I bought this Samurai from an Ebay auction for $1250 with a 12a rotary engine swapped in place of the stock 1.3L 4 cylinder. The only catch was it was located in Florida. According to the ad, it ran rough but was driveable, so I flew down to Florida with the intention of driving it back. “Driveable” was an exaggeration, so after about 30 miles I gave up, parked it, and returned home.
For attempt #2, I tried to return to Florida with a used replacement carb for the 12A, but the airline wouldn’t let me check it and I gave up again.
The plan for attempt #3 was to drive to Florida with a friend and tow the Samurai back. We bought a trailer from the same seller I bought the Samurai from and made it just about 60 miles before a tire on the trailer blew, which jack-knifed the trailer and nearly flipped the Cherokee we were towing with. At that point it was late and we gave up for the day.
Due to a youth hockey tournament passing through town all hotels were sold out within 30 miles, so we left the Samurai in a McDonalds parking lot and drove for an hour until we found an empty room. When we did find one, we only got in since person staying in it had left moments before, complaining of cockroaches, a broken TV, and a broken telephone. At this point it was Sunday and we had a day to kill before tire stores would open. Fortunately, it passed fairly uneventfully and on Monday, we got the tire, picked up the Samurai, and continued driving north.
This time we made it to South Carolina before I noticed a new problem with the trailer, our brand new tire was losing air. It took 5 gas stations before we found one with a working air compressor, and to cap it off, shortly after we got back on the road we ran straight into a dove that was flying across the highway. With that omen behind us, we continued driving north while stopping to fill the tire every 150 miles. We did eventually stop to get the tire fixed, but the leak was from the sidewall and couldn’t be patched. Eventually we made it back to Boston, where we unloaded the Samurai.
After the nightmare drive back, I had no desire to fix Samurai and it sat parked for months until I re-sold it on Ebay.