Cheap Rally Machine: 1988 Mazda 323 GTX

This next tip comes from Matt C who writes: Sure, everyone knows about the Subaru WRX and Lancer EVO. The Celica All-Trac bowed out earlier, but it’s notorious for one of the most epic cheating methods in motorsports. And some rally fans will remember the Mitsubishi Gallant VR4. But how many remember Mazda’s entry? Well, you can take advantage of this obscurity (and a transmission problem) to snag one for under $2000! Find this 1988 Mazda 323 GTX offered for $1999 in Canton, GA via craigslist.

From the seller:

1988 Mazda 323 GTX

cylinders: 4 cylinders

drive: 4wd

fuel: gas

odometer: 61252

paint color: white

title status: clean

transmission: manual

type: hatchback

1 of 1,243 imported into the US.

Rare, turbocharged, all-wheel-drive.

61,252 miles

It starts and runs well, but needs work to be a reliable driver. I got it as a project that had sat for a number of years and brought it home in Dec, 2019. I have changed the timing belt, acc belts, water pump, thermostat, valve cover gasket, plugs/wires, oil/filter, and fixed a small brake fluid leak. I’ve driven it around the neighborhood once and just don’t have time to work on it to be able to really enjoy it. Compression in the engine tested good before I did any work. Has rare digital dash that seems to work from the little time I’ve run the car.

Story I got when I bought it was that a previous owner changed the clutch and then couldn’t get it to shift afterwards. I found the linkage disconnected in multiple spots, hooked it up and got it to shift easily into everything but 4th; not sure if just a linkage issue or a trans issue. Brakes work, but I’d at least change pads before driving it beyond just testing it.

Comes with a ton of extra parts and looks to have upgraded swaybars on it. Needs cosmetic work and would suggest checking everything mechanical as I’ve not fully gone through it. It’s a project, but it’s a cool one and shouldn’t be huge for someone with the time.

Bring a trailer, some $100 bills, and take it home.

Open to offers.

May be open to trades for other fun stuff with a motor.

Has clear GA title in my name.

I work late almost every day, but could meet around 8pm most any day to show it with enough daylight left to check it out and load it up.

See a better way to drive something rally ready?