Family Album Treasures: Trackday Savanna

March 1, 2012 in Family Album Treasures

I realize I don’t post that many rotaries. Especially the first generation RX-7 is one of the least posted on my blog. So time to change all that with this nice trackday Mazda Savanna SA22C:
Trackday Savanna SA22C
The whole picture just screams S63 (Showa 63 = 1988) and remind me of the later Shuto Kousoku movies.

Definitely a photo to keep in your family album!

What does this kyusha lineup have in common?

November 7, 2011 in random

A yonmeri Skyline C110, a facelifted first generation Celica, a Mistubishi Galant GTO, another facelifted first generation Celica and finally a first generation Mazda Savanna RX-7. What does this kyusha lineup have in common? Well, appart from the owners being in the same car club obviously…

Simple: they all have fender mirrors! Just look how much more beautiful these cars get when you realize they all feature them!

Rare Bosozoku cars: Mazda Savanna RX3

May 28, 2009 in Rare Bosozoku cars

It is a bit weird: in contrary of the Mazda Cosmo AP RX5 the Mazda Savanna RX3 is a very rare Bosozoku styled car. We could only find two pictures of one single car!
Bosozoku style Mazda Savanna RX3
Bosozoku style Mazda Savanna RX3

Even though the Cosmo AP RX5 is a much bigger and meaner looking car, the Savanna RX3 is looking a lot meaner than its predecessor the Mazda Familia Rotary R100 and should really appeal all petrolheads.
Bosozoku style Mazda Savanna RX3
Bosozoku style Mazda Savanna RX3

The Mazda Savanna RX3 also had a big racing history: it debuted in 1971 at the Fuji 500 Tourist Trophy race and won instantly! It came just in time to prevent the Nissan Skyline GT-Rs from getting 50 consecutive wins for the Japanese Grand Prix!
Winning Mazda Savanna RX3 on Fuji Speedway Tourist Trophy
Winning Mazda Savanna RX3 on Fuji Speedway Tourist Trophy

If you are interested in this race, Japanese Nostalgic Car blog wrote an excellent article about this race!

The RX3 then continued to race for many years afterwards and even got over 100 victories at the end of 1976. It even is still being used for many different races nowadays: amoung them dragraces as well:
Mazda RX3 drag racer
Mazda RX3 drag racer

The RX3 is based upon the Mazda Familia 808 platform (in some countries called 818), but then powered by a rotary engine instead of the inline 4 of the 808/818. The outside of the car remained the same except for the twin round headlights at the front and the round taillights at the back of the car.
Factory stock Mazda Savanna RX3 4 door saloon
Factory stock Mazda Savanna RX3 4 door saloon

On the inside the interior was a bit more sportier than the standard Familia: the dash remained the same but it featured semi bucket seats.
Mazda Savanna RX3 interior
Mazda Savanna RX3 interior

What really helped was the weight of the car: the Familia only weights 865kg, so adding a powerfu
l rotary to such car makes it an instant winning combination! However the car still featured leaf springs and a live axle, so the handling of the car was not as good as the RX2 Capella. But what can you expect from a family car?
Factory stock Mazda Savanna RX3 4 door saloon
Factory stock Mazda Savanna RX3 4 door saloon

The Savanna was not only limited to the Coupe version of the Familia, but also delivered on the 4 door saloon and 5 door station van.

In Japan, Australia and Europe the Savanna was delivered with the 10A engine, while in the US only the 12A featured on the car. Starting from 1975 all it got an update and since then all Savanna RX3s got the 12A engine.
Mazda 10A Wankel engine
Mazda 10A Wankel engine

Of course the sporty image of the RX3 had to be mentioned over and over again. Take for example the poster for the RX3 SP:
Mazda RX3 SP: not a slowpoke
Mazda RX3 SP: not a slowpoke

All in all I don’t really understand why the Savanna RX3 is not a popular bosozoku style car: it looks bad, it had racing history (with wide fenders!), it features a rotary and best of all it was also available in 4 door saloons! A large package of elements which create a good foundation for a popular bosozoku car!

Stylish Mazda RX3
Stylish Mazda RX3

Maybe that is the whole point: it just reminded too much of the Familia family car. Or maybe it became an instant classic and the price remained too high during the 80s and 90s? Or maybe it was just the wrong car: the car that killed the 50th consecutive victory of the Skyline? Or maybe it was too small: the car is the size of a Nissan Sunny or Toyota Corolla. Who knows?

[I posted this article earlier this week on bosozokustyle.com.]