Friday, February 14, 2014

1988 Mazda 323 GTX - An Under Appreciated, Little Known Performance Car

If you walked up to your average "car person" and asked him or her to name a 4 cylinder, intercooled / turbocharged, 5 speed manual, all-wheel drive rally car, they'd probably say Audi. A few might mention Lancia. I doubt anyone would say Mazda.

Based on the mundane 323 economy car, the 323 GTX is one of the performance car world's best kept secrets.

Essentially, the 323 GTX is a detuned rally car. The engine is a 1.6L, twin cam, 16 valve, turbocharged and intercooled 132hp 4. Yes, this is a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive car that doesn't have four rings on the front.

To be considered a production car for Group A rallying, the FIA rules said that 5,000 road-going versions of the car had to be built. Of the 5000 Mazda built, just over 1200 came to the US. Not many are left today.

This 323 GTX has a few minor flaws, but is in overall good condition. It's a driver, not a show car, which is what it should be. The pictures in the ad aren't great, but the seller leaves a phone number you can call with questions.

While incredibly fun to drive, the 323 GTX has historically not sold for a lot of money. A few years ago, $3000.00 - $4000.00 would buy the absolute nicest ones available. However, with prices of top tier classics increasing dramatically, collectors are now looking at second tier cars, and the prices for cars like this are increasing as well. As I write this, there are 5 days left in the auction and 7 bidders have bid it up to $2500.00. It will be interesting to see what it finally sells for.

Located in Fort Lauderdale, FL, click here to see the eBay listing.


Max Power said...

As a young man in my 20's during the 80's, the whole hot hatch era was right up my alley and while I clearly remember the Mazda 323 GTX, not only was it not on my radar for a possible purchase, it was never a hot hatch du jour for everyone else as well. And that is despite it being a very good car.

Now if you find a 1987 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo....I can REALLY relive my youth!

Unknown said...

When I ask a car person to name a four cylinder, turbocharged, intercooled, four-wheel drive rally car, they say Subaru or Mitsubishi Evo.

Audis had a 5cyl.

The Subie/Mitsu rally days are the old school examples now. How time flies.

Just A Car Geek said...

You are correct, dak2255. My mistake.

Matt said...

Came here to chastise you for forgetting about Mitsu/Subie when referring to 4cyl/turbo/intercooled/AWD cars.

Don't forget about Volvo 240Ts, either! ;-)

Most of these 323GTX's ended up doing what they were meant to do - rally. That means that they were beat pretty hard, with the boost turned up with a manual boost controller. That, and Mazdas rust like crazy, the GTX was no exception.

Unfortunately, that means that there's likely only a few of these remaining in the US like this

pickles said...

There are currently two GTXs for sale in the San Francisco area- the white one looks rough (spray can bodywork) and the black one seems to be maybe too proudly mud-run, but it's maybe handy to see what others are listed for out there. Those GTXs sure sound FUN.