Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 323 GTX is said to need some work to turn you into the next vintage rally champ. Let’s see if the cost of entry for doing so would make you a chump.
So, a number of you took issue with my assertion that, from certain angles, and in the right light, yesterday’s 2000 Camaro SS looked a bit like Honda’s original NSX. You keep looking there, you’ll see it too. Also, there were ten Indians in that picture, were you able to find them all?
There was little love for the fourth generation of Camaro in general yesterday, nor for the price tag on our example in particular. In the end it fell in a 58 percent Crack Pipe loss, although I think some of that was from those angered that I had the temerity to associate a mere Camaro with the sainted NSX.
There’s a new NSX and it has it all over older, beloved edition when it comes to tech and build. If however, you like your cars both well-kitted and old-schooled then you might just get a kick out of this 1988 Mazda 323 GTX.
For many Americans, Mazda’s history only goes back to the early ‘70s but the company’s home market efforts go back more than a decade further than that. One of those early models was the Familia, a line thatwas introduced in 1963. It continued through eight generations, all the way until ’04, when replaced by the Axela, or as we know it, the Mazda3.
The GTX came about during the sixth generation’s model run, and is arguably the most interesting Familia model since the Giugiaro-designed original. Third place in the pantheon would be taken by the 323F/Astina seeing as it featured pop-up headlamps and gave its tail lamps to the Aston Martin DB7 because it was very, very generous.
Still, Aston connection or not, the GTX rules the 323/Familia roost. That’s owed to a turbocharged 1.6-litre DOHC 16V four pumping out a major-for-the-day 132 horsepower. Couple that with a five-speed stick and locking center diff for its AWD and suddenly everything’s PICKLE RICK! Sorry about that. It’s actually pretty tepid by today’s standards, but it was still pretty hot for the 1980s. Mazda only brought a little over 1,200 of these to America, and this just so happens to be one of them.
What has it been doing since it arrived here? How the hell should I know? What I can tell you—because I read it in the ad—is that the car rocks 160,000 miles and a paint job that looks like it was applied by a third grader with the DTs. Oh wait, it was MAACO.
That poor paint covers some rust repair, although there’s still a hole in the floorboard. I guess MAACO doesn’t do bottom stuff. The car rides on 626 GT alloys as its proprietary wheels seem, as foretold by Fleetwood Mac, to have gone their own way. It does have new brake rotors, calipers and pads which is a plus as the front rotors are a bitch to change out on these.
There’s a number of other new parts on the car, including ignition pieces, however none of that has addressed the engine issues that apparently plague the car. The seller says that the engine smokes heavily at idle, suffers from what may be imminent turbo failure, has a failed e-brake, grinding in back, and—this is the best part—was run dry since the gas door release has broken and the seller can’t fill the tank. Love that!
Actually what I do love about this car is the JDM digital dashboard the seller has installed. I think that might just be worth the asking price alone. You also get some rocker extensions, and the car has its twin spoilers in back‚ just like it’s a baby XR4Ti. Most all the parts are there, this car just needs some love. Um, and wrenching, really what the car needs is a good bit of wrenching to make it right. But still, the love.
It will need to be towed away, as you will recall the seller doesn’t know how to pull the inner panel under the hatch and manually release the fuel door. The asking price for that honor is $3,500, which if you’ve been following GTX prices lately is well below your average asking for a runner. Obviously this one isn’t a runner so the question for you is if that $3,500 is a deal or not.
What do you think, is that a fair price to save this GTX from an ignominious fate? Or, is this 323 just too far gone?
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