Not too long ago, I read a TTAC Junkyard Find piece by the esteemed Murilee Martin, in which he remarked the early-’80s, FWD 323 GLC:s he used to drive were good – maybe not great, but close – little cars, offering better bang for buck than the more fun to drive Civic of the time. This display of humdrum mediocrity is obviously due to the lack of a turbo engine, as later 323:s came as madcap four-wheel-drive turbo hot hatches, something Mazda clearly realized they needed to realize.
The thing to do, then, is to turbocharge these little Mazdas so they can match their latter-born brethren. This is what the seller of this Finnish 323 has done, and the sales ad marks down the hardware to back up his claims.
While I’m not the one to mock the clean, well-packaged lines of the ’85 323 seen here, it’s not far from a dictionary definition of “shitbox“. Flat, dirty paint, knocks on every corner, photographed on a slushy parking lot. Hardly anything to set one’s soul on fire, unless you’re into Nissan Bluebird turbo wheels that handily fit the Mazda’s 114,3 bolt pattern.
So, this is where the going gets tough. Slapped onto the 1.5-litre engine is a turbo setup of unknown, yet most likely Mazda-related origin. The formerly carbureted engine is now fuel injected, and has the MAF from a newer 323. There’s a 5-speed box for you to row.
The engine has Wiseco pistons, the bottom end has been re-balanced, the head has been re-machined and the turbo itself is a Garrett GT25. There has been a brake overhaul, and the arms and bushings have been replaced; so in no way is this just a rusty 1985 Mazda with a turbo on it. With 0.8 bar the car produces 170hp, which should be enough. “The car can be made faster with higher pressures, but right now there’s no need”, according to the ad. Sounds like the power plant is just enough for the basic structure.
But still, even if the engine has been put together skillfully, there are two pieces of broken-off MDF board holding the battery in place. The budget can only stretch so far.
As the car originally came without a rev gauge, the interior has been suitably updated. The car has passed inspection and the papers state the modifications, so it’s road legal. There’s no power limit marked on the documents, so if your balls are as big and shiny as the gearknob, you can try and find out just how much power you can wring out of the setup.
1900 eur puts this turbo Mazda on your driveway, ready to humiliate “Daddy’s little BMW Boys”, as the ad puts it. What do you think?
Link to ad (mostly in Finnish)