Friday, May 15, 2015

5k: Future Classic: 2003 Mazdaspeed Protege

 Back before Mazda released their factory tuned track rat Mazdaspeed 3 and (more useful, but less fun) Mazdaspeed 6, they had a little family car called the Familia/Protegé that made some waves. The basic Protegé was capable, but focused on frugal driving -- however, in the final year of production the wizards at Mazdaspeed teamed up with Callaway to release a turbocharged Protegé with  penchant for smoking its front tires.  Find this 2003 Mazdaspeed Protegé offered for $5,800 near Seattle, WA.  Tip from Gianni.


This is one of the 4,500 Mazdaspeed versions of the Protegé released for the 2003 model year, and from its blue color you can tell it came from the later mid-year updated batch (the early cars were available in black or orange, later cars got a different body kit and were yellow, titanium, blue, or silver).  If you are building a collection of cheap primo press classics, the Mazdaspeed Protegé would go great with your AMG C36, E28 M5, and SVO Mustang.



Under the hood is the FS-DET, a 2.0 liter DOHC inline-4 that pushes out 170 horsepower and 160 ft-lbs of torque with the addition of Garrett GT25R ball bearing turbocharger.  This was the same turbocharger that can be found in the Nissan Silvia S14 (SR20DET in Japan) and GTR (RB26DETT), and is one of the few mass production ball bearing turbochargers to be found in any production car.  Ball bearings have inherently less internal friction compared to a normal sleeve (journal) bearing that translates into better transient response (less time to wheeeee!) and better overall efficiency.


The Mazdaspeed version of the Protegé featured most of the same low rent econobox interior as in the standard version, but the 2003.5 models featured some unique trim pieces to make you feel more special as they rattle over bumps. 


See another oddly appealing cheap late model classic? tips@dailyturismo.com

16 comments:

  1. I, like a lot of econo-car enthusiasts, always found the Protege interesting. After reading Gianni's review of actually owning one, I'm less enthused. Still, this MazdaSpeed version is still cool, especially if you consider its' significance in terms of documenting a time and place. I'd love to compare the feel of the Garrett OEM turbo with my NA JRSC. I'd also love to hear El Jefe's take on the GT25R but I've been ignored so many times on the subject (Garrett turbos) that I'll just go stare off into the distance with a single tear running down my cheek.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VgufM9iLbI

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    1. I didn't hate my Protege, but we never connected. Mine was a Protege5, so I had a less powerful engine, which isn't a problem, but it didn't really like to rev. It really didn't like to go past 4,500. But, I was coming from a Alfa 164, so maybe my expectation was a bit off. That Busso V-6 was willing to go to the rev limiter and made a great sound doing it. That and all the mags raved about the steering in the Protege5, but I thought it was overboosted and lacked feel. This one might feel different, I think they also upgraded the suspension with Racing Beat parts.

      This car might be owned by a stoner - look at the first two pictures... That's ok, though, it's legal here...

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    2. Heh. Indoor Garden and...Lighting...

      The reasons you listed would be reason enough for me to think twice about buying one. Like you, I'm a previous 164 owner, though I'm sure I wouldn't accidentally compare the two. But I can understand why that was an issue for you.

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    3. I'm sure its just for growing tomatoes indoors. We get so little light in the winter here in the PNW, yeah, that's it.

      It was hard not to compare the two, since I owned the 164 for 10 years. Probably wasn't being fair to the little Mazda...

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    4. So, what do you think would have been a better comparison to the P5 (forgetting about the wagonette aspect and the fact that the steering feel surely can't compare)? An Alfetta? Guilia sedan?

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    5. I would think maybe a Sud or its decedents since they are FWD and the 115/116 Alfas are RWD. I've never driven any other FWD Alfa besides the 164.

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    6. Aha! I just knew you'd have the right answer.

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    7. @K2_Mystery Car

      I had a GT2560 on my 1997 Miata as part of the Flyin' Miata FMII kit. It was superb, perfect for the 1.8, and would be even better on a 2.0. I had full boost by about 3400rpm, and my engine made 247whp/222tq on 12psi, running a Hydra and a 2.5" exhaust. It was a genuine sleeper--0-60 in less than 5 seconds, yet appeared and drove totally stock with no boy-racer-wannabe crap. Of course, this was with a full tune by Ken Hill, and all of the requisite upgraded parts...but the engine was untouched and totally stock. Very reliable. So I would totally recommend that turbo as an upgrade...but you would need to go to 600# injectors, a better fuel pump, and stand-alone ECU with a correct tune...otherwise it is a ticking time bomb

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  2. These are fantastic, especially with the limited-slip diff. If you want the same tweaked suspension, body kit and wheels, and a mildly tuned engine without a turbo, Mazda also made the Protege MP3.

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  3. Cool find! Notably, these Callaway-engineered turbo kits were installed at the ports, not at the factory.

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    1. Same with the Racing Beat suspension kit.

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  4. How can you state a Mazdaspeed3 is somehow less "useful" then a Mazdaspeed6? You have that backwards... the Mazda3 hatch body has 4 times the cargo volume of the Mazda6.... heck it can swallow multiple mountain bikes, a chit load of Costco crap and has nearly the same interior volume as many small SUV's. I am guessing you meant to say that the vastly inferior and fragile Mazdaspeed6 is only more useful by way of having AWD. Other then that, fuel economy, daily useability and even looks goes to the 3.

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    1. I can't agree with you on the looks of the 3. I think the 6 has always looked better. The first years were ok, but the reboot was absolutely hideous.

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  5. On my dog walk there is 03 Protege 4 sale 123k silver nice shape non turbo asking $4500.00 i was thinking to damn much a friend had picked one up with a bad fender and needing minor frame work he paid $350.00 not sure how much he has in repairs and the pick apart fender less then 1K is my guess they do drive pretty good had a loaner when my Mazda B-3000 was in for warranty work now that was a POS.

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  6. Running your vehicle's air conditioning is no worse for your gas mileage than driving with your windows down. As your vehicle speeds up, air flow creates a drag against the vehicle, making the engine work harder and hurting gas mileage. In fact, air conditioning can be a more efficient option at higher speeds.

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    1. Your movie was okay but why did they have to kill the puppy? That's just nasty and had no purpose.

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