The Mazda RX-2 was a midsize car introduced in 1970 and sold through 1978. It used a rotary engine and shared a chassis with the piston-engined Mazda Capella/616/618.
The RX-2 was really an option package for the Capella, albeit one that included a powerful rotary engine. In fact, early RX-2s were simply badged "Capella" with a small "RE" or rotor shape in the grille. The RX-2 was intended as a rotary-powered family car.
Mazda RX-2 1970
The first RX-2 (known as the Series I and II) were introduced in 1970 and replaced in 1974. They shared chassis of the Mazda Capella and used a 12A Wankel engine. They were a tremendous success due to their comparatively high power and performance. In 1970, output was 130 hp (97 kW) and 115 ft·lbf (156 Nm).
Mazda RX-2 1974
The 1974 RX-2 got the 12B engine, although it was not publicized in some markets.
Mazda RX-2 1979
Last production year of RX-2 at the South African Mazda-factory, where it was only produced with the 12A engine.
Mazda RX-2 Racing
The RX-2 was the first Wankel-powered car to be widely raced - the original Cosmo competed in just a single race. Car and Driver magazine and Racing Beat built an RX-2 race car in 1973 for the IMSA sedan series. With radically-enlarged ports (they were so large that a "bridge" of steel was required to keep the corner seals in place), the RX-2 produced 198 hp in racing trim.
The RX-2 took the pole in its first race, at Pocono, but did not finish the race due to a broken differential. Lime Rock was its third race, and the RX-2 claimed both the pole and the win. Another win came at Road Atlanta, even with a 300 lb lead weight handicap. The engine modifications were outlawed for 1974, but the RX-2 kept winning.
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