Gateway Classic Cars Houston Showroom is excited to offer this very nice Sonic Bronze 1979 Mazda RX-7. Since auto writer Don Sherman provides such an appropriate period synopsis of the first RX-7s, in an article he penned about his own ’79 RX-7 experience in September 2010 for MotorTrend magazine, we’ll quote it directly: “Mazda’s timing was perfect. In the late 1970s, British and Italian sports car makers were hanging by their fingernails, C3 Corvettes were aging ungracefully, Datsun’s lovable Z-Car was evolving into the foppish 280ZX, and Porsche’s 924 suffered from a hodgepodge of Volkswagen and Audi components. So, the Mazda RX-7 that arrived in the spring of 1978 (as an early ’79 model) was the answer to unspoken sports car dreams: it was attractive, fun to drive, and — with a sticker as low as $6395 — bargain priced. As a bonus, the RX-7 was powered by a rotary engine, which at the time was only one step down from a turbine as a source of wonder and amazement.”

We couldn’t agree more with what Don said! This RX-7 is also somewhat of a rare bird: the Sonic Bronze color was only available in the RX-7’s first year (1979), and the matching plaid-trimmed cloth seats were also a relative rarity in the early RX-7’s, because most came with vinyl seats with no cloth inserts. According to its current owner, this one was produced in May 1978, and was the 7779th RX-7 built for the U.S. market, based on documentation he has on the car. Other indicators that this is a very early 1st gen RX-7 include the driver’s side-only side view mirror (later 1st year RX-7s were shipped with two side view mirrors as standard equipment); the Japanese “tuning on the left, volume on the right” radio controls layout [the Japanese logic was that drivers were more prone to changing radio stations, vs. making volume adjustments, so they put the tuning knob closest to the driver; but later cars adopted the more common (in the U.S.) “volume on the left/tuning on the right” radio control layout]; and the fact that the hood support stanchion is on the right side (rather than on the left, as found in later production cars). This is a nicely preserved very early first production year example of the car that saved the Wankel rotary engine (for a while) at Mazda. It appears to have been left pretty much intact since it was first sold in the U.S., with a 1.1L rotary engine under the hood, 3-speed automatic transmission, Aluminum Wheels, AM/FM/Cassette audio system, Power Brakes, Radial Tires, and Seatbelts. About the only changes to it are that the radiator has been replaced, and the Air Conditioning has been converted to R134a (however, it is not blowing cold). If you collect RX-7s, you’ll want this one.

Price: $16,500

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States