10k: Wrecked 2010 Mazdaspeed3 – Cheap Performance

The Mazda Mazdaspeed3 (or is it just the Mazdaspeed3?) is a hot-hatch rocketship that is powered by a jewel of a 2.3 liter, 263 hp turbocharged, direct injected four cylinder engine mated to a slick 6-speed manual transmission. They don’t even offer an automatic as an option! The “speed3” is quite affordable for the level of performance dished out; 0-60 in just 6.3 seconds is super quick for only $24,200 MSRP with a factory warranty. But for 1/3 the price of a new model, we are intrigued by this example that we stumbled across on ebay. This 2010 Mazdaspeed3 is essentially the same car still on dealer lots today and has been in a moderate front end collision. We think this is the perfect start to a track-day car or budget racer – great power, sharp handling and modern Japanese reliability is a great headstart versus the average 15 year old performance car in this price range. Find it here on ebay for $8900 Buy it Now (or make offer) in Huntingdon, PA.

It probably goes without saying, but the seller discloses that this puppy has a salvage title. Even if perfectly repaired, the “unclean” title would definitely hurt resale value down the road if it was sold as a street car. We say no problem – this just makes it perfect for a trackday car or amateur weekend race machine. It’s a DT opportunity in a 5-door package.

After checking suspension mounting point geometry on the unit body, we’d just fix the cosmetic damage if the structure is not badly tweaked. Of course the front fenders, bumper cover, and headlights would need to be replaced, but the hood looks perfectly usable. The radiator core support is apparently plastic on these cars and is broken here, so add that to the list. But from the pictures provided, the car appears fundamentally sound and good enough for a long life of abuse on the racetrack.

Apart from the deployed driver’s airbag the interior looks essentially brand new and could go a long way towards recouping costs if the new owner parts it out. The seats, climate control, stereo headunit, door cars, headliner, carpet and plastic trim would be up for sale within a few days if DT brought this sucker home. Next steps: find a racing seat on the local craigslist for $100, build and install a full roll cage, and buy a new safety harness. A set of super sticky yet reasonably priced tires such as Falken Azenis 615Ks on the widest wheels that will fit under the car is a sure way to improve grip in cornering, acceleration and braking.

Upgraded suspension might be in order, like a set of adjustable coilover shocks/springs both front and rear to get the car dialed in. We would definitely have a full alignment done before introducing this car to the track for the first time. The Mazdaspeed3 in its current iteration is a blast to drive on the street, and feels much more brutally powerful than the numbers would suggest (and that any FWD 5-door has the right to). It’s a compelling alternative to a Subaru WRX, without the added cost & complexity of the Subie’s rear drive system and three separate differentials (front, center, rear).

Mazdaspeed3s have apparently even raced in the Grand Am series – against some serious competition. We’d drive the heck out of this one if we bought it; lightened, stiffened, and be-stickered it would be a great  introduction to dedicated track cars. Unfortunately it’s a bit above the 24 Hours of Lemons budget cap, otherwise we’d suggest that Black Iron Racing pick it up as their next victim.

See a cheaper turbo Mazda that can beat this one in a race? Email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com