No Rotors Here: Mazda 616 Coupe

It’s March in SoCal. That means the weather is warming and meets are ramping up. We rolled down to Cypress, California (home of Mitsubishi North America HQ) in the ol’ JNC wagon on Sunday to check it out.  It was a great meet with some gorgeous rotaries but a lone, faded Mazda 616 caught our eye for its sheer rarity.

Never heard of the 616? That’s because the piston-powered Mazzer is usually overshadowed by its precocious rotary sibling, the Mazda RX-2. Both share the same body as the JDM Capella, but the 616 got a 1.6-liter four-cylinder underhood.

Visually, the primary difference is the rear taillight treatment, squares instead of quad afterburners (see above pic). A Mazda 618 came later with — you guessed it — a 1.8-liter four. Nearly all have been converted to rotaries by now, causing much ogling of the 616’s original badges, and prompting Matt to send this:

The Mazda naming convention that brought you the 626 makes sense now, doesn’t it?

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4 Responses to No Rotors Here: Mazda 616 Coupe

  1. bert says:

    ben- You’re not as bad a photographer as you think you are, you only suck a little bit!

    I may get beat down for saying this, but I prefer the piston powered Mazda’s!

  2. Ben says:

    Thanks, bert. I will add that to my resume! 🙂

    Also, prepared to have the rotary yakuza on your doorstep!

  3. bert says:

    ben- Your’e very welcome for the kind compliment!

    The rotary yakuza can chase me all they want, but they’ll be sorry when their little wind up cars are overheating on the side of the road!

  4. Brian says:

    I bought one for $900 in the late 70’s. It had great handling, but was gutless. Carb problems forced me to install a Mastercraft Weber knock off carb on it. It was slow, but felt way more Teutonic than any other Japanese car of its time. Finally sold it to a little old lady for a grand. She in turn sold me her 1968 Cortina GT for $50 because it was leaking oil…

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