As evereybody knows this is not the safest car, but probably one of the funest.
Wow, what memories! I owned a '73 RX3 wagon back in the '70s. (It was actually my 3rd car, probably paid $500 for it.) It belonged to the guy I worked for and had been used for deliveries in the business he owned. I loved that car! It ranks near the top of the many cars I've owned over the years. It was also the car I learned to drive a stick in. I had big plans for it - until the engine developed a seal leak and died. Safety was questionable (for all the import cars of the time, not just Mazda) but I distinctly remember it having shoulder belts because after it died I pulled them out and used them in a '69 Chevelle.
As for power, I remember the rotary being able to spin up very quickly, but having little low end torque. I couldn't pull many cars off the line, but if the race was long enough, I could run the rpms high enough to at least not make a fool of myself.
It was a fun car, too! Unfortunately the bodies were poorly made and tended to serious rusting, even when properly cared for. So the fun didn't last as long as it could have.
I had two 1973 RX3's in the late '70's. I changed engines from one to the other by literally lifting it out of pick up bed to car. Tuning was a pain! Dual distributors and dual points...Arr! The carb was handful too, but when it was right... LOOK OUT! That was the fastest car I'd ever owned until I bought a '95 Impala SS. I beat small block Chevies, small block Mustangs, from either standing start 1/4 miles or high speed interstate runs. The speedometer went to 140 (?) and I had seen go all the around to zero mph on several occasions. Red line was 8500rpm or so. I remember I could do 95mph in 3rd gear. It handled great with new radials, (in 1979). My biggest complaint was gas mileage. Never got better than 18mpg and I had it tuned by Mazda dealership several times. It was a cheap car, but man... was it fast!
My first car in high school was a 73 RX-3 my dad rebuilt. This car was a piece, but it was fun. It would backfire when I turned it off (my friends always ran to the back to watch the ball of flame), if you turned it off to get gas, you'd have to wait 10 minutes for it to cool down before it would start again. I miss that car - I think most of my hair fell out in that thing.
I remember growing up with my parents driving the new metallic grey RX3. I remember how it parted with our family.
My Dad drove it over a railroad track at a high rate of speed and it did not land very gracefully on the other side of the tracks. Never to be seen in the family drive way again. I wish it was still alive.
Sorry to disagree with everybody, but the RX3 as Mazda built it, would not beat Camaros or Mustangs. I've raced Mazda rotaries for years in Cal Club SCCA, and won 6 regional championships with them, so I know them inside out. Yes, they are fun cars and feel quick, but if they could keep up with muscle cars, why aren't they in the same category at the race track. And yes I've disgraced them also.
My current car is an RX3 with a street port 13b with a 52 mm Mikuni carb. ET in the quarter is about 14.8, and that's with a modified car. Camaros and Mustangs run low 14 high 13 time stock. My 1970 El Camino tow car runs low 12s with very little mods and a small cam.
Don't get me wrong, I love rotaries, and will keep playing with them till I can't find any more in the junk yard.
I'm a 39 Year old Male with Cancer and I still remember my first 1979 Rx7. This was the best car I have ever Had. I drove it twice to New York, and all around IL. I loved that car, my dream was to own a RX3 Wagon. Crazy right? But someday I will see one again in person. Unfortunately I live in Kentucky and you don't see, but Ford products.
I currently own a '73 Rx3 sedan with 20,000 original miles. It is a very cool little car that was way ahead of it's time when designed. The car was sold to me reasonably because I acted to save a neighbor's life. Women think it is cute, but little do they know the awesome power to weight ratio this car displays. It took some time to learn how to drive it, but I love the car and know that Mazda was/is one of the greatest car companies in the world.
Safety???!!! Don't hit the truck!!! Ya Volvo is not going to love it either mate!! At least look stylish on impact, Volvos were supposed to be boats, made strong for hitting the wharf!!
I own a Mazda RX3 Coupe, which is the early model, 1972. In my view the Coupe type has far better looks than their S/wagon & sedan counterparts.
One thing I can say is, although the car is old and unlike new cars of today, it isn't strong, I have seen many examples that have been destroyed by basic accidents; a Ford Escort or Celica would be far stronger.
I believe the RX3's popularity comes from its looks & nothing more. When these cars were racing back in the day, little was known by the everyday person, let alone rotary engines.
The Mazda RX3 wasn't even a successful car in the beginning, as it was plagued with mechanical & electrical problems, as well as bad fuel economy. Rust was also an issue, yet it hung in there, because it always looked like it had something great to offer. Other cars would not have had this attraction; its tail lamps / nose cone & streamlined body kept people interested.
The reason I bought one was, to me it's the best looking body, and the size of the car is just right/ I knew nothing of its history at the time, then as time went by, I soon learnt of this unique engine.
RX3 Coupes are very rare now, & its 808 piston version is just as rare. Gone are the days of grabbing a few parts laying around, this car now has cult status and everyone wants one, hence the parts etc, have become pricey.
For what it is and the market it was aimed at, the Mazda RX3 has become an icon that other car companies can only dream off.