Junkyard Find: 1981 Mazda GLC Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1981 mazda glc sedan

The Mazda GLC, aka Familia aka 323 was once a fairly common sight on American roads, but just about all of the GLCs were hatchbacks. Here’s a rare sedan that was able to hang on for 30 years before being discarded.

Mazda tried to play up the “driving excitement” angle of the GLC with this ad, in an attempt to differentiate the car from all the other sub-ton econoboxes of the era. With 68 horsepower under the hood, however, GLC drivers were wise to avoid hills.

1981 was the first year for front-wheel-drive in the GLC.

Imagine car shopping in 1981 in Great Falls, Montana: Mazdas, Dodges, and Fiats in the same dealership! Would you take a Strada, a GLC, or an Omni?

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3 of 23 comments
  • Pacificpom2 Pacificpom2 on Jul 01, 2011

    Dad's was a KA Laser Ghia, 1.5 single carb 5 speed, alloy wheels and Mum's was a KC, GL 1.6, 5 speed with steel wheels. Dad ran his into the ground and Mum rolled hers and sold it to my brother, it soldiered on for a few more years.

    • SomewhereDownUnder SomewhereDownUnder on Feb 01, 2013

      Hah we had the equivalent of your KA. We had a yellow Mazda 323 5-speed 3 door. IIRC, it was a 1981. It got rear ended and written off. That era of 323 never seemed popular compared to the Lasers of the time.

  • Graham64 Graham64 on Jan 05, 2023

    Interesting how the dealers label is on the bootlid, rather than being on the rear window or the licence plate frame.

  • Sloomis Looks like 108,000 miles to me, not 80,000. Not much better though...
  • Johnds If I’m not mistaken, the odo appears to say 8016, not 80016.
  • Motorqjoe Had a Volt as company car ~2012. What stunted the experience for me was a lack of reliable charging. The 42 miles of all battery range was excellent, but the experience when the gen-set had to kick in was lackluster. I don't think it was a lack of brand awareness.
  • Mike Beranek I wonder how many Russians are able to secure what they need by pretending to be Ukrainian. Or Polish. Or something else that some Americans are too clueless to figure out.
  • Zerog Here's another inconvenient truth for GM and the Musk hating "Auto Extremist": https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musks-cost-cutting-targets-put-pressure-on-ev-rivals-724d881b?mod=hp_lead_pos1