I haven’t seen one of these in a couple of years, but Actually Mike has, and he posted it at the Cohort. These were…great little cars, and seeing this one reminded me of the two we used for our news crews at the new Telemundo station I opened up in San Jose in 1987. We traded air time with a Mazda dealer, and got a couple of white hatchbacks. The crews were not too thrilled, given how how the big guy station crews were arriving at news events in their big vans with telescoping life feed microwave dishes. That was well outside our budget then. But the 323s were “free” and a lot cheaper to run, and never had any issues.
There was just enough room in the back for the tripod, camera, lights and other gear.
They started at six grand for ’87, it was a lot of car for the money. Mazda was the #4 Japanese import at the time, I think, and they tried just a little bit harder. A really basic Tercel or Civic hatch was a couple hundred less but both were *seriously* stripped out – the Civic had a 1.3L engine. And good luck in finding either one. In those days of Voluntary Import Restrictions, base models were hard to come by, mostly bait-and-switch cars, and even then they were marked up from MSRP.
The Mazda, at a real out-the-door price, was a very good value.
My wife bought an ’82 GLC new. It really was a great little car – reliable, easy on gas, fun to drive, and could hold a lot with the rear seats folded down.
My police department had two…a red one and a blue one. Another of our officers had a silver one on which he put wide blue-white-red stripes…like the American Airlines tri-stripe livery.
The department used them as detective and undercover cars, which due to their anonymity they were good as long as they were unrecognized. One day on a surveillance the suspect in a typical American V8 coupe spotted the Mazda, got on the freeway and ran away from it. No contest…
But one of our detectives, a really big guy, found the Mazdas too cramped for comfort and difficult to get in and out of.
I drove the blue one to training 250 miles away. It was pleasant enough, the engine was adequate and the stick shift clicked easily into the gears. Only thing I could have wished for was air conditioning but then the engine might have been less adequate.
Wow a post like this just reminds me of how few are left, Mazda 323s and the badge engineered Ford Laser where everywhere not long ago, now not so much, they were bloody good cars.
I have a friend who daily drives a 1983 GLC Sport in beautiful condition. I need some decent inside pictures and some engine pictures that aren’t in the glare of bright sun light to write something. I will show a taste…
The model that came after this one had unusual styling and is also a rarity. It sort of looked like Darth Vader’s helmet.
Twenty or so years ago, a used-car rental place here (“Rent-a-Wreck”?) had a fleet of these, 10 – 15 years old. They must have held up well.
Did this car share a platform with the Hyundai Excel? They look virtually identical.
This generation came out in 1981 and the sport model was on the top of my list. It had a beautiful interior with tweed cloth seats and a back seat that wrapped around the corners. Unfortunately the engine was no different than other GLC’s, a 1.5 liter. I ended up buying a 1980 Scirocco that had been sitting on the lot for a year. Still more expensive but a class above
The 323 GTX is the unicorn version of this car. I saw one once when they first came out. Turbo with AWD must have been a blast.
I have two of these cars. They are incredibly fun, and monsters in Michigan Winter snow. 132hp stock, 160 with exhaust and intake, 180 with a new ecu and a little boost addition. Anything past that, and the transmissions start to explode. The B6T is good for 350+, the transmission stops at around 200.
Had a used 86 Mazda 323 DX, kept it for eight years racking up way over 100,000 Km that looks a lot like this one, never had an issue with it.
Okay, it had a leaking oil sending unit and a pinhole leak in the gas tank, and the heater was barely adequate for Canadian winters, but that’s it.
It was a great car and after driving 80’s era Ford Escorts (because I couldn’t afford 323’s or Civics…) it was a leap forward in what a small car should be to say the very least.
Eventually I had to sell it so I asked for way too much, was picky with perspective buyers and wouldn’t budge on price, and it still sold quickly.
I like to think it’s still out there, but probably not….
Yo tengo hoy en día uno es 323 GT y estoy más que contento con el aquí les dejo foto
One of my friends bought a Mercury Tracer (about 1988) which I think was one of these. His prior car was a Dodge Challenger (the Mitsubishi version) and Plymouth Sapporo (yes, he owned both of these rare cars). I think he had a problem with rear wheel alignment on the Challenger as his tires were cupped in the back, but otherwise had no issues with the Challenger. He got somewhat of a windfall in one of his investments, and I think most of it went into the Tracer. These were right up my alley, being a confirmed hatchback owner, but I thought the seats were kind of stiff and uncomfortable. I lost touch with him when he owned the Tracer, but otherwise thought it was a neat car. Mazda is still one of the few companies who sell a 5 door hatchback, which seems to have just about disappeared, along with a lot of cars, and it is on my list for a possible replacement for my Golf (can’t buy one of them anymore either, a bit too old to want a GTi (and I had one in my younger days already).