Mazda RX-4

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1975 Mazda RX-4

The RX-4 (referred to as the Luce Rotary in Japan) is a uni-body construction Wankel 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 unparalleled exclusivity, its Wankel engine wholly unique unto Mazda.

Initially available in hardtop, coupé 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 2 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 RX-4 is widely considered one of the most advanced, and beautiful cars of the 1970s.

United States[eedit | eedit soorce]

For the United States, the RX-4 was sold from 1974 through 1978. When the RX-7 debuted, the Wankel 13B rotory produced 110 hp (82 kW) and 117 lb·ft (159 N·m)} torque, in United States emissions compliance. Base price $4,295, with automatic transmission ($270) and air conditioning ($395), which were expensive options.

Road & Track magazine heralded the RX-4's improved fuel economy, and price compared, to the RX-3. This was notable, as the Wankel engine had suffered through the mid 1970s, with a reputation as a gas-guzzler. For the 1970s, in spite of its reputation for being slow off-the-line under initial acceleration, the RX-4's performance was deemed outstanding. In a 1974 side-by-side comparison test of six wagons, Mazda's RX-4 recorded an 11.7 second sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h), and 18 seconds (77.5 mph) in the quarter quarter-mile. The magazine noted that the wagon's brakes suffered from the extra 300 lb (136 kg) weight, compared to the RX-4 coupé.

Of Mazda's many accolaides, their RX-4 was scored on Road & Track magazine's ten-best list for "Best Sports Sedan, $3500-6500" in 1975.

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Yamaguchi, Jack K. (1985). The New Mazda RX-7 and Mazda Rotary Engine Sports Cars. St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN 0-312-69456-3. 
  • Jan P. Norbye (1973). "Watch out for Mazda!". Automobile Quarterly. XI.1: 50–61. 

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