Junkyard Find: 1983 Mazda GLC Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1983 mazda glc sedan

After visiting the lowest-mile early Mazda GLC imaginable, I’ve been looking out for more GLCs in the junkyard. Until the 1981 model year, all the GLCs (known as the Familia or 323 outside of North America) were rear-wheel-drive and had nearly identical chassis to the early RX-7s. Mazda finally got on the front-wheel-drive bandwagon with this version, which I found in a Northern California self-serve yard earlier in the month.

These things actually were great little cars, simple, tough, and cheap. I recall most of these being hatchbacks back in the 80s, but I’ve found exactly two front-wheel-drive GLCs in junkyards recently and both were sedans.

The base two-door hatch listed at $5,295, while the base sedan went for $6,245. That explains the popularity of the hatchbacks, though the ’83 Civic sedan listed at a princely $6,849. $5,616 was the price for an ’83 Chevette four-door hatchback, if you were more concerned about number of doors than things like build quality, comfort, interior space, or performance.

Check out this in-dash Clarion AM/FM radio. Can you believe thieves used to steal these things?

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  • 50merc 50merc on Feb 27, 2012

    My second Mazda was an '81 four door hatchback, blue in and out. And it WAS a Great Little Car, very commodious for the size, cheap to run, fun to drive. But it wasn't as zippy after I had the dealership add air conditioning; that little engine definitely felt the drag of the compressor. Mazda knew what it was doing in the 80's. A shame they've lost their way with oddball styling. And of course, a car like the GLC would violate a zillion safety standards nowadays.

  • Silverkris Silverkris on Feb 28, 2012

    When I worked in Taiwan in the late 80's-early 90's I drove the locally-assembled equivalent, called the Ford Laser. It was a 1984 4-door sedan, with a 1.5L engine, equipped with an automatic, which was rare on cars of that class and era. Very reliable, simple mechanically (with a manual choke). The main competitor's model of the Laser was the Yue Loong (locally assembled Nissan) Sunny or Sentra. The general rule of thumb was that the Ford models had somewhat heavier sheet metal but consumed more fuel, while the Yue Loong were more fuel efficient but had lighter metal, which wasn't as durable in a fender bender.

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.