Junkyard Find: 1989 Mazda 626 DX

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1989 mazda 626 dx
After selling a rear-wheel-drive 626 here starting in the 1978 model year, Mazda introduced a brand-new front-wheel-drive version for 1983. That was the same year the Camry first appeared on our shores, and the cheaper 626 lured many car shoppers away from Toyota showrooms with its impressive list of standard features. The Camry got a major update for 1987, and a new generation of 626 appeared the following year. Here’s one of those cars, photographed in a Northern California self-service yard last winter.
Back in its homeland, this car was known as the Capella. Before getting 626 badges here, the North American Capella was sold as the Mazda RX-2 (with Wankel power) and the 616 (with piston power). After 2002, the 626 name got axed and the Mazda6 took over.
This car is the El Cheapo-spec DX trim level, so it has hand-cranked windows and unpowered seats. The price tag started at $10,499, which comes to about $25,065 in 2022 dollars.
The original purchaser decided that air conditioning was worth an additional $795 (about $1,900 today). Note the ECO button below the A/C switch.
Manual transmissions were becoming increasingly shunned by American drivers of midsize sedans by the late 1980s, but this car has the base five-speed manual. The automatic transmission option cost nearly as much as the refrigerated air: 720 bucks.
The engine is a 2.2-liter F-series four-cylinder, rated at 110 horsepower. A 145-horse turbocharged version of the 626 was available.
The coupe version of the 626 was known as the MX-6 here, while the sporty hatchback became the Ford Probe.
This one made it past the magical 200,000-mile mark, which is great for a 1980s machine not made by Mercedes-Benz, Honda, or Toyota.
The paint has been nuked hard by the California sun, but the car appears to have been well-cared-for during its life.
The block-off plates where switches might have lived tell us of the option roads not taken by the original buyer.
It may have been a good (enough) runner at the end, but few buyers want a 32-year-old small sedan with the wrong number of pedals and ugly paint these days. Next stop: The Crusher.
Standard features! Big warranty! Cheaper than Accord!
In Japan, this generation of Capella got a drama-packed ad set in Europe. The Citroën DS at the end is a nice touch.For links to more than 2,200 additional Junkyard Finds, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.[Images by the author]
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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Jun 13, 2022

    The RX-2 and 616 (I remember those) were RWD cars. The piston-engined variant of the later RX-3 was the Mazda 808.

  • RHD RHD on Jul 22, 2022

    Why are the comments repeating? Some bugs still remain to work out.

    The re-do has resulted in a larger font size and wider line spacings. The annoying video ads are still a problem.

  • MaintenanceCosts This is now our fourth 20th Anniversary GTI, and the third of those four that had major structural modifications for purely aesthetic reasons. I didn't picture Tim as the type to want to join the STANCE YO crowd, but here we are?
  • JMII This is why I don't watch NASCAR, it just a crash fest. Normally due the nature of open-wheel cars you don't see such risky behavior during Indy car events. You can't trade paint and bump draft with an Indy car. I thought it was a sad ending for a 500. While everyone wants a green flag finish at some point (3 laps? 5 laps?) red flagging it is just tempting people too much like a reset button in a game.The overall problem is the 500 is not a "normal" race. Many one-off competitors enter it and for almost every driver they are willing to throw away the entire season championship just to win the "500". It sure pays way more then winning the championship. This would be like making a regular season NFL game worth more then the Super Bowl. This encourages risky behavior.I am not sure what the fix is, but Indy's restart procedures have been a mess for years. If I was in charge the rule would be pit speed limiter until the green flag drops at a certain place on the track - like NASCARs restart "zone". Currently the leader can pace the field however they wish and accelerate whenever they choose. This leads to multiple false and jumped starts with no penalty for the behavior. Officals rarely wave off such restarts, but that did happened once on Sunday so they tried to make driver behave. The situation almost didn't happen as there were two strategies in the end with some conserving fuel and running old tires, driving slower with others racing ahead. However the last caution put everyone on even terms so nobody had advantage. It always gets crazy in the last few laps but bunching up the field with a yellow or red flag is just asking for trouble.
  • Tim Healey Lol it's simply that VWVortex is fertile ground for interesting used cars!
  • Jalop1991 I say, install gun racks.Let the games begin!
  • EBFlex For those keeping track, Ford is up to 24 recalls this year and is still leading the industry. But hey, they just build some Super Dutys that are error free. Ford even sent out a self congratulatory press release saying they built Super Duty’s with zero defects. What an accomplishment!