1977 Mazda Rotary Pickup 2017-06-08T10:00:18+00:00

Project Description

OVERVIEW

We are excited to introduce the newest addition to our Morrie’s Heritage rental fleet: a 1977 Mazda Rotary Engine Pick Up. This beautiful REPU has just gone through an almost 5-year overhaul and restoration that has made it one of the nicest specimens of this truck we have seen. The most notable feature is the paint job, which is the original Mazda Skyish Blue. When you look at the stance of the truck, you’ll notice it sits a bit lower than stock based on the Bilstein coilovers up front, de-arched springs with 2 leafs removed in the rear, and adjustable air shocks.
The wheels are from a newer model Nissan Frontier pickup, and the original interior was replaced by Miata seats with speakers still in the headrests. Working your way under the hood you’ll notice the original motor, which was rebuilt by a performance rotary shop in WA around 40k miles ago. Recently added was a 45 DCOE weber carb, racing beat intake manifold, and custom exhaust to give the truck a nice rotary bark. The truck received a tune up from Jerry’s Little Car Shop in Kent, WA, which is a well-renowned rotary performance tuning shop. It has about 1,000 post-restoration miles, and we’ll be adding around 3,000 more on our trip home.

Needless to say, we are quite excited to get our hands on this truck.

OVERVIEW

We are excited to introduce the newest addition to our Morrie’s Heritage rental fleet: a 1977 Mazda Rotary Engine Pick Up. This beautiful REPU has just gone through an almost 5-year overhaul and restoration that has made it one of the nicest specimens of this truck we have seen. The most notable feature is the paint job, which is the original Mazda Skyish Blue. When you look at the stance of the truck, you’ll notice it sits a bit lower than stock based on the Bilstein coilovers up front, de-arched springs with 2 leafs removed in the rear, and adjustable air shocks.
The wheels are from a newer model Nissan Frontier pickup, and the original interior was replaced by Miata seats with speakers still in the headrests. Working your way under the hood you’ll notice the original motor, which was rebuilt by a performance rotary shop in WA around 40k miles ago. Recently added was a 45 DCOE weber carb, racing beat intake manifold, and custom exhaust to give the truck a nice rotary bark. The truck received a tune up from Jerry’s Little Car Shop in Kent, WA, which is a well-renowned rotary performance tuning shop. It has about 1,000 post-restoration miles, and we’ll be adding around 3,000 more on our trip home.

Needless to say, we are quite excited to get our hands on this truck.

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GET BEHIND THE WHEEL

$100 PER DAY

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A LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW

The Mazda B-Series pickup trucks have roots stemming all the way back to 1961 when Mazda first built these smaller pickup trucks in Japan. While the Mazda Rotary Pickup wasn’t introduced until 1974, and then only built until 1977 thereafter, these examples were sold only in the United States and Canada. This was the world’s first, as well as only Wankel engine pickup truck, (1.3-liter 13B four-barrel carbureted engine) which is really what makes these REPU (Rotary Engine Pickup) trucks so special. There was an estimated 15,000 or so REPUs built and only a few survivors have been know to make it to the current date making their home along the western coast.
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The 1977 is slightly different in that Mazda had decided to go for a redesign of the previous models by way of adding around 4 inches of cab stretch, and offering the REPU with a standard transmission. There was only around 3,000 1977 models produced and after poor sales numbers in the U.S. and Canada, Mazda pulled the plug on the Wankel-engined pickups. The Mazda B-Series went on for quite some time after all over the world, but the Rotary engine was not offered again.

The REPU, like many Mazda Rotary powered vehicles, was actually raced back in 1975 by Malcolm Smith and Jack Sreenan at the 1975 SCCA Mojave 24 Hour Rally. The REPU ended up taking an overall victory and placed itself among other Rotary powered vehicles as being a fun to drive, fast paced, and exciting vehicle to drive.

A LOOK IN THE REAR VIEW

The Mazda B-Series pickup trucks have roots stemming all the way back to 1961 when Mazda first built these smaller pickup trucks in Japan. While the Mazda Rotary Pickup wasn’t introduced until 1974, and then only built until 1977 thereafter, these examples were sold only in the United States and Canada. This was the world’s first, as well as only Wankel engine pickup truck, (1.3-liter 13B four-barrel carbureted engine) which is really what makes these REPU (Rotary Engine Pickup) trucks so special. There was an estimated 15,000 or so REPUs built and only a few survivors have been know to make it to the current date making their home along the western coast.
READ MORE

The 1977 is slightly different in that Mazda had decided to go for a redesign of the previous models by way of adding around 4 inches of cab stretch, and offering the REPU with a standard transmission. There was only around 3,000 1977 models produced and after poor sales numbers in the U.S. and Canada, Mazda pulled the plug on the Wankel-engined pickups. The Mazda B-Series went on for quite some time after all over the world, but the Rotary engine was not offered again.

The REPU, like many Mazda Rotary powered vehicles, was actually raced back in 1975 by Malcolm Smith and Jack Sreenan at the 1975 SCCA Mojave 24 Hour Rally. The REPU ended up taking an overall victory and placed itself among other Rotary powered vehicles as being a fun to drive, fast paced, and exciting vehicle to drive.

WORD ON THE STREET

Motor Trend tested this truck back in the day and found its quickness was remarkable. We were able to run 0-60 in 8.9 seconds! It had a payload of 1,350 pounds, and the highly stylized version we tested sold for $6,045 brand new.”

Tim Esterdahl, Truck Trend

“But now there’s a very different small pickup—you might even say it’s revolutionary. Up to now they were all modestly powered by American truck standards—especially so when they were loaded—and all rather noisy. What sets the Rotary apart from them, basically, is Power—lots of smooth, quiet power very much in the American idiom. And to make sure the world knows about it Mazda has emblazoned Rotary Power across this pickup’s tailgate with tape.

One doesn’t think of driving a pickup like a sports car. but we found the Rotary’s steering more precise than that of other little pickups and its handling response good enough to make brisk driving enjoyable. In the unloaded condition it understeers fairly strongly (surprisingly it isn’t very noseheavy) and begins to pick up its inside rear wheel as the cornering limit is reached. Naturally it’s not going to take to hard cornering on a bumpy road, but on a smooth one it has curve capability to equal some of the less expensive small sports sedans.”

Unknown, Road and Track

“It was an audacious vehicle at the time; now it seems almost absurd. But in the early seventies, Mazda was flying high on the strength of their rotary engine, and they were sticking it in anything that they thought those power-loving cheap-gas swilling American would buy: Little econobox RX-2, mini-GTO RX3; Luxo-rotary RX-4, the RX-7, of course. The only thing left in the cupboard was the B1800/2000 pickup. Why not? Ask OPEC.

The Rotary Pickup created a whole new class of sporty-mini-ups. And scoot it did: with the 110 hp 13B twin-rotor in the very light little truck, the MRP was a kick, once the rotors spooled up. Low end torque on these engines was always weak, so this was not designed for truckin’ in the usual sense. For that matter, the Rotary Pickup was strictly a North-America only vehicle. In other parts of the world, these trucks earned their living; without a rotary, thank you.”

Unknown, Curbside Classic

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