Ben Custard profile picture Ben Custard a month ago 0
Used Cars

Why Wouldn't You Want A Rotary-Swapped Mazda 1200 Restomod?

This petite stunner is coming up for auction next week, having had a full restoration and a rotary engine upgrade

Remind me later
Mazda - Why Wouldn't You Want A Rotary-Swapped Mazda 1200 Restomod? - Used Cars

Mazda is on a roll with its styling at the moment, with the current Mazda3 arguably being one of the best looking hatchbacks on sale. It clearly has good genes, as this Mazda 1200 coupe - an indirect ancestor to the 3 - is a roughly four-metre-long slice of Japanese beauty. There were saloon and pickup versions, but this coupe is surely the most desirable body shape.

This 1969 example has been treated to a full restoration, and it looks sublime. Everything’s just so dinky compared to a modern coupe, with no superfluous design flourishes to it. Simple lines, lots of brightwork and squared-off rear wheel arches are all from the golden age of car design (it’s far from the only 1960s car to still look great today).

Mazda - Why Wouldn't You Want A Rotary-Swapped Mazda 1200 Restomod? - Used Cars

Got five minutes? It’s well worth looking through the 111 photos provided by the seller on Collecting Cars. The seats in particular look absurdly comfy, while the dials are wrapped up in a cockpit-style cluster that just looks really cool. Front disc brakes were fitted from the factory, too.

This particular car has also been treated to a rotary engine swap. The original 1.2-litre straight-four engine produced just over 50bhp and, while the rotary is technically the same displacement, it’s nearly twice as powerful. Probably a lot thirstier and, dare we say it, perhaps more likely to go wrong.

Mazda - Why Wouldn't You Want A Rotary-Swapped Mazda 1200 Restomod? - Used Cars

The 12A rotary engine has come from a late-1980s first-generation Mazda RX-7, and produces 99bhp; good for 0-62mph in a nippy 9.2 seconds in the RX-7. But it should be even quicker in this 1200 coupe, seeing as it weighed around 870kg from the factory (around 200kg less than the RX-7). Oh, and it’s got a five-speed manual gearbox from a later Savanna RX-7.

Apparently this car has only covered 20,000 miles, although it’s not clear on which engine. It’s up for sale in Sydney, Australia, and, at the time of writing, the top bid is at $10,200 AUD (just over £5,700).

Mazda - Why Wouldn't You Want A Rotary-Swapped Mazda 1200 Restomod? - Used Cars

That doesn’t seem like an awful lot of money for a restomodded, sleek coupe from the 1960s. The Mazda 1200 isn’t a particularly well-known coupe, sure, but it’s not a million miles away from the stylish looks of the VW Karmann Ghia.

Would you drive this Mazda 1200? Tell us in the comments.