Let Me Tell You What's A Real Righteous Rocket Craft: The Mazda 323 GTX

How Mazda sold the 323 GTX. Photo: Mazda
How Mazda sold the 323 GTX. Photo: Mazda

Looking for a car? Looking for a car that’s down to clown? Looking for a car that’s active and speedy and keen on engaging in vigorous driving maneuvers? Well, good friends, direct your eyes to the sweet cherry that is the Mazda 323 GTX.

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The Mazda 323 GTX is a peach. It is a dollop of cream. It is a cool drink of water on a hot day. It is a 2,645-pound car, with a turbocharged, intercooled, fuel-injected, 16-valve four-cylinder 132-horsepower B6T engine, a five-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. Each and every wheel is driven. The front ones. The back ones. All of those wheels.

In that all-wheel drive system was a lockable center differential, lockable with a switch on the dashboard. Neat! But there’s more to this car than specs.

There is true spirit and verve in this car, one of the great Group A rally cars, debuting as a homologation special in 1986 just as the killer Group B was coming to a close.

Watch Formula Drift’s Chelsea DeNofa wind the devil out of the car, sliding it, off-roading it, and mountain climbing in it, just a cheap car he bought because he didn’t want his dog’s dog hair getting in any of his other vehicles.

As you can see, the GTX gives more than it needs to. It has inner vigor, bursting free.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

DISCUSSION

These things are a scream. The trouble is finding one these days. Time wasn’t kind to them. They were cheap enough to be thrashed, rare enough that there weren’t many to begin with, and old enough that time and neglect have chewed up a bunch of them.

One of the last car meets I was at, someone was trying to get 22k for a good condition one. Shockingly it is still up for sale.