Mazda RX-3

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Mazda RX3
Mazda RX-3
Also calledMazda Savanna
SuccessorMazda RX-7
Classsports car
Body style(s)2-door coupé
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
LayoutFR layout
Wheelbase2286 mm (90 in)
Length4064 mm (160 in)
Width1600 mm (63 in)
Curb weight884 kg (1949 lb)
RelatedMazda Familia
ManualsService Manual

The Mazda RX-3 was an automobile sold in the 1970s. It was intended to be smaller and sportier than its brother, the RX-2/Capella Rotary. It was available from September, 1971 through 1978 in coupé, sedan, and station wagon forms. It was based on the compact Mazda Familia and was sold in Japan as the Mazda Savanna. Sold from 1972 through 1978 in the United States, the RX-3 was extremely successful.

It originally used a 10A rotary engine like the Mazda R100, but American cars shared the larger 12A engine from the RX-2.

  • Front Track: 1295 mm (51 in)
  • Rear Track: 1295 mm (51 in)

The Aero Design DG-1 racing aircraft used two RX-3 engines, each driving a propeller - one at the front, the other at the rear of the aircraft.


The Savanna/RX-3 was the next Mazda racing entry, following up the success of the Cosmo and Familia Rotary. The Savanna debuted with a win at the September, 1971 "Fuji 500" race.

The cars battled with Nissan's Skyline on the Japanese Grand Prix in 1972, winning the touring car category there and preventing the GT-R from winning 50 consecutive races. The cars continued to be competitive, claiming over 100 victories in 1976, and continue in club racing today.

In Australia the RX-3 proved very successful both on and off the race track. One of many RX-3s racing in the 1975 Bathurst 1000 caused more than a worried look after placing fifth outright and 1st in its class for the second consecutive year after its initial class win in 1974. The RX-3 dominated the class C in 1975 holding 4 of the top 5 positions.


The 1972 RX-3 was powered by the 10A in Japan, Australia and Europe but got the larger 12A from the RX-2 for the rest of the world. Its performance was actually slightly lower than the RX-2 due to greater weight. The 1972 RX-3 was the first rotary-powered station wagon.

Engine output was 110 hp (82 kW) and 100 ft·lbf (135 Nm). 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) time was 10.8 seconds, and the car ran a 17.1 second quarter-mile (400 m).


The Savanna was updated in June 1973 for 1974. Mazda put the new 13B "AP" single-distributor engine in the RX-3. The body was also updated. It was refreshed again in 1975 with a "REAPS-5" engine, and dropped in 1978 to make room for the new Mazda RX-7.


  • 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. 
  • New York Rotary Association - New Yorks Biggest Rotary Engine Auto Club (NYRA)