Junkyard Find: 1984 Mazda GLC

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1984 mazda glc

Before it was called the 323 and then the Protegé, the North American version of the Mazda Familia was known as the GLC, aka “Great Little Car.” The really early GLCs (for example, the 7000-mile 1976 model living beneath Mazda USA’s California HQ) shared a lot of chassis components with the first-gen RX-7s, but this ’84 that I spotted in a Denver self-service yard is a more modern front-wheel-drive econobox.

I’ve driven a couple of these, and they really were good— maybe not great, but close— little cars. The list price on the base 2-door hatch was $4,995, which was $250 cheaper than the cheapest ’84 Civic. The Civic was slightly more fun to drive and (arguably) better-built, but the GLC was quite a bang-for-buck deal.

This one made it to nearly 140,000 miles during its 28 years on the planet. It probably has more miles left in it, but battered 1980s econoboxes aren’t worth fixing up for daily-driving use these days.

I haven’t seen many of these cars in wrecking yards lately; most of them got scrapped a decade or so back. There was this rear-drive ’80, and this super-rare ’81 sedan, and this even rarer ’83 sedan, and that’s been about all my junkyard GLC sightings for the last couple of years. All right, let’s watch some old TV commercials!

Includes radial tires!

As always, the JDM ad for the same car has better/cheesier 1980s music.

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  • Patrick-bateman Patrick-bateman on Dec 27, 2012

    My first car is pictured in the second video. A 1983 JDM Familia XG 3 door, Red with Black interior and moonroof. Imported as part of the rush in 1989 of second hand JDM cars into Western Australia. Became a Mazda 323 within the first day of ownership, Had power steering, 5 speed, roof, a great Japanese Cassette Player with Amazing displays and a graphic eq. The best air conditioning I have experienced in any car I have owned (despite that black interior and glass sun roof), I remember it being freezing during a 44 degree ( 110 degree F) day. Wrapped it around a power pole, but I still love that car.

  • Reno1 Reno1 on Jul 18, 2013

    In 1993 I needed an inexpensive vehicle to use for work, so I found a 1984 Mazda GLC 4 door sedan (manual). It surprisingly was in great shape and only ended up paying $600. This car turned out to be an excellent buy, and believe it or not, a sturdy and reliable one (I ended up driving it everywhere). I had a lady one day rear end me and the only thing done to my car was a few scratches on the rubber of my metal bumper. Her car on the other hand wasn't too lucky. I ended up driving it until 2000, when I sold it off to a fried of the family. I couldn't even tell you how many miles was on that thing when I sold it, but it was still running like a champ. I have to admit, that was one of my favorite cars.

  • SPPPP I guess they couldn't get the Opel branded airbag shipped over, eh?
  • FreedMike A Mustang GT Premium with the manual is a helluva lot of performance car for a high-mid-forties price point.
  • Dale Houston We bought an EV 2+ years ago. I didn't even think to look for AM on it. We did set presets for the local NPR and classical stations.The last time I listened to AM was in the very early 90's when I would hate-listen to some radio preachers who were just awful.
  • FreedMike I wonder what ever happened with the "Fusion Active".
  • FreedMike I'm going to rebadge my Jetta as an Audi and drink in the profits.