A Used Mazda RX-8 Could Be a Cheap Project for Daring Mechanics

Finding cool and affordable cars depends on how much patience you have and what problems you are willing to deal with. You would think that years of digging up and repairing various piles would wear down a person, but the experience often has the opposite effect. The more enthusiasts and do-it-yourselfers dive into their automotive passions, the more they are willing to put up with and invest in fun cars with known issues. Throwing money at a Mazda RX-8 is a perfect example.

I’m kind of the poster child for that mantra with my old Land Rover Discovery, and my simple strategy worked. Although Discos are known to have problems, the key is to get into the car on the cheap, maintain a deep-rooted fear of breaking down, do whatever you can to keep it reliable, and then enjoy. the fact that you get a ton of driving fun for little money.

It seems that the path to optimal, cheap ownership of the RX-8 is similar: buy one with known issues for an ultra-cheap price. It looks like non-racers can go anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the condition of the rest of the car. These could be bargains, especially considering that a running example sporting a power plant in unknown condition seems to fetch around $5,000+ these days. YouTuber and Rotary aficionado Rob Dahm demonstrates this perfectly with a video he recently posted on his channel:

The comment sections of RX-8 content are volatile to say the least. We’ve all seen people condemning apex seals, deep hatred for the RX-8’s terrible fuel economy, and remarks about all of Mazda’s other seal problems. The latter is the focus issue in the video above.

Apparently all that was wrong with this little Renesis 13B engine was a water seal that popped and was leaking coolant inside the engine. Rob demonstrates that the mechanical simplicity and small size of these motors make them easy to pull, open and see what’s wrong. There are special strategies for doing this, but it’s nothing a hobbyist working in the garage with a decent variety of tools can’t do.

All this to say that there are still some cheap RX-8s out there that are ripe for the pickin’. There are still people out there who don’t want to pay someone to trade in the worn or broken Renesis for an otherwise clean rear-wheel-drive sports car. I don’t care what kind of hate they get, these cars are exciting. Anyone who’s ever given it a good shot can attest to its throaty engine tone, decent power, great inputs and brilliant chassis.

If you buy one that has known issues, there will be two available routes to take. One option is to remove the motor, break it in, see what happens, rebuild it, and reseal it. The second option is to buy a professionally rebuilt engine, like new.

Watch the video above and consider uncovering potential on Craigslist. A ton of fun can be had with something that costs $7,000 or less, net. For further reference, also find out how the story continues:

Finally, if reading this has sparked your interest in RX-8s but you’re not quite ready to dive into shopping for a cart car, Mazda’s digital archives might still inspire you. more. Or at least give you a chance to appreciate more angles of the unique car.

Lee J. Murillo