Mazda Grand Familia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Mazda RX-3)
Jump to: navigation, search
Mazda Grand Familia
Mazda Grand Familia 20150118-1.JPG
Mazda Grand Familia Coupe
Manufacturer Mazda
Also called Mazda 808
Mazda 818
Mazda Mizer
Mazda RX-3
Mazda Savanna
Kia Brisa II
Kia K303
Production 1971–1978
Assembly Hiroshima Assembly, Hiroshima, Japan
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupé
4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Related Mazda Familia
Engine 1272 cc TC I4 (STC/ST3AV)
1490 cc UB I4 (SU4)
1586 cc NA I4 (SN4)
982 cc 10A-0866 Wankel
1146 cc 12A Wankel
1146 cc 12B Wankel
Wheelbase 2,310 mm (90.9 in)
Length 4,075 mm (160.4 in)
Width 1,595 mm (62.8 in)
Height 1,375 mm (54.1 in)
Curb weight 930 kg (2,050 lb)
Predecessor Mazda R100
Successor Mazda RX-7

The Mazda Grand Familia is an automobile which was produced by Mazda in Japan from 1971 to 1978. It was sold as the Mazda 808 in some export markets including Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, and as the Mazda 818 in many others. The body style configurations offered were a two-door coupé, a four-door sedan, and a five-door station wagon. The Grand Familia offered only inline four cylinder engines. The largely identical rotary-powered versions were marketed as the Mazda Savanna in Japan, with export markets taking this model as the Mazda RX-3.

The Grand Familia/Savanna were originally intended to replace the smaller Mazda Familia to better compete with the Toyota Corolla and the Nissan Sunny. With the onset of the 1970s energy crisis however, the Familia sold better due to its fuel economy. Since Mazda had already developed the Grand Familia/Savanna, it was sent to North America, while it was considered in Japan as an alternative to the Corolla clone, the Toyota Sprinter, and the Mitsubishi Lancer.

Standard engine[edit]

Mazda 808 coupé


This generation was available in coupé, sedan, and station wagon forms. Engines were inline four-cylinder units and included a 1,272 cc and a 1,490 cc option, called the "Grand Familia S" in Japan. The 1.5 was replaced by a larger, 1,586 cc, four in November 1973, an engine which had already been used in some export markets (like the US) for over two years. In the Japanese market, a myriad of equipment levels were available, ranging from the very basic 1300 Standard to the most luxurious 1500 GLII ("GFII" for the coupé).[1] Originally, only a four-speed manual transmission was available.[1]

Later desmogged versions were sold as the "Grand Familia AP", with AP standing for "Anti Pollution". Power outputs for these models were considerably lower.

Engines (Japan):

  • 1971–1978 – 1.3 L (1272 cc) TC I4, 2 barrel, 87 PS (64 kW) at 6000 rpm, 11.0 kg·m (108 N·m) at 3500 rpm
    • AP: 72 PS (53 kW) at 5700 rpm, 10.5 kg·m (103 N·m) at 3500 rpm[2]
  • 1971–1973 – 1.5 L (1490 cc) UB I4, 92 PS (68 kW) at 5800 rpm, 13.2 kg·m (129 N·m) at 4000 rpm
  • 1973–1978 – 1.6 L (1586 cc) NA I4, 100 PS (74 kW), 14.0 kg·m (137 N·m)
    • AP: 90 PS (66 kW) at 6000 rpm, 13.0 kg·m (127 N·m) at 3500 rpm[2]

North America[edit]

The Mazda 808 was sold in the US in 1972 and 1973, then updated and sold through 1977. This name was given only to the 1.6 L version of the Grand Familia. The 808 cost $2,997, which was some $200 above the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. The car came with a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. Early models used the same four-headlight nose as the rotary model.

Engine: 1972–1977 – 1.6 L (1586 cc) NA I4, single-barrel, 70 hp (52 kW)/82 ft·lbf (111 N·m)

For 1976 and 1977, the 1.3 L version was sold as the "Mazda Mizer" in the United States. Engine: 1976–1977 – 1.3 L (1272 cc) TC I4, twin-barrel, 69 hp (51 kW)/67 ft·lbf (92 N·m)

South Korea (Kia Brisa II/K303)[edit]

From October 1975 the Grand Familia was built in South Korea by Kia Motors, with the 1272 cc 72 PS (53 kW) engine and four-door bodywork. Originally it was sold as the Brisa II, alongside the smaller Brisa, based on the Familia Presto. The early cars had rectangular lights, but in December 1976 an updated version with single round headlights was introduced, called the Kia K303. A station wagon model of the K303 was added in 1978.[3] Production ended in 1981, when the license expired. As part of a nationwide industrial plan Kia was then excluded from building passenger cars until 1986.

Rotary engine: Mazda Savanna[edit]

Mazda Savanna GT (S102)
Mazda Savanna GT (S102)

The name Mazda Savanna (sometimes incorrectly spelled "Savannah") was used on the rotary-powered model sold in Japan, as a coupe, sedan, and wagon. Internationally it was called the Mazda RX-3. It was smaller and sportier than its brother, the Capella Rotary/RX-2, and was largely identical to its conventional inline-four donor model, the Mazda Grand Familia. It was available from September 1971 through 1978 in Super Deluxe coupé, Deluxe sedan, and station wagon forms. The Super Deluxe coupé was heavier (884 kg vs 864 kg) and carried an optional body stripe, clock, rear defogger and the centre console/high armrest and collapsible steering column. Sold from 1972 through 1978 in the United States, the RX-3 version was extremely successful.

It originally used a 10A rotary engine like the Mazda Familia Rotary Coupe/Mazda R100, but US cars shared the larger 12A engine from the RX-2. Performance-wise the 10A RX-3 was not able to match the RX-2 with 12A. With a weight-to-power ratio of 10.9 kg per kW compared to the RX-2's 9.9 kg per kW, the RX-3 was slower. The 12A RX-3 wasn't able to match the RX-2 with 12A either, despite its lighter weight. The smaller engined version has the internal model code S102, while the larger one is known as the S124.[4]

In Japan, the installation of a rotary engine gave Japanese buyers a financial advantage when it came time to pay the annual road tax in that they bought a car that was more powerful than a traditional inline engine, but without having the penalty for having an engine in the higher 1.5 litre tax bracket.

S102 (1971–1977)[edit]

The first home-market Savanna appeared in 1971 and lasted until 1977. It was sold internationally when installed with the rotary engine as the Mazda RX-3 and was otherwise largely identical to the inline-four-equipped Mazda Grand Familia. A station wagon version, the Savanna/RX-3 Sports Wagon, was sold for just one year, from 1972 to 1973, when it was replaced by the Luce/RX-4 wagon. All Series S102 came with the 982 cc (2x491 cc) 10A. While the larger S124 replaced the S102 in Japan and several other markets, the S102 remained in production for some markets for a while longer, being available in the United Kingdom until the 1975 model year at least.[5]

The 1972 RX-3 was powered by the 10A in Japan, Australia, and Europe, while other markets got the larger 12A from the RX-2. The 1972 RX-3 was the first rotary-powered station wagon.

The 10A engine output was 105 hp (78 kW) and 100 lb·ft (135 Nm). 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time was 10.8 seconds, and the car ran a 17.6 second quarter-mile (400 m)(16.3 for the RX-2). In 1972 all rotary engines had their die-cast rotor housing coated with a new process: The new Transplant Coating Process (TCP) featured sprayed-on steel which is then coated with chrome, giving greatly increased engine life.

S124 (1973–1978)[edit]

Mazda Savanna (S124; Series 3)

In late 1973, Mazda released the Series S124 in Japan. Externally the entire front end sheet metal was revamped and a different set of taillights with twin brake lights were included (commonly known as Savanna tail lights in Australia). The Series 2 RX-3 hit Australia in March 1974 powered by the 12A single distributor (12B). Earlier 12A engines featured dual distributors. The starter motor was also relocated in the later engines from the top of the engine to the left hand rear side. Other internal 12A changes included moving from dual row side seals to single row and significant changes to apex seal design. The Series 2 was slower than the 10A series 1 down the quarter mile even with the 1,146 cc 12A's greater capacity and 15 percent more power. The Rotary Engine Anti Pollution System (REAPS) hurt torque. As a result, the Series 2 was slow off the mark but had a better top speed. The loss of torque plus a 44-kilo weight increase slowed the series 2 to a 17.8 second quarter mile. Additional exterior colors for the Series 2 like Bottle Green and Alexandria gold added appeal. Interior changes were minor and included a change from the km/h/mph speedometer to a 200 km/h speedometer (180 km/h for the 808), an exhaust overhead light, a 50 Amp ammeter (up from 30 Amps) plus design changes to the trims and seat belts. Notably the radio antenna was enhanced by a twin post (rather than single) design. The 1974 model kept the three spoke plastic wood grain steering wheel; the 1975 received a fake leather wheel with slots cut into its three spokes.

12A Engine output was 130 hp (97 kW) and 115 lb·ft (156 Nm). 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time was 10.8 seconds, and the car ran a 17.7 second quarter-mile (400 m).

The Savanna was updated in June 1973 for 1974. Mazda put the new 12A "AP" single-distributor engine in the RX-3. The body was also updated. It was refreshed again in 1975 with a "REAPS-5" engine.

In 1976 the Series 3 RX-3 was released in US and Japan but not Australia or New Zealand. There weren't as many changes this time around, but the few made were significant. The nose cone wore a new lower spoiler-type lip, the gimmick rotor badges were replaced with a simple Mazda badge on the grille. The RX-3 was finally dropped in 1978 to make room for the new Mazda RX-7

Of all the pre-RX-7 rotary vehicles Mazda built (930,000 in total), the RX-3 was by far the most popular. Of all the RX-3's built, the coupe exceeded 50 percent of total sale – all facts which influenced the design profile of the RX-7.

The rotary engine had financial advantages to Japanese consumers in that the engine displacement remained below 1.5 litres, a significant determination when paying the Japanese annual road tax which kept the obligation affordable to most buyers, while having more power than the traditional inline engines.


The Savanna/RX-3 was the next Mazda racing entry, following up the success of the Cosmo and Familia Rotary. The Savanna debuted with a win at the September, 1971 "Fuji 500" race.

The cars battled with Nissan's Skyline on the Japanese Grand Prix in 1972, winning the touring car category there and preventing the GT-R from winning 50 consecutive races. The cars continued to be competitive, claiming over 100 victories in 1976, and continue in club racing today.

In Australia the RX-3 proved very successful both on and off the race track. One of many RX-3s racing in the 1975 Bathurst 1000 caused more than a worried look after placing fifth outright and 1st in its class for the second consecutive year after its initial class win in 1974. The RX-3 dominated the class C in 1975 holding 4 of the top 5 positions.

In North America, the RX-3 had much success in SCCA and IMSA competition. Many RX-3s are still competing and one in particular is the SCCA Super Production car driven by Irish driver John Cummins. The RX3 was replaced with the Mazda Rx-7


  1. ^ a b 微笑のグランドファミリア [Grand Familia Smile (brochure)] (in Japanese), Toyo Kogyo Co, 1971 
  2. ^ a b 自動車ガイドブック [1976/1977 Automobile Guide Book] (in Japanese), 23, Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1976-10-20, pp. 140–141, 0053-760023-3400 
  3. ^ Cielo. "기아자동차 브리사 Kia Brisa 1974년-1981년" [Kia Motors Brisa, 1974–1981]. 국산 자동차 이것저것 [Korean car miscellania]. Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  4. ^ 自動車ガイドブック [1973/1974 Japanese motor vehicles guide book] (in Japanese), 20, Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1973-10-30, pp. 140–141 
  5. ^ Mazda Vehicles Range 1975, Mazda Cars Imports (GB) Limited, October 1974, pp. 15–16 
  • Jan P. Norbye (1973). "Watch out for Mazda!". Automobile Quarterly. XI.1: 50–61. 

External links[edit]