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£ 25,000

Mazda RX3 Rotary engine ex Mark Hales - SOLD

RM Sotherby's

This is now SOLD. Search for similar items.


Last raced in 1981 by Mark Hales (he built the car circa 1978) and been in storage since

Recommissioned over past 18 months for next owner to choose a race series

Ready to run-in, ‘peripheral port’ rebuilt race-spec engine using 12a era correct base

Has 12a front cover, rx8 housing and rotors, FD centre and rear, on downdraught 51mm IDA twin-choke carb fully jetted to suit. Built by rotary guru by Carl Hayward (who owned this very car for 25 years) with an estimated 300bhp.

Whilst researching its history, I spoke to Mark Hales and got some info, Mark Hales:

"I built the car somewhere around 1977/ 8/ 9. I used most of a car that had been raced by a guy called Terry Maine who was one of the regular RX3 racers at the time. Spike Winter built a 13B, I used a Ford Rocket-type gearbox and an English axle, supported on a wacky A-bracket. The front end was Ford Escort struts with very long arms, hence the Jack Knight Hillman Imp steering rack. I built it for the Modified Saloon Car category, which was reasonably well supported at the time, and the car was always quick, but I’d chosen 13-inch wheels and the tyre supply was becoming limited. The option of used Formula 2 fronts which I’d relied on for years, had dried up. Had lots of poles, and led several races, but I didn’t manage a win. Should have – at Brands, and Silverstone in particular. Decided then that a big banger was a more likely option to garner sponsorship, so I bought the only works Group 2 Rover Vitesse.”

Ive included a picture of Mark Hales in action at Cadwell in the early ‘80s

The RX3 was then sold to a Mr John Coles in the early ‘80s. I believe that the engine and gearbox were removed by John as it was then purchased by Carl Hayward (rotary guru and engine builder) in the mid-80s and has resided in Carl’s ownership up until early 2021 when I purchased it, it still sat on its suspension and brakes etc from 1981, as Mark had left it complete with the crazy 'A-frames' etc. mentioned above.

As this RX3 has not turned a wheel in anger since 1981, some work had been carried out by Carl in recent years to try and return this interesting car to the track. I purchased it to finish the build and get it ready for the next owner as it is so rare it needs to be back on the track somewhere!

It has never been road registered but can be applied for under first reg forms and would be on an age related plate etc if its staying in the UK. It was supplied by Mazda UK and went straight onto the track in 1974 from what we can find out.
Recap of the recent work:

  • Ready to run-in, peripheral-port rebuilt race-spec engine on downdraught 51mm IDA. Twin-choke carb fully jetted to suit, built by rotary guru by Carl Hayward with an estimated 300bhp. Has 12a front cover, rx8 housing and rotors, FD centre and rear. Its a beast :)
  • Has an RX7 FD gearbox with a lightweight flywheel and a new clutch
  • New custom race dash with Racetech gauges and all the various switches to operate everything, fuel pump, fan, lights etc. Kill switch inside and outside all new all working.
  • New race rad
  • Custom exhaust (does sit a bit low in the pix but it is better now as shocks have been rebuilt since)
  • Painted and decalled as it was when Mark raced it
  • New OEM old stock rear lights
  • Ally bonnet and boot with pins etc.
  • 3-piece lightweight wheels stripped, refurbed etc. and all excellent
  • New seat, harness and wheel
  • New plumbing for brakes/ clutch etc
  • Dry stored all this time and clearly has not been exposed to elements as it’s all rot free and great solid car
  • Whole car was checked over by Gugielielmi Motorsport at the end of 2022, work included:
  • Every nut and bolt was checked, all suspension was removed and reset to correct position and tighteness eg race car prep checks
  • Rear axle is Atlas LSD with Ford Hubs, Front hubs are also Ford
  • Shocks (Ledas) have been rebuilt with adjusters added to the front to help set up (rears already had adjusters)
  • New pads etc and everything plumbed in with new pipes/hoses, has AP vented discs and calipers from period (expensive!) with drums at rear all rebuilt etc
  • LSD Diff checked and new seals and oil
  • New battery tray and mountings in passenger side

Potentially eligible for a variety of high-quality events and invitation entries to races, this is certainly an interesting and very rare proposition. Would make a great race/ sprint/ drift and very unique car to stand out from the crowd in.

She may welll be desired by Goodwood Festival of Speed etc as the only one in the UK and one of three we can find in Europe!

I have videos of it running, sounds epic. It will need running in. It is as it was in 1981 albeit with a fresh beast of an engine so may need amendments to suspension, brakes depending on what next owners plans are. We wanted to leave it as it was and just make sure it all worked hence the recommission approach. Would need papers for any race series etc

Very very rare car with some interesting history. Priced to reflect the need to do some updates for next chapter of its life so potentially a very realistic way into a unique car for somebody

Happy to answer any questions and assist with any overseas shipping needs etc

Keyword Search Terms:

Mazda RX3. Rotary. Historic race car. classic race car. Goodwood. Silverstone.