Quick Answers To Quick Questions! Wankel Rotary Motor in Mazda Cars & Custom Car Pricing

Collector Car Corner
Quick Answers To Quick Questions!

By Greg Zyla

Q: As a classic car owner, I’ve enjoyed your articles very much. I own a 1985 Mazda RX-7, and I realize Japanese sports cars are not looked upon with great enthusiasm at local car shows.
However, the engine in my Mazda is a Wankel, as Mazda’s use of the this rotary engine was a pioneering breakthrough. It is also used in racing cars, aircraft and a variety of small-engine devices. At car shows, I always hear “Oh, I used to have one of those.”
I’ve since refurbished the upholstery, replaced the wheels and restored the exterior to its original condition. As of last summer, I believe it’s one of four RX-7s in the Southern Tier of New York/Pennsylvania. Much thanks, Bob White, www.booksbybobwhite.com

Bob White Mazda RX-7

Bob White’s beautiful and rare 1985 Mazda RX-7 Wankel. These cars are popular these days with engine enthusiasts as the Wankel is still in use to this day. (Bob White photo collection)

A: Bob, I’m not sure if you are aware, but American Motors was also scheduled to use the Wankel Rotary in it’s all new AMC Pacer back in 1975. Due to both financial and economy problems (gas crisis), AMC went with its trusty inline six-cylinder engines.
The first Wankel I drove was a Mazda R100 sedan back in 1971, and boy did it have power. Thanks for your letter and photo. I included your website for your books, and it sure looks interesting. (Bob is a writer and earned a B.S. in Aeronautics and Meteorology from St. Louis University. He worked as a meteorologist on the first six TIROS and early Nimbus weather satellites. See his page for more.)

Q: Greg, I see your name in Auto Round-Up Magazine and really enjoy your articles. My friend has a ’36 Chrysler he is putting together with a ’57 DeSoto Hemi 341 V8, a 727 transmission and a Ford rear end. I am wondering what this car will be worth? You mentioned Hemi-powered cars are worth money in October of 2011 article. Thank you, Ken J. Fortna Sr., Pennsylvania.


All makes of the Chrysler 1957 vehicles

Here’s the entire Chrysler Corporation family of cars for 1957. Featured are Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler and Imperial. A fine looking bunch in my book! (Compliments Chrysler Corporation).

A: Ken, it would be hard to value a car in the building stage, let alone when finished! How about sending me photos when the car is completed and I’ll check with some of my street rod friends as to value. It sure sounds like a neat street rod, and that 341 Hemi was fast back in 1957.


(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist who welcomes reader questions at 116 Main St., Towanda, PA 18848 or email him at extramile_2000@yahoo.com)

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