Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Mazda was called the 626 here in the U.S. while it went by Capella in other counties. This one is nicely kitted with a turbo and a five speed stick. Let’s see if that and its price has you singing ”Ah, Capella.”
It’s a rare instance when, upon its introduction a car becomes an instant classic. That however was just the case when Lotus debuted the aluminum-framed and plastic-bodied Elise. Considered a race car for the road, a lot of owners took its track aspirations to heart which has resulted in a ton of cheap Elises out there, sadly with tainted titles.
The 2005 Elise Touring we featured on Friday (remember back then?) came with a clean title, but also a history of near misses, including one involving a armadillo. The seeming sketchiness of the ad, and the car’s big-ass wing on its sexy little ass, conspired to drop the car in a narrow but unmoving 52% Crack Pipe loss.
When it came to America, the Elise was powered not by the British-sourced mill of its home market edition but instead by a Japanese one as it was already emissions compliant and fairly well regarded. In a remarkable bit of happenstance, today’s 1987 Mazda 626 GT also features Asian power.
It also has an Asian five-speed transmission and… well, pretty much everything on this arrest-me-red GT is from Japan.
Back in the ‘80s being from Japan meant something as cars from the U.S. at the time couldn’t match their Japanese counterparts for quality, while a lot of the stuff from Europe was still hella-more expensive to maintain.
Mazda’s rep at the time was led by the RX7 but the money was the company’s twin series of value-driven FWD family cars, the 323 and the 626. They offered a full spate of cars and trucks globally, including a minivan with the wonderful name of Bongo, but here in the U.S. it was the 323 and 626 that kept the lights on.
This ’87 four-door represents from the third-generation of the model and maintains styling that has really held up well over time. The three-box shape features a boot opening that you could actually fit a full compliment of dead hookers… oops, golf bags through rather than the mail slots common on modern cars. Not only does it look pretty good, but it’s in very nice shape, as it’s claimed to have been garage or tarp stored its entire life. Factory phone dials fill the wheel wells while an aftermarket sunroof pops the top.
The inside is a little rougher but benefits from a digital dashboard and ‘80s era orange labeling and lighting. There’s an unfortunate crack in the center of the dash, but the seats, door cards and carpet all seem to be in better than the average bear condition.
There’s only a little over 100K on the car’s clock, and only 200 on the recently replaced clutch and wheel bearings so it’s got that gong for it. The engine compartment seems tidy but does show its age. Living there is a two-litre, 120-bhp FET four fed by a 7-psi turbo. That of course sits sideways and sends those ponies to the front wheels.
You don’t see too many of these cars any more, at least not outside of the junk yard. It’s nice to see this survivor as these were pretty fun cars when they were new. Sadly, I think this one pre-dates Mazda’s dalliance with oscillating center air vents, but the digital dash will more than make up for the lack of that fab feature. Also on the potential plus column here is the price which is a nominal $2,000.
What’s your take on this GT for that kind of cash? Do you think that’s a deal to snap up this sporty survivor? Or, is that still too much for what’s just an old Japanese sedan?
H/T to glemon for the hookup!
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