Although not as enjoyable driving as it could appear in commercials, however, the Mazda 323 GTX was the first vehicle to be offered with the famous “zoom-zoom” slogan. The rally car was built to be driven on the road and took home the SCCA Pro Rally Championship in 1988. Then, a decked-out racing version took home the World Rally Championship in 1987. Withrace-readychassis, and a genuinely unique transmission. Could you locate the Mazda 323 GTX now?
In contrast to the other 323 models, the GTX had full-time 4-wheel drive, which was a first for Mazda. It also featured an overhead cam with double valves and a 16-valve, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 130 horsepower and 136 pounds-feet of torque. These were the horsepower figures. Millen Motorsports made 250 horsepower from the engine for racing and offered a 190 horsepower package for street use.
To get the most benefit from the rev-happy engine, The car came only with a five-speed manual transmission. The fun was further enhanced by the planetary gear center differential that splits the torque equally between the rear and front wheels. It also has a switch mounted on the dash to trigger an electronic lock for the diff.
The suspension consisted of front struts and coils with antiroll bars with twin trapezoidal links and mounts. There were also coils at the rear and, again, antiroll hardware. Brakes were discs throughout and vented in front, and the car ran with 16-inch wheels. The car also had a double-deck rear spoiler.
It was a car with no bells and whistles. There was no cruise control, and if you wanted the sunroof, it was one that you had to crank to open manually. But it did come with an adjustable tilt steering wheel and the driver’s seat that was adjustable in height, along with lumbar and lateral supports.
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Highlights of Mazda 323 gtx
- The factory 1.6L turbocharged engine
- Rebuilt 5-speed transmission and receipt
- 4-wheel drive
- Lockable center differential
- Homologation factory rally vehicle
- About 1,243 GTXs were sold between 1988 and 1989
- Digital dash
- Air conditioning
- Power windows
- Power locks
- Security system
- 82,000 miles
In 1985, Mazda launched its 323 4WD with the GTX choice package. The car was equipped with 140hp out of the box, but in the case of the rally car, Mazda upped the horsepower to 250hp. The car was small, and the light was highly agile. However, it was not available in large quantities, and as a homologation-specific model, it was a limited production. It was built at the end of Group B, providing Mazda an already solid place in Group A while other well-funded manufacturers, such as Lancia, were forced to figure out their business and create entirely new cars.
In 1988, Mazda took part in eight rallies. Two of them were second-place places. They missed out on finishing on the podium for 1988 and finished 4th in the manufacturer’s championship. 1989 was the last year for the very first version of the 323 GTX and was also the year in which Mazda would be its most successful year.
In 1989, Mazda introduced the new version of its Mazda 323 GTX, with the latest design and body style and a brand new 1.8L turbocharged motor. The GTX included 180hp, while the more recent Japan-only GTR, available between 1992 and 1993, produced an engine that produced 210hp. The horsepower in the version for the rally was raised to 280hp.
Mazda 323 gtx Buyers’ Guide
If you locate a GTX model, there are some things to look over: Transfer cases typically get worn out because of the absence of maintenance. Because their oil reservoir differs from transmission fluid, sometimes they need to check the level of the liquid and change it. The bearing for the rear output shaft is typically the first one to be removed, so crawl under the car and attempt to move the forward yoke of the drive shaft upwards and down.
- If it’s not tight, then you’ll have difficulties. Mechanical advance weighs inside the distributor (yes, it’s got the mechanical advancement!) may become stuck or break the springs.
- The ignition timing could be irregular, or in the worst-case scenario, this could cause the weights that advance to strike the interior of the distributor housing and cut the housing.
- If the accommodation isn’t damaged, the springs and weights are priced at $7.
- If your car suffers from warped rotors, don’t expect it to be a straightforward repair. The rotor is in the hub and requires a complete hub disassembly, disassembly, and, most likely, a wheel bearing replacement.
- The simple task of replacing front brakes indeed involves the assistance of an expert Mazda expert. Also, an uncommon assembly defect (or error in the timing belt replacement) can make the top of your crank fall off!
The Reasons We Like It
The 323 GTXs are the most valuable homologation specials produced specifically for Group A, rallying back to the 1980s.
It is an AWD vehicle driven by the turbocharged factory 1.6L four-cylinder, which is connected to a five-speed manual transaxle and a lockable center differential.
The engine’s output is low at 132hp. However, tests over time showed that it was as if it had more pull than the horsepower figure suggested, and the grip and handling were noted as exceptional.
This car appears unmodified and painted with Sunrise Red over Lancaster Silver lower cladding. Unfortunately, just one picture from the outside is offered, and according to what we’ve seen, the paint and body appear fantastic.
The interior does not show noticeable wear, despite the odometer reading the mileage as 134k, and we like the tri-tone grey fabric seat covers and cassette radio that came with the car.
The 323 GTX is affordable compared to other homologation-exclusive limited-edition vehicles of the time. Its comps indicate that it is priced reasonably for the mileage.
A one with 172k miles sold for $7100 during Bring a Trailer in October 2018, while a 186k-mile car we discussed in August 2020 was sold at $7k. This car is fewer miles and is waiting for the new owner’s hands to tear it apart in the dirt.
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Mazda released the 323 series back in 1988. The series sold about 31 different models from the mazda 323 gtx series in the United States. The 323 GTX was among the models. It was priced at around $13,000, which was a fantastic value for its quality. The main reason behind the demise of the 323 GTX was the lack of sales.
The lack of public and marketing information could be a reason for this since those who live in the US only learned about 323 as an econobox and nothing else. A small number of people knew it was a GTX that could compete with the VW Golf GTI in terms of performance. The crowd in Europe was awed by this version of the 323 for precisely similar reasons.