Rare Rides: The Excellent 1988 Mazda 323 GT-X, a Four-wheel Drive Hot Hatch

Today’s Rare Ride is an Eighties hot hatch from the good people at Mazda. Offered for a short time, the 323 GT-X sold in very limited numbers. Today it’s difficult to find one for sale, but there happens to be one in the rustproof state of Washington.

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Rare Rides: The 1995 Mazda Lantis V6 Type R, Don't Call It 323

Today’s Rare Ride comes to us courtesy of commenter Bumpy ii, who linked this imported JDM Mazda on the Thunderbird Rare Ride posted a few weeks ago.

Let’s check out a compact five-door liftback with a very small V6.

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Rare Rides: The 1991 Mercury Tracer LTS, Put It on Your List

Rare Rides has featured Ford’s compact Escort offering previously, in a first-generation EXP from 1986. Today’s Escort hails from the model’s second generation and wears a Mercury badge instead. It also has three important letters on the back: LTS.

Let’s check out a sporty economy sedan from the good people at Mercury.

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Rare Rides: The 1994 Mercury Capri - Miata's Serious Competitor

The Rare Rides series has featured two Capri-adjacent vehicles in past: This car’s immediate predecessor, the ASC McLaren Capri, and its contemporary competitor, the Lotus Elan. Let’s find out how much better the final Capri was than either of those two (or not).

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Badge Engineering Gone Right: The Ford Laser TX3

Aside from the Ford Probe/Mazda MX-6, the collaboration between the Blue Oval and the pride of Hiroshima didn’t produce much in the way of performance cars. But a little know rebadge effort did give Ford a 4WD, rally-derived pocket rocket.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Mazda GLC Hatchback

When the Mazda Familia first came to North America, it had rear-wheel-drive, its chassis was very similar to that of an RX-7, and it was called the GLC, for “great little car.” By 1981, the GLC had switched to front-wheel-drive, and later in the decade it became known as the 323. In this series, we’ve seen this ’80 hatch, this ultra-rare ’81 sedan, this ’83 sedan, this ’84 hatchback, and now today’s interestingly decorated ’84. We’ve also seen what’s probably the most original GLC in the country, courtesy of Mazda HQ in California.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Mercury Tracer Hatchback

Here’s a rare one! We’re familiar with the 1990s Mercury Tracer that was a Mercury-badged Ford Escort (which was itself a Ford-badged Mazda), but the 1987-89 Tracer was a rebadged and left-hand-drive Ford Laser, a crypto-snazzy Australian version of the Mazda 323. They sold in very small quantities in the United States, and so it took me a moment to identify this example that I spotted last week in a Denver self-service wrecking yard. As an excellent example of “rare ≠ valuable,” it seemed worthy of this series.

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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.

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Junkyard Find: 1981 Mazda GLC Sedan

The Mazda GLC, aka Familia aka 323 was once a fairly common sight on American roads, but just about all of the GLCs were hatchbacks. Here’s a rare sedan that was able to hang on for 30 years before being discarded.

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  • Corey Lewis Terribly unsafe in a crash. Almost to the point where I can't believe they sold them here.
  • Johnster My understanding is that the Mark VI Coupe was built on the shorter 114" wheelbase shared with the Panther-based LTD and Marquis, while the Mark VI sedan was built on the longer 119" wheelbase used by both the Continental Coupe and Sedan, and that the Mark VI Coupe was then slightly shorter and smaller than the Continental Coupe.
  • Varezhka Ugh, had one as a rental and no wonder they disappeared quickly.Now they still have the current gen. Quest as a Nissan Elgrand in the home market, but even in the minivan heaven that is Japan (where minivan has a 20% marketshare as a bodystyle) they only sell 2~3000 units annually.
  • Fred Look at me! I drive a weird truck thing made by a guy who is losing money running Twitter.
  • Fred The mid-engine Vette hasn't been as successful as the previous race car. They did just come in 2nd at Daytona 24hrs but I'm not sure it's enough for buyers to line up.