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The MAZDA RX4 (referred to as the Luce Rotary in Japan) is a uni-body construction Wankle engine automobile manufactured and sold by Mazda Motor Corporation, during the 1970s. The RX-4 was a larger, more stylish, more futuristic offering than its rotary-powered antecedents, the Capella-based RX-2 or the Familia-based RX-3. The RX-4 shared the Luce/929 platform, replacing the R130 in October 1972, and was produced through October 1977. Its predecessor, the R130, a replacement (the rotary Luce Legato) was not sold in North America. Mazda marketed the RX-4 as sporty, luxurious and futuristic, boasting best of both worlds with respect to performance and style. The RX-4 gave Mazda a well need boost in popularity and an unparallelled exclusivity, its Wankel engine wholly unique unto Mazda.

Initially available in hardtop, Mazda RX4 coupe or sedan, an RX-4 station wagon was launched, 1973, to replace Mazda’s Savanna Wagon. Under the RX-4’s hood was Mazda’s potent 130 hp 6 rotor (97 kW) 12A Wankle rotory engine. But, in 1974, for export to markets where anti-emission legislation were ramping up, the 12A was replaced by Mazda’s 125 hp (93 kW) 13B. Mazda’s new AP (e.g., “anti-pollution”) variant boasted significant gains in efficiency, combustion and fuel efficiency, but a flagging, dubious reputation for poor cold-start performance, and a nagging service issues with respect to its seals.

Mazda’s RHD RX-4 was sold in through the 1979 model year in South Africa, with Mazda’s more potent 12A engine.

The RX-4 employed a McPherson strut independent suspension geometry, front; solid live-axle, rear. Braking was hydraulic, disc in front; drums rear. Curb weight 2,620 lb (1,188 kg), wheelbase fairly short at 99 in (2510 mm), Mazda’s RX-4 earned accolades as the best handling two-door sedan in North America. Until the advent of Saab’s turbo, Mazda’s RX-4 was faster than all four-cylinder automobiles of its time. Though not necessarily in acceleration, Mazda’s RX-4 eclipsed the likes of Toyota’s Celica, Porsche’s 914, Chevrolet’s Cosworth Vega, Ford Motor Corporation’s Pinto Based Mustang II, and BMW’s 2002 with respect to style, refinement, packaging, quality, and general overall appeal.

It’s bodywork refreshed for the 1976 model year, Mazda’s RX4 is widely considered one of the most advanced, and beautiful cars of the 1970s.


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