St. Vinnie’s Sales Lot Finale: 1981 Mazda B2000 Sundowner Sport – The One That Tempted Me The Most

I’m saving my favorite find at the St. Vinnie’s lot for a post of its own. Not just because of this Mazda pickup’s awesome original graphics, but because it’s something of a full circle for me, old RWD Mazdas and St. Vinnie’s lot.

In 2001, my son Ted (Ed, or Tweetermeyer in his professional life) needed a first car, after returning to Eugene from a year in a competitive fencing training program in Portland. He also needed a place to live,s o we turned that little former garage into a studio.  And we drove out to the St. Vinnie’s lot to look for a car.

We found this red 1981 Mazda 626 there, looking fairly robust and with a clean interior. It started and ran a bit rough, but I figured (right) that it just needed a tune up. We paid a bit less than the $400 asking price and drove it home. It served him very well for a couple of years, and I got somewhat familiar with its 2.0 L SOHC four, which needed some minor ministrations on occasion. The biggest job was replacing the heater core; that was like brain surgery. It was my first time ripping apart a dash. But it all came back together.

It had a stick, and although hardly powerful, it initiated him into the joys of simple RWD motoring, including donuts in the (rare) snow and such. And I developed a lasting appreciation for how sturdy the RWD Mazdas were.

So naturally I felt a pull of attraction when I saw this fine 1981 Mazda B2000 Sundowner Sport pickup parked right by the office. So I went in and asked how much it was. The guy at the counter said they hadn’t priced it yet, that it was a new arrival. When I told him that I wasn’t really interested in buying it, but shooting it for my website, he burst out: You’re Paul Niedermeyer, right?


I’m Dave Bartlett, and a big fan of CC!

Turns out that back in 2013 I had shot his 1955 Buick “Loadmaster” in one of my favorite On-The-Go Outtakes, with a big wheelbarrow in its trunk, and posted it here. He must have found the post a couple of months later, because he left a very nice comment and some more pictures of his Buick. Dave and I ended up talking for almost an hour. He showed me pictures of his uncles two ’54 Buicks that he drag raced successfully, and told me that he had sold this ’55 and bought another of his uncle’s ’56 Buicks, a real gem. We’re going to arrange to meet and take pictures of it.

Meanwhile, here’s the other half of the Sundowner’s graphics. I love these, and it was tempting to think of having a Sundowner Sport. But the reality is that I need another old pickup like a hole in the head, and I don’t really fit all too well into vintage Japanese pickups. That’s precisely why I bought an old Ford; more stretch out room.

But here it is, and if any of you are interested in this little gem of a period piece, give Dave a call at (541) 607-4541. I sure would like to see this go to a loving home.