If you are fortunate enough to spot a 1972 Mazda RX-2 in the wild, especially a 2-door, it’s hard not to go AWWWWWW, WHAT A CUTE WIDDLE MUSCLE CAR and rub your forehead on it. It’s adorable. Look at those tidy proportions. Those clean lines. In its day, the RX-2 was obviously trying very hard to blend in with the cool American kids who had nicknames like “Chevelle” and “Cuda” – those perennial game winning jocks who would knock the books out of little MX-2’s hands in the hallway, then pull its pants down and laugh at its weird little Wankel engine. But this RX-2 is having the last laugh: it’s still out in Brooklyn getting chicks while those Detroit bullies from high school are getting rubbed down in a garage somewhere by a silver-haired old fart named Norman.
The design still looks great after 40 years, but the RX-2 has also got character under the hood in that classic Mazda rotary engine. The 12A is not very powerful at 98 horsepower – probably enough in a car that only weighs 2200 pounds – but it’s unique. It’s also the first engine made outside of the States or Western Europe to finish the 24 Hours of LeMans. So there, it’s got race pedigree.
There’s a ton of Corvair in the rear end design, which is never a bad thing. Also digging the vents around the back glass, and the Mazda logo centered right on the trunk lid. Can’t argue with simple and economical style, on a simple and economical car. Kudos to the owner for keeping this classic going on the streets of Greenpoint.