Finnish Line – For Sale: 1985 Mazda 323 Turbo Sleeper


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)

[Source: Nettiauto]

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16 responses to “Finnish Line – For Sale: 1985 Mazda 323 Turbo Sleeper”

  1. njhoon Avatar

    Is it bad that I am wondering what the shipping costs are to the US?

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      'twould be easier to replicate it than ship it.

      1. njhoon Avatar

        It would but finding one here in the North East that isn't rusted out is close to impossible. I was messing around on the site and started looking at the Lada's and that is when the thought of filling a few shipping containers starts to gain traction and not seem too outrageous.

  2. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    That looks justabout ready to grenade itself spectacularly. Count me in!

    1. 1slowvw Avatar

      It's widely acknowledged that all engines work there best in the moment and hours before they blow up.
      The only real way to know if it's working it's best would be to buy it and go v-8 hunting I guess.

  3. facelvega Avatar

    My car in college was an '89 323 sedan. It was slow with the 82hp engine, and though the handling limits weren't high, they were accessible and engaging. My car was almost crude inside compared to my cousin's civic, but it was far more entertaining to drive and let you know that you were completely in control of what little it could do. I always wanted to try out the crazy fast versions of the platform, but it seems less and less likely as they disappear. Guess these days I'll stick with my even older Z car instead.

  4. dukeisduke Avatar

    What did they call their AWD car? The 323X?

    1. CABEZAGRANDE Avatar

      A AWD Turbo 5th gen car was the GTX.

  5. Andy Avatar

    This thing is the bomb-diggity.

  6. Xehpuk Avatar

    I like the wheels. 1900€ seems a bit expensive to get them though.


    Neat! Looks to be the turbo and injection set-up off of the B6T engine found in later model GT or GTX model 323s. Very cool, but I wonder why they didn't just go find a 5th gen GT, or just swap in the B6T whole from the later gen car, seeing as it's DOHC and a little bigger displacement at 1.6L. But that B6T is a potent little engine. The one in the B6T swapped Festiva I used to own was making around 200 FWHP on the stock turbo with nothing more than some exhaust work, some bigger injectors, an aggressive tune, and 18lbs of boost. But in any case, seems like a good price to me depending on how sorted it is.

    1. TurboBrick Avatar

      You can only add so much power before they consider it a completely different car from the original and then you're screwed.

  8. MVEilenstein Avatar

    I'd pay $1900 for it.

  9. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    This seems to be a most excellent idea, well executed, and pretty well stuck together. Rusty and others are right to worry about how much and how soon the shrapnel cloud will manifest. But the price is right, and only one lucky contestant gets to find out.

  10. laurent Avatar

    elle les vaux les 1900 moi j'en ai une de 1.6 et lui ferai grand bien d'avoir ce turbo là deja d'origine celle que j'ai n'est en rien négligeable une histoire de 110 chevaux d'origine et là jla prépare pour taper du rallye avec

  11. rick sutcliffe Avatar
    rick sutcliffe

    What you are seeing is the mazda/ford e5t. They were factory efi turbo in japan. I have 2 lasers (one is a kb whit lightning) i also have a e5t in my garage which was pulled from a 323. The turbo has been changed. They ran a vj8 factory. The only things upgraded looks to be the turbo itself and the addition of an intercooler