One for the Rotary Fans - 8th April, 2016

An auction estimate just south of $20k may seem crazy for an old Mazda to the casual observer. But the reality is these old Rotary Mazda sedans are becoming hotter and hotter property along with a few other mainstream cars of the 70s and 80s. This 1980 RX-4 is being auctioned at Turners Christchurch as part of their classic auction.

The market for cars from the 70s and 80s is hot right now and some models are particularly sought after. This RX-4 with auto transmission and old school Hot Wire mags would have struggled to fetch a few grand ten years ago. But the market for these rotary cars is on the move and this mostly original Luce model is expected to sell for between $17500 and $19500. Sounds crazy? Well just last year I watched a very original, but far from mint, RX-3 sell on Trade Me for $42,500. This car apparently sold to Mazda Australia. The thing is, early rotary engined cars in original condition are very rare. Most RX cars from the 70s have been heavily modified, received brain hurting harlequin paint jobs and been thrashed to death up and down Queens Street in the nineties. Demand is now high and supply is very limited and even the non-rotary models are being snapped up for big dollars.

Mazda’s rotary engine has an important place in automotive history. Originally designed by German engineer, Felix Wankel, and found in the NSU RO80, it was adopted by Mazda and remained part of their road car line-up until the RX-8 went out of production in 2012. The engine is very light and very powerful but does drink petrol like it’s on a St Patrick’s Day pub crawl.

And it’s not just Japanese cars from this age that are exploding in value. Last month I saw a 1980 Ford Escort Sport in reasonable shape sell for a staggering $19350. The same principles apply, most 2 door Escorts have been modified and killed over the years and now buyers, possibly wanting to relive their youth, are paying strong money for the few good ones that remain.

So unless there’s a possibility of something tasty sitting undiscovered in Granddads shed then this RX-4 might be the way to go. It seems inevitable that its future appreciation is guaranteed. The auction is on April 30th at Turners Christchurch. More details here.

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