Friday, August 18, 2017

X-factor: 1988 Mazda 323 GTX

The 1980's are thought to be the Golden Age of Rally.  Fire breathing Group B cars ran rampant throughout the forests in the early part of the decade, and then tragically it was all over.  The meek inherited the woods in the form of production-based Group A cars, and a few of them made it to The Land of the Free.  Find this 1988 Mazda 323 GTX for sale in Renton, WA for $5,000 via craigslist.

Unlike the Killer B's, Group A rally cars were production-based, with a required minimum of 5,000 road going models produced to be eligible for homologation.  Plucky little Mazda took it's cooking 323 hatchback and turbo-charged it along with outfitting it with AWD and a locking center diff.  Amazingly, it wasn't destined to be forbidden fruit in the U.S., and it was sold in showrooms across the U.S. next to it's tamer siblings.  Of course, you know the rest of the story; it didn't sell, only moving around 1,200 units in the 2 years here.  Powered by a 130 hp 1.6 turbo 4, this example is said to all original and unmodified, but I spy with my little eye a cone filter.

This car is on it's 4th owner and has 141K miles on the clock.  The insides don't look too bad, no scary staining on the seats, just a slight tear.  Unmodified also doesn't seem to include a nasty steering wheel cover or racy-aluminum pedals.  First couple of things I would shot-put into the dumpster.

Overall this car looks pretty nice, but the real elephant in the room is the Mazda Curse of Rust if it hasn't been a PNW car all its life and the fragile transmission made of unobtaium's health.

See a better pre-WRX from the Land of the Rising Sun? email us here:

Gianni is Daily Turismo's Pacific Northwest correspondent.


  1. Had two of these. Great cars.

    This one has the analog dash which is much better than the rare digital dash.

    Wheels are also changed. Along with the rust check the second gear synchro, front carpet mold from clogged sun roof drains, high rpm miss from spark plug tube pin holes.

  2. Too cool. I wonder if someone could sweet talk Mazda into refurbishing one of these the same way they're doing the first gen Miatas.


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