Junkyard Find: 2006 Mazda Mazdaspeed6

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Back in 2006, Jonny Lieberman reviewed the then-new Mazdaspeed6 for this publication. He deemed it ugly and slow off the line, but didn't question the reason for its existence. As it turned out, very few car shoppers felt the need to own a Mazdaspeed6, and it got the axe after just two model years. Here's one of the handful that made it out of dealerships, found in a self-service boneyard in Tulsa, Oklahoma a few months back.

This is the second Mazdaspeed6 I've found in a car graveyard, after a 2007 in a facility near Denver, Colorado. In both cases, I've been skeptical that I had a legitimate Mazdaspeed6, but the VINs check out.

The 2006 Mazdaspeed6 started at $27,995 (about $43,344 in 2023 dollars), making it a bit cheaper than the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX sedan and quite a lot cheaper than the Subaru Impreza WRX STi sedan.

It wasn't nearly as wild-looking as those two, though. The decklid spoiler was subdued and where's the monstrous hood scoop?

Some knowledgeable junkyard shopper grabbed the engine and transaxle out of this car, perhaps in order to swap it into a platform cousin such as the Mercury Milan. It was a very nervous 2.3-liter straight-four, making 274 turbocharged horses.

The only transmission available in the Mazdaspeed6 was a six-speed manual. Power went to all four wheels, naturally.

The interior is grimy and full of leaves, but the body looks to have been in good condition before it got here and someone bought most of the front body.

You'll find one in every car. You'll see.

You don't see many Grumpy Cat stickers these days.

Why did the Mazdaspeed6 (or MazdaSpeed6, Mazda Speed6, Mazdaspeed 6, or whatever variation you prefer) fail to sell well? Was it insufficiently fast and/or furious? Or was it guilty of being a sedan with three pedals in a slushboxed truck world? Feel free to speculate in the comments.

*Ed. note -- the failure of this car to sell well is depressing. I really wanted one, and would've bought one had I had more money back then.


[Images: The author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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2 of 28 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Sep 19, 2023

    Mazdaspeed was a reputable tuner outfit, kinda like Racing Beat (but Racing Beat was focused on Rotary-engined Mazdas) before Mazda acquired them and ruined their name.

  • Mustangfast Mustangfast on Sep 20, 2023

    I had an 06 V6 and loved that car. 230k trouble free miles until I sold it. I remember they were criticized for being too small vs competitors but as a single guy it was the right size for me. I recall the 2.3 didn’t have a reputation for reliability, unlike the V6 and I4. I think it likely didn’t take off due to the manual-only spec, price tag, and power vs the V6 engine and the way it delivered that power. It was always fun to see the difference between these and normal ones, since these were made in Japan whereas all others were flat rock

  • ToolGuy "Selling as I got a new car and don't need an extra." ...Well that depends on what new car you chose, doesn't it? 😉
  • El scotto The days of "Be American, buy America" are long gone. Then there's the mental gymnastics of "is a Subaru made in Lafayette, IN more American than something from gm or Ford made in Mexico?" Lastly, it gets down to people's wallets; something cheap on Amazon or Temu will outsell its costlier American-made item. Price not Patriotism sells most items. One caveat: any US candidate should have all of his/her goods made in the USA.
  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.