By on February 23, 2015

33 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of Mazda B-Series pickups were sold in the United States, mostly badged as Ford Couriers, but starting in 1983 (when the Ranger appeared) your only choice for obtaining one of these cheap-and-simple little trucks was your Mazda dealer. I spotted this somewhat rusty ’84 in a Denver wrecking yard on Saturday, and it looked like it still had some good miles left in it.
70 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 147k miles in 31 years.
56 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe ignition key is there and the windshield sports auction-company “RUN AND DRIVE” stickers, which means we’re probably looking at a dealer trade-in that nobody wanted to buy.
06 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Sundowner was the long-wheelbase version of the B2000.
12 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one is covered with clues that tell us a story about the final owner. “Hang Up and Drive” and Black Flag stickers plus a hand-painted mystical eyeball here.
46 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIs there the requisite “KILL YOUR TELEVISION” sticker? Yes, here it is!
26 - 1983 Mazda B2000 Pickup Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHere’s the 1,970cc F engine, which was good for 90 horses in 1984. Can you imagine Americans buying a pickup with just 90 horsepower today? That would be like asking us to turn down our thermostats in the winter!

This tough little truck is loaded for bear!

When you’ve got something this good, you take care of it.

Here’s the optioned-up SE-5. Sakes alive!

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38 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1984 Mazda B2000 Sundowner Pickup...”

  • avatar

    A couple more bumper stickers and you wouldn’t even notice the rust

    “Imagine Whirling Peas”

    • 0 avatar

      I thought it was “Imagine whirled peas”?

    • 0 avatar

      Around here the requisites are:




      “Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make History”

      …usually seen on Volvo 240s and Subaru Foresters. Personally I’d someday like to buy an absurdly expensive car just so I can put the ‘living wage’ sticker on it.

      Since the college town is proximal to a substantially less-progressive rural area, you also see the occasional “Nobama” and, of course:


      That one is almost always on an enormous, lifted pickup.

      The most terribly ironic bumper stickers I’ve ever seen were the ones produced shortly after 9/11, featuring a flag graphic along with the text, “THESE COLORS DON’T RUN”; by 2005 or so, however, the blue ink had usually faded silently away.


  • avatar

    I miss the days of small, lightweight trucks.

  • avatar

    Whatever happened to Ned’s Atomic Dustbin?

    • 0 avatar

      Colin had a heavy heart.

      (Youtube search:GFxVMfBfQDY)
      The tape was heavily fouled with crud from spending nearly a quarter century traveling around the cab of the Mazda. In fact, the clear plastic had been scuffed opaque, only leaving a few words legible. Colin didn’t need to read it to know the cassette was God Fodder. He jammed it into the Alpine. The drive mechanism within unleashed an unholy squeal. Colin silenced it with a swift hammerblow of his fist to dashboard. The sound was so muddled, distorted, and riddled with pops that he might as well have been playing a phonograph. He twisted the bare volume shaft of the time machine, and traveled back to August 5th, 1992.

      The limp seat belt webbing slap-slap-slapped against the seatback in the warm night air. Colin’s teal Panama Jack T-shirt fluttered in unison. The Mazda droned along in it’s courier duties, with blown out up-pipe gasket. It’s cargo was a cadre of punk kids returning from a rad show. There was a loud slap on the back window that startled Colin. Then, a head craned around into his window. “It fu*kin’ STINKS back here!” Colin vigorously shook his head, responding with an apathetic “Yeah!” The fact was, it stunk everywhere. Eye-watering fumes exited from the exhaust manifold almost directly into the cowl vent, and spread aft. Colin looked over at Christilena. She leaned into the window, but was still in good spirits.

      A different head appeared from the bed again. “It fu*kin’ STINKS back here.” This, being the fourth account annoyed Colin a bit. “Sit down! You’re gonna get us pulled over!” Another head appeared in Christilena’s window. “Are we there yet DAD?” Colin steered the little truck into an assisted living apartment’s parking lot that was riddled with speed bumps. “Hold onto something.”, he told his girl. She squealed in feigned terror. The little pickup bucked like a bronco, throwing all six persons violently into the air. Irate complaining formed a symphony from behind the cab. “You broke my smokes!” Christilena was out of breath from laughing so hard. “Oh…my god.” The seat of Colin’s baggy, double oversize white jeans had actually slipped down from the violent ride. He grabbed his belt, and pulled them out from under his Vans sneakers.

      Colin smiled, and then frowned as he looked over at the long vacant passenger side of the bench. He reminisced about another time when size 7 bare feet were propped up on the dash, swaying to the beat as they drove through the memories of his youth. The little truck rattled as it pulled into the tiny dealer lot. The wet black Jetta sparkled in the sun amidst it’s snow-covered companions. “That was a nice gesture.”, he thought.

      Colin ejected God Fodder. He looked around the sparse cab of the truck.
      “Well. (sigh) That’s it then.”

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you, yes. Neds explains it all. Of course – I’d forgotten.

      They’re back together again.

      I blame it all on Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers who wrote The Goon Show for BBC Radio with star character Captain Neddy Seagoon played by Harry Secombe, the inspiration for Ned’s Atomic Dustbin.

      The Goon Show was completely off its rocker. I have the shows on CD, must listen again to an alternate take on reality broadcast a dozen years before Monty Python, which by comparison is tame.

      Kill The Television. British humor in a roundabout way from almost 60 years ago.

  • avatar

    I’ve never seen a Mazda pickup this old…just the later ones with the all black plastic front end.

  • avatar

    A friend of mine had one of these. It was not the most robust vehicle ever produced.

  • avatar

    This is a really cool junkyard find- you guys always find such cool cars in places i would not normally expect at first. I’m not closedminded, but the only thing i knew about cars in junkyards was that i sold an old clunker to a junk car buyer, and that it was in a junkyard. michigan sell junk cars the car in this article is cool, but my car certainly belonged in a junk yard

  • avatar

    The 79 in the ad looks much more like a Datsun to me, for some reason. Seems like it would have been unusual in that day to have a truck with wood tone, and leather (?) seats.

    The Sundowner name and logos sounds like something you’d find on a pontoon boat.

  • avatar

    Used up but not quite worn out .

    Good story Crab .


  • avatar

    Pardon me a moment while I pull on my anorak and push my glasses up my nose:

    While I believe the historic advertising record will support your statement that the Sundowner model was the name for the long wheelbase model, your photographic evidence contradicts it. Allow me to expand:

    Pictured above is a 1984 Mazda B2000 long wheelbase. Immediate visual clues are the 4 tiedowns on the outside of the bed, as opposed to 3 on the shortbox.

    While I believe the Sundowner referred to the deluxe interior, I can also state that the red truck pictured above left Hiroshima with bucket seats, a centre console, and a tach.

    Granted, the red truck is a Canadian model, so perhaps we had a higher trim available (or the US had a lower trim). Regardless, either the truck featured in the article has had the Sundowner badges added, or Sundowner does not refer exclusively to LWB trucks.

    I had 2 wonderful years with my SuperB. The combination of a carb that would freeze for 8 months of the year, and the arrival of a second child meant that I had to part with it at a significant emotional loss.

    • 0 avatar

      I do believe you are correct. I worked at a Mazda store back then, and I believe that the Sundowner was a trim package that was a step up from the base model. I also think I remember that all the longbeds were at least in Sundowner trim. There was also a Sundowner Sport that had a little more equipment. That “SE-5” model was a later trim level, and was a step down from what a Sundowner came up with, IIRC. We were supplied by Mazda’s east coast importer, things may have been different out Murilee’s way.

      Back then, the Japanese were under a voluntary restraint agreement as to how many passenger cars they could import, but that didn’t apply to pickup trucks, so Mazda was always trying to drum up more truck business. At the time, Mazdas were being raced at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and the east coast distributor held a dealer meeting on race weekend. As one of the enticements to come, they’d sell us a very optioned up truck for just a little more than what we normally paid for a basic one, so we’d head off to the meeting, bring back as many of the spiffed up trucks as they’d give us,and enjoy the race weekend as well.

      We sold a good number of these, and they seemed to give our customers good service. Despite only having 90 hp, the long stroke engine provided enough torque to where it wasn’t uncommon for an SCCA racer to carry a small sedan on a trailer with one. I can see where that wouldn’t work in the mountains of Colorado, but for those of us east of the Mississippi, it was just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        I think your correct the 2 litre engine did have a longer stroke.

        My brother had a 81 B2200, diesel. The diesel was a licence built Perkins, gem of an engine. The problem back then was the 5 speed gearboxes tended to fail. His failed, my father had a E2200 which was a midsize cab over flat bed, same engine and gearbox. His gearbox failed.

        I found a 81 Ford Courier that was rolled with an 1800 in it. If I remember correctly the engine was from the VC line of single overhead camshaft engines, similar to the Capella engine which started out as a 1600, which I think had a square bore and stroke. I could be wrong.

        I ended up doing a re-build of the 1800. My DCOE side draughts from my rally ute were sitting idle so I went the full hog on his engine.

        I found that the Toyota Crown pistons fitted straight in, gudgeon pins and crown height and bore all worked out. I can’t remember what Crown engine the piston were for, but they had a conical shaped crown.

        Opened up the ports, machined the valve guides so there was only stem and dropped a set of tuned headers on. Got a billet cam ground with a extra lift and quite a mild grind, to give some better midrange torque.

        It flew. In fourth on day I was driving in the wet and gave it some throttle and I started drifting up a four lane highway at an odd angle. The funny thing was it had enough grunt to actually control the vehicle! The tyres were almost “illegal” with their tread and they were still the stock tyres on it.

        People around me and coming from the opposite direction all slowed down, but I stayed in my lane.

        The vehicle felt heavier than it really was to drive. The suspension for a 1 ton ute seemed to be rather pliant compared to what Datsun at the time and Toyota had.

      • 0 avatar

        I hate to be that guy but the stroke of an engine plays no part in its torque production, neither in its peak number nore it’s distribution along the curve. A short stroke 2.0 will make exactly the same as a long stroke 2.0 assuming an otherwise identical balance of parts. While the long throw will in theory provide more leverage the smaller surface area of the piston will exactly counter that with less applied force. On the other hand a long stroke at the cost of a smaller bore may effect top end output greatly giving the impression of a torquy engine that drops off with higher revs.

        • 0 avatar


          An undersquare (long stroke) engine will have smaller valves than a square or than an oversquare engine, generally speaking. This will have reduce high rpm breathing –> high rpm torque –> max horsepower but it will have little effect on low rpm torque.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Unlicensed merchandise in #21? You betcha. At least the Passat is where it belongs.

  • avatar

    The compact truck jihadists should take note of the US TV commercials.

    Back during their peak, those trucks were being pitched based upon fuel economy, price and lifestyle, not as alternatives to large trucks.

    Mazda wasn’t the only automaker to use that pitch, and you couldn’t market a small truck like that today. That market has moved on.

  • avatar

    “Mazda SE-5 just $5995”

    Geez, I’ll take 3 please

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Great little trucks, I knew several people that had them and loved them. It would be nice to have a true compact truck that is simple and inexpensive but those days are gone. Maybe if the Chinese market a small truck.

  • avatar

    I know somebody who has one of those, just about that vintage and still running fine. It’s the beater he leaves up at the cottage. The paint’s pretty oxidized, but otherwise it doesn’t look too bad.

  • avatar

    I drove that exact vehicle during high school and college. Many memories, thanks for posting.

    For a moment I suspected it was mine. However, mine had a Sony cassette stereo, a sliding glass rear window, and a large crease in the driver’s side door where someone kicked it in (and I subsequently popped it out). The sheetmetal isn’t much thicker than paper or foil.

    The 90HP engine saved my life many times as a teenager. Because it KEPT ME FROM TROUBLE. :) But the stick shift and direct steering was fun anyway.

  • avatar

    Strictly my perception, in my little corner of the country (Maine), but I’d say more Mazdas were sold than Couriers.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I’m seeing references on the ‘net to this thing having 80hp, which is my recollection. (I was in the market at the time). The Toyota had 103 HP while the Nissan had a stunning 106. Nice looking truck and competitive, except for the HP.

    1984 was the year the import restraints kicked in, just as the economy turned around in a big way. Before restraints, it was common to see these trucks advertised at 5k in 4×2. After restraints, you paid msrp and considered yourself lucky.

    • 0 avatar

      The voluntary restraint agreement didn’t apply to pickups, and it started in ’81. I wish you’d come by our place, we’d have cut you a deal. We sold plenty but could always get more.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Right. The import quotas didn’t affect trucks,but they heavily influenced prices. During this time if you wanted a Toyota car, there would be a grease board with a description and its expected arrival date.

        The restraints did start in 1981, but I expect my experience was so extreme because the quotas for that year were behind the curve. The restraints added at least 1500 to the price of a Japanese car that year, which was my experience. Very considerable in percentage terms.

        You would pay a considerable premium over msrp.

    • 0 avatar

      At least by 1988 the B2600 had 121 horsepower. Unfortunately, Mazda didn’t have a V6 option so 121 horsepower was the max for a late 80s/early 90s B-series, compared to 150hp (Toyota) and 160hp (Nissan).

  • avatar

    The 1917 SE-5 came with 150hp, soon upgraded to 200hp. Just sayin’. Of course, it only had one seat…

  • avatar

    We had 2 of these as delivery vehicles at the auto parts store that I worked at in high school. Someone needed to take them home at night so they wouldn’t get vandalized in the parking lot of the store. I’m not sure what they were thinking giving a HS kids the keys to a company truck. I took decent care of it I guess and it was able to withstand insane amounts of mechanical abuse.

  • avatar

    Didn’t sundowner have negative connotations? Like “my son… He’s kinda a sundowner.. Got water on the brain”

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