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 Post subject: Mazda Savanna RX-7 - Series 3 turbo
PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:55 pm
Posts: 409
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Hey folks, just thought I'd post in here to say hello - being a Skyline person I usually lurk in the Datsun/Nissan forum, but I've just bought the latest acquisition for my collection of 1980s sportscars and thought this would be a more appropriate place to share it! :)

now I'm no stranger to Mazdas, having owned a plethora of turbo Familias (aka 323s) when I was younger, and currently have a couple of turbo Ford Lasers - the sister car to the Familia - kicking around. But I've never owned a rotary powered Mazda until now...

so without further ado, here it is, my 1985 SA22C RX-7, affectionately nicknamed the "banana", currently waiting on the wharf in Japan to be loaded onto the slow boat to New Zealand :)

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I haven't got any photos of the engine bay unfortunately, but I'm sure most of you will have heard of the venerable JDM-only 12A turbo engine. for those of you that havent, it was Japan's most powerful production engine for a short time in 1982 before Nissan released the first iteration of the mighty FJ20ET. It was also a milestone for Mazda, being their first fuel-injected and turbocharged rotary engine.

During my search for a SA22C I got the chance to test-drive a few 12AT-equipped Series 3s, and I was unduly impressed by how smooth and refined the rotary engine actually was. I do have friends who own N/A and ported rotaries but the turbo engine came across as a completely different kettle of fish!

my Japanese agent has predicted 6-10 weeks before the vehicle gets to NZ, so in the meantime I'll be getting things ready for its arrival. I don't actually plan to modify the car much if at all, but I spotted a set of 15" SSR MarkIII rims on Yahoo Auctions Japan the other night and am considering buying them in preparation :)

stay tuned for another update once the car gets here...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:51 pm
Posts: 2210
Location: Sydney, Australia
Sweet car! I'd love to have a clean SA22 in my collection.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:33 pm
Posts: 43
Location: Auckland, NZ
Looks really clean and original Ed how many Km's on the clock?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:55 pm
Posts: 409
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
hey Craig, long time no speak :) the SA22C's got 88,000 reported km on the clock.

i say 'reported' because you can never tell whether the speedo's been tampered with on the older cars coming out of Japan now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:41 pm
Posts: 5591
Location: LA
Ooooh, 12A turbos! But a n/a SA22 is hawt as well. Excellent acquisition. Why banana? :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 12:28 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:55 pm
Posts: 409
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
"Banana" is a throwback to a remark I once made about a tiny photo of a canary yellow Series 1 in an old issue of some random performance car magazine I had lying around. At a quick glance the shape and the trademark black bumper caps made it resemble... yup you guessed it.

Also a neat coincidence that "banana" rhymes with Savanna :lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 1:31 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:33 pm
Posts: 43
Location: Auckland, NZ
Orion wrote:
"Banana" is a throwback to a remark I once made about a tiny photo of a canary yellow Series 1 in an old issue of some random performance car magazine I had lying around. At a quick glance the shape and the trademark black bumper caps made it resemble... yup you guessed it.

Also a neat coincidence that "banana" rhymes with Savanna :lol:


Does that mean you are going to peel your savanna? :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:55 pm
Posts: 409
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
^^ haha, never thought of it that way before :lol:

anyway, it's finally here - picked it up from the importer's yard on Friday, it only took a month from the time I purchased it until arrival, which was a nice surprise as we were expecting a 6-10 week lead time. Shipping schedules must be quite good this time of year.

Was quite stunned at how tidy it is in the metal; of course there are some minor niggling/broken things here and there (mostly to do with the interior) but apart from that it shows all the signs of being an authentic 88,000km vehicle (mint headlining, gearstick knob, pedals etc). The diff is much "whinier" than I'm used to, but this is apparently not of any concern.

first thing I did over the weekend was to fix the non-functional dash backlighting, eventually traced this back to a faulty dimmer switch. Amusingly enough, the previous Japanese owner's solution to the problem was to fit a couple of funny blue spotlights to light up the dash... :oops:

Now begins the slow process of returning the car back to factory condition, or as close as possible. I'm thinking of stripping out the silly little back seat to register the vehicle in NZ as a legitimate two-seater - does anyone know if you can get the USDM rear storage bins etc in grey colour trim, instead of maroon GSL-SE spec?

parts hunting is going to be an interesting process indeed...

so, photos or it didn't happen! check my flickr for the complete set :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:48 pm 
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Wow! So clean!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:26 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:44 pm
Posts: 157
Location: Inland Empire
congrats...and its beutifull :tu: :tu:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:28 am 
hope you post more pics of the engine on the future...thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:02 pm 
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Posts: 409
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
lakay_mark wrote:
hope you post more pics of the engine on the future...thanks

I'll try and take some more engine shots next time I move the car out of storage for a wash. Get some good practice in with my new prime lens.

but as with most early EGI turbo engines from the '80s, all you can see is a giant tangle of wires, vacuum hoses and plugs :lol:

discovered the other week that the left rear brake caliper is seizing up, not sure if it's the handbrake causing the issue but I'll have to whip the assembly off and give it a spray with some Rostoff/CRC. Regardless it still makes me grin like a 10-year-old every time I take it for a quick sneaky drive around the block...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:28 am 

Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 9:22 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Japan
wow thats so clean, i cant believe that came from Japan. Please dont put any body kits on it!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:55 pm
Posts: 409
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Haven't updated for a while as I've been busy with my other restoration project (an extremely rare 1985 Japanese Ford Laser 4WD turbo), but with that nearing completion I'm hopefully going to get stuck into the RX-7 in the coming months.

I sent it off to my panelbeaters and they identified a bit of rust in the engine bay as well as some slight accident damage to the front right quarter :shock: apparently it's nothing too serious but still a pain in the arse as the car will need to go on a chassis machine and have everything measured before it will be allowed on the road legally.

in the meantime I've managed to fix the sticky rear caliper and have started buying spares and replacement parts. I now have a complete spare EGI turbo wiring loom, AFM and ECUs, and managed to score the last pair of new-old stock Series 3 front indicator lenses in NZ :D

Still the biggest challenge continues to be tracking down a complete USDM 2-seater interior from the doors back. not much luck in that department so far. anyone here have any leads?

a few extra photos to round this update off :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 9:15 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:38 pm
Posts: 258
Location: compton
Nice score, how much did you pay for it? Vehicle & fr8?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 3:32 pm 
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand
G wrote:
Nice score, how much did you pay for it? Vehicle & fr8?

about $10k NZD all up delivered to my doorstep. Freight was the easy part, flat rate shipping to NZ is always a bonus :) the tricky bit was juggling the foreign currency portion of the final amount.

actually I'm quite happy I got my foot in the door when I did, Series 3 turbo models are now skyrocketing in price.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 3:35 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:38 pm
Posts: 258
Location: compton
So about $6033.00 usd. Man that's cheap!!!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 2:53 am 
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Posts: 409
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
I guess so. it's quite hard to gauge how much of a "deal" it really was, not with foreign currencies always changing value relative to each other. Easiest way is just to keep an eye on yard prices in Japan.

either way there really isn't much of a market for S3 turbos in NZ apart from the collector circle. most of the mainstream rotary folks prefer their brap-brap ported N/A engines, and don't really understand how paying $15k for a mint 12AT powered RX fresh out of Japan with minor/no mods has any advantage over paying $8k for a matt-black example slammed on modgies with "mean pulse" that's had 20 previous NZ owners and a few bog jobs.

Nothing against anyone who likes that style of course :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 5:53 am 
Hot car dude, the jap spec interior is sooo much nicer than the Aussie delivered stuff. Congrats on the pick up :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 9:32 am 
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Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 12:25 am
Posts: 311
Location: Alabama
I run into these all the time in the yards here.
I'll keep and eye open for your interior.

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