MAZDA RX3 Coupe
March of 1972, the Mazda RX3 Coupe was released in Australia – seven months after Mazda Japan had launched the RX-3 and the Familia/808/818 (1600cc/1800cc) domestically.
With the addition of three new body styles, the rotary line up now totalled nine choices internationally. Following the ‘peoples rotary’ theory, the first rotary station wagon was made available in Japan and in the US. The Australian market (and New Zealand) was less fortunate. Not only missing out on the wagon but the 130hp 12A. Australian-model RX-3s came in two bodies – the Deluxe sedan and the Super Deluxe coupe.
Equipment differences between the RX-3 Deluxe sedan and the Super Deluxe coupe were many. The coupe carried an optional body stripe, clock, rear defogger and the centre console/high armrest and collapsible steering column. All Series 1 RX-3s came with the 982cc 10A. The manual sedan cost AUS$3299 (3-speed automatic transmission was a $341 option) and the coupe AUS$3479. Comparing the coupe in price, Mazda priced the RX-3 against cars like the 190-hp Holden Torana GTR XU-1 ($3455), the 144-hp Ford Capri GT V6 ($3490), and the 218-hp Valiant RT Charger ($3395). Fortunately price didn’t play an overwhelming role in RX-3 sales – the rotary engine was Mazda’s main selling point.
Performance-wise the 10A RX-3 wasn’t able to match the RX-2 with 12A. With a power-to-weight ratio of 10.9 kg per kW compared to the RX-2’s 9.9 kg per kW, the RX-3 was slower. Aussie motoring journalists did well to push 17.6 second quarters at 76mph out of the lighter sedan (16.3 for the RX-2).