt too bad and has never been removed from the car.


    Damaged chassis rails and poorly repaired. Its hard to put the word repaired and the chassis rails in the same sentence before I started any work. All the bits and pieces were piled in the car before towing home. The car was mostly complete. Pretty much everything is either damaged or requires restoration. The car also came with 1/3 of a 10a engine :lol:


    A couple of photos of the interior. The car was brushed with tar based bitumen on the floors, wheel wells and underside. Its horrible stuff and does absolutely nothing apart from hiding stuff.


    Anyway that was the state of the car on the first day of ownership. Lots of hard work to be done on everything. On a good note the car was pretty much complete and as as Ive discovered anything can be restored, everything from plastic consoles, broken seats, panel work, chrome trimmings etc etc. If I cant do it, I'll give the job to someone else. I'll put up more photos of completed sections once I go through them.

  6. #6
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    If it wasnt for the electrical part of restoring a car, I wouldnt have a problem taking on such a big job myself. Looks the goods though!

  7. #7
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    BigWillieStyles believe me when I say electrical is the least of this cars problems ! Electricals are no big deal for me, I could probably wire up an old Mazda blind folded....

    Here the front end repairs....

    I started with a very good early 808 shell and cut the front off it behind the chassis rails. My only regret is that I didnt keep the rest of the shell for other repairs.



    This job isnt a cut and shut, Alot of time is spent drilling out the factory spot welds so that it can be fitted to the car like Mazda intended.




    Mild surface rust behind the front end box sections. I still havent fitted thes box sections. Any minor holes from removing the front end spot welds were welded up. Box sections get a sandblasting. The're not too bad. Ive already repaired one, the other is on the to do list





    Removing the tar from the floor so welds can be drilled out. Tedious job, not much fun



    These are the bits used to remove spot welds, they have a flat tip so you dont drill through both panels. Front end is bare ready to get the chop.



    Suspension will also be sandblasted in the future and powercoated for a new durable finish. No point painting these parts, they'll get stone chips all over them before too long. Radiator panel that I saved as spare.



    Cutting the old skirts off with an Oxy, took alot to get to this point !



    Here are some pics taken from around the cross members, lots of cracks and damage. The previous owners must of thought this was OK.




    Another big job, removing all the reminants of the old front end without damaging the shell. Took a long time....




    Cleaning up and stripping the front end. I'll most likely sandblast the engine bay and epoxy seal it once box sections are welded on. Here just using tradtional stripping methods, stripper, thinners and deoxine.





    Pic 1, not an ideal flange to weld the new front end to. The previous guys made a bit of a mess, moisture sitting in the joint didnt help either. Pic 2, I decided the best approach to bring the car back to life was to replace the left and right section with 2 good spares I had. Here Ive unpicked the left side, you'll notice that Mazda didnt use extensive rust proofing in the 70's. Any Rx3 or 808 most likely has surface rust inside the pillars unless it has never seen water. Only a very light etch coat is used. If you dont want to go to this extent that I have then dipping the entire car in an acid bath is your only option. These areas will be cleaned, shot blasted, treated and resealed with a modern product. For those concerned its only very light surface rust, lots of dust and dirt and one European wasp that made the inner door jam its home sometime in the last 35years !



    More pics of the same area, pic 2 all damaged now removed.



    Next we have the new kick panel roughly in place... perfect fit, no rust no damage.. what more could I ask. The weld marks will be invisible once the kick panel is stripped and primed. The part was welded to fill little pin holes from the spot weld bit removal process..... yes the floor still needs to be cleaned.


    Hope you people now understand why I did this, the flange is straight and rust free compared to the earlier pic. Makes for a very nice repair. The firewall still needs to be stripped of the horrible cheap tar that was probably bought from supercheap, Once this is done the kick panels will be lined up properly and plugged permanently into place.



    Next pic, left side plugged back into place after treating, resealing the inner pillar then grinding the plug welds flat. Ive then retreated the seam areas after welding. The flange that meets the inner skirt is now nice and straight and corrosion free. The right side is getting fitted up ready to be welded back into place. Im planning on stripping all the black paint and undercoat with a spot blaster and undercoating properly prior to having the front end refitted. I want things to be nice and neat for the painter.



    First 2 photos, kick panels have been welded back in so it was time to clean up and spray the firewall with some red oxide epoxy sealer.


    Cleaning the inner box areas, these will be hidden when the covers are welded on. Flange areas also being replaced.



    Long road for this resto, front end will soon be aligned and plug welded into place.





    Pic 1 Ive elongated the tabs that fit to the top of the rails prior to fitting the front end, you can only see the left side here. They'll be cut down to size before welding. Pic 2, another angle.



    Wld penetration from the plug welding, most likely stronger than factory. Front end isnt going anyway now ! Nice clean joins and flanges, no rust, no filler, and no brazing to hold the front end on.



    Before and after of the front end skirts, alot better, note Pic 1 that the rail was blended into the skirt, the rail also has a kink in it as well as rust and cracks underneath. Pic 2 this side has been seam welded so was replaced as well.... now nice clean joins. All this work was to not only make the car structurally sound but to also give the engine bay its original factory appearance. 8)




    Suspension back on temporarily, Its a roller again.


  8. #8
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    That is probably the most extensive restoration ive seen on these cars. incredable, keep up the good work

  9. #9
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    Oooh, nice! Keep us updated!

  10. #10
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    Oct 2007
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    Finland
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    Incredible job! Nice work!
    Never crossed my mind that i could change the hole front end of my 929 and take a it from the spare car..
    have a little collision damage up front

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