Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today being Labor Day here in the States, it seems fitting to have a Nice Price or Crack Pipe candidate that needs some work. This RX7 might be just the ticket. That is, as long as we don’t belabor the price.

Last Friday we looked at a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDI wagon that appeared to be very well presented, appreciably stock, and seemed long loved and well cared for. It was also kitted in a manner that I think makes it the most desirable of the MK IVs, and which could see the car appreciating in the near future.


Few of you appreciated the in the present $6,500 asking price however, and the car fell in a massive 73-percent Crack Pipe loss. So much for my investment advice.

Labor Day is the nominal end of the summer season here in the U.S.. It’s also apparently the delimiter of when it’s acceptable to wear white shoes and belt, however owning neither I can’t attest to the ramifications of violating that rule.

What I do know is that a lot of people get the day off today, and typically spend it drinking cold beer and eating hot barbecue. Intermixed with that, some of us take advantage of the time off and nice weather to work on our cars. I know that’s my agenda.

Cars are machines, and machines are made up of many parts, and those many parts tend to wear out from use. Some parts are sturdier than others, but given enough time and use, nearly everything will eventually give up the ghost.


That’s not a bad thing, it’s just a fact of life. It also means a little sleeve-rolling and wrench turning are required now and then to make things right. Usually when things aren’t right, they become devalued, and that’s just the case with this 1982 Mazda RX7 GSX.


The seller claims that the engine needs new apex seals and that he bought the car thinking that their replacement would be a two-beer job, i.e. a piece of cake. It was only after the purchase that he discovered just how wrong he was. Also, beer and cake... um yeah, I’d do that.

He says in his ad that he’s a college student and hence doesn’t have the time, money, space, or tools to tackle the job properly. Good for him for having made that decision before getting too far down the rabbit hole and causing more headaches for the next owner to overcome.


He’s pretty forthcoming in his ad, noting a number of the car’s issues win unvarnished detail. Those include door handles that presently don’t handle, some broken and/or missing interior trim, and similarly some exterior pieces that have gone AWOL. The big deal here however is the 12A under the hood. Here’s what the seller says is going on there:

The motor probably needs a rebuild.

It starts with the choke and idles decently until it’s warm, then cuts out. May not need the motor rebuilt, could be a fuel delivery issue. The previous owner did tell me it has been rebuilt in the past.


Okay, that sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. The work to rebuild this engine isn’t beyond the capabilities of the average backyard mechanic. And, if time is of the essence, there are a ton of shops that have rebuilt mills sitting on the shelf ready to go. There’s a premium to be paid for the latter option however. That would probably set you back an additional two-grand over the parts and self-services needed to bring this one back to life.


Alternatively, maybe the engine is in fact just fine, and as the seller notes the stalling is related to some issue with fuel delivery. Or, it could be a heat-related short in the electrical system. At any rate, an afternoon of under-hood sleuthing would probably narrow down what this car needs and what it would cost.

And it seems to be worth all that investigating too. The body appears straight and free from rust, while the interior presents as worn but not too whacked. The seats could stand some restitching and maybe a dye job, but the dash is intact and crack-free. This is a five-speed model and being a GSX is decked out with leather, a big sunroof, and most importantly, a graphic equalizer for the stereo. Sweet!


Tires seem to be mismatched and the wrong size in back, but hold air so you can roll the car where needed. There’s 98,000 miles showing and the car comes with a clean title.


As it sits, this is definitely a project car, and as such, you’d expect a sizable discount with its purchase. The price is $1,800 and it’s now your job to decide if that’s enough of a discount on this car owing to its condition and desirability. What do you think, is this RX7 worth that kind of cash? Or, is $1,800 too much for the labor needed to bring it back from the near-dead?

You decide!


Morgantown, OH Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

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