1 2 3 4 5
JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
3/1/11 6:10 p.m.

Nothin' sounds good like an eight-oh-eight...


ArthurDent Reader
3/1/11 6:22 p.m.

Some more shots of the interior, trunk and engine:


1973 Mazda 808 Coupe interior

battery box has surface rust but no holes. I wonder if the red is primer or previous colour ...

1973 Mazda 808 Coupe engine

trunk with original spare tire

1973 Mazda 808 Coupe trunk

1973 Mazda 808 Coupe trunk

Mazdax605 HalfDork
3/1/11 7:15 p.m.

My guess is primer as I doubt someone would go to the trouble of painting the engine bay of a car to change the color. I have in the past,but that is pretty rare I believe.

Curmudgeon SuperDork
3/1/11 7:48 p.m.

Man, that motor looks exactly like the 1.8 liter mill that was in my old Courier pickup. Sounded like a threshing machine when you got it wound up but it was bulletproof.

TR8owner Reader
3/1/11 8:51 p.m.

I don't remember the 808. My parents had a 626 which methinks was very similiar mechanically? A buddy of mine had an RX-3 which was a fun car in the day. Yours looks identical to the RX-3.

What was the performance specs between the 808 and RX-3?

ArthurDent Reader
3/1/11 8:58 p.m.

The Rx-3 had the rotary engine 10A then 12A giving I guessing here 100-110hp. The four cylinder I have gives 70hp according to what I have read. From what I understand its the same as the B1600 truck motor.

JamesMcD New Reader
3/1/11 9:18 p.m.

I went to HS with this gay kid who got picked on while riding the bus. His bus driver felt sorry for him so she gave him her spare car, an 808 wagon. I didn't know what it was at the time (it had no emblems), but looking back I'm a little jealous. I would not be gay to get a free 808 wagon though.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid Reader
3/2/11 12:52 a.m.

I think a Miata drivetrain would to that a heaping help of good.

Luke SuperDork
3/2/11 2:32 a.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: Nothin' sounds good like an eight-oh-eight...

Money makin', Super disco, disco breakin'

Awesome find! I love the 70s colour scheme.

A Miata engine would be sweet, but I bet a simple carb/cam/exhaust would really wake up the stock motor (assuming those things are available on the aftermarket.)

Jay SuperDork
3/2/11 6:04 a.m.

I love how they stamped the firing order onto the valve cover. Sure wouldn't see that anymore, us consumers aren't supposed to know what goes on inside the magic engine.

aussiesmg SuperDork
3/2/11 6:28 p.m.

I turned one of these into a Group 2E Club Car in the early 90's, it was one fun car. Won a couple of State titles in it.

BTW this is the lightest of the series as the rotaries had the exhaust shields to add weight and the coupe was the lightest body.

In Australia the 808 had a different, plainer front end treatment, not sure if that followed here and yours was upgraded to the RX3 10A nose or they all came with that front end.

JamesMcD New Reader
3/2/11 9:04 p.m.

I think the Aussie-style 808 front end pictured above did make it to the US, but the car was called Mizer.

mattmacklind SuperDork
3/2/11 9:10 p.m.

Get out of town man that rocks.

Flogger00 New Reader
3/2/11 10:39 p.m.

Thanks for the pics. They brought back a lot of old memories. My first car (bought in 1978 when I was 15½) was a '72 RX3 2 door in what I think is the same color as your 808, just shinier and more vibrant at the time. It was such an obnoxious color my friends said it made them puke, so I named my car Ralph.

Mine didn't have the vinyl roof, blacked out hood or the big door handle level, taillight encasing stripes your 808 has, but it had the same rocker panel stripes and a smaller, slightly swoopy door handle level stripe.

The stupidly crazy things I did in that car in the late 70s/ early 80s, including street racing with a friend who also lacked any sense of mortality is a big part of why I'm a Street Survival instructor now. That friend died on a bike hitting a parked car at ~80mph in a 25 zone. Yes, we were stupid. Now I try to teach kids not to do the dumb things I did.

Anyhow, love the car. Is the interior really as good as it looks here, or is that just the trickery of photos on the web?

JamesMcD New Reader
3/2/11 10:51 p.m.

I have noticed (my perception is) that the 70s Mazdas had better interior materials than a lot of their Japanese contemporaries. The dash tops always crack like every other car from back then, but the seats and door panels seem to hold up a lot better than, say, Celicas. My Rx4 had high miles and I found it in a junk yard, but it had pretty nice, un-torn seats and door panels. As long as they don't get poked with something or the owner isn't 300lbs, they seem to do well.

ArthurDent Reader
3/3/11 12:00 a.m.

The interior is as good as it looks in the photos. One small tear at the top of the rear seat and two cracks in the dash. Oh and wood shift knob shows wear and a small crack in steering wheel - otherwise rather nice.

I much prefer my front end to the plainer Australian one.

ArthurDent Reader
3/9/11 3:41 p.m.

My 1973 Mazda 808 Coupe is now in the garage. The snow still hasn't melted it off it but we are due for slightly above freezing temperatures in the next couple days so I'll hoping it is cleared off soon. Scored a new starter for $30 off eBay including shipping. From RockAuto I got a set of brake pads for the front and shoes for the rear with shipping for another $30.

The seller told me the engine needed work due to oil consumption but I've found some piston and ring sets on eBay for what seems cheap. A set with .030 for $80 including shipping, 0.25 for $70 including shipping. Not sure what machining costs would be - a few hundred maybe. Never done a rebuild. Previous owner put in new bearings for the bottom end. Any advice?

1973 Mazda 808 Coupe

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/9/11 3:58 p.m.
Jay wrote: I love how they stamped the firing order onto the valve cover. Sure wouldn't see that anymore, us consumers aren't supposed to know what goes on inside the magic engine.

I'm trying to remember for sure, but I think the firing order is cast into the LS1 intake manifold.

If you need a rebuild, I'd be tempted to find out if the Miata engine will bolt in. You might be able to drop in a junkyard 1.6 Miata motor for the price of rebuilding the old one, and pick up a little sparkle at the same time.

ArthurDent Reader
3/9/11 4:10 p.m.

I'd love to do it. Miata motors are silly expensive and quite uncommon here though. There are JDM ones for reasonable but then I'd be missing transmission, ECU and probably a million little bits that would nickel and dime me to death. I'll see how it runs once I get the starter. Maybe I can get through the summer then deal with it.

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/9/11 4:54 p.m.

Then grab an Escort GT motor or a Kia Sephia GS motor - same thing in a transverse package. Plug a dizzy into the back and a carb on the side, voila. No ECU. I don't know how much the B series and your motor share.

I don't know if the bolt pattern fits your transmission. It might. It's certainly worth doing some rooting around to see if it will.

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/9/11 6:44 p.m.

do you know where your towel is?

stuart in mn
stuart in mn SuperDork
3/9/11 7:46 p.m.

Looks like the same engine that was in my 1980 626. It was a good engine, although not very powerful. :) I had to replace the valve stem seals on mine once, which greatly reduced the oil consumption.

JamesMcD New Reader
3/9/11 8:50 p.m.

Do a leak-down test.

92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
3/9/11 8:53 p.m.

I think an F-series motor will be more likely to bolt in, from what i've been able to see in pictures online, and from the fact that this car shares a motor with the 626 of that time...

A BP would be cool, but i think an 8v FE "Magnum" might be easier and probably cheaper.

ArthurDent Reader
3/25/11 12:11 a.m.

Oddly the Mazda came with no horns - I guess a previous owner must have harvested them for something else. But I did have a set of horns from my old Hyundai Stellar kicking around. They weren't the self grounding ones like what the Mazda probably had but I added a ground wire to each. I even had a spare bolt in the bolt bucket so a zero dollar repair.

The red primer is showing through in places so one day I'll have to try and match the yellow and respray in the engine bay.


I finally received my newly rebuilt starter after a long wait. That it on the left, with the old one on the right. See that note about it having nine teeth? Obviously an odd ball as my old starter has eight - I stuck a bit of painter's tape on one tooth and counted them six times. Argh.


I did an order of brake parts from another place and ended up with four sets of front brake pads and nothing for the rear. That might have been my fault though. Argh x 2. I guess I have front brakes for life time of the car.

On a happier note I did clean up my old starter and got the car started. It works ... for now.

1 2 3 4 5
Our Preferred Partners