PistonHeads.com Forum

RE: Mazda 626GT: PH Carpool

RE: Mazda 626GT: PH Carpool

Monday 25th September

Mazda 626GT: PH Carpool

Can an £80 car really be a keeper? Let this PHer explain why he believes it is



Name: Joel Parsons
Car: 1989 Mazda 626 GT - 2.0 16v (no cat) with 4-wheel steering
Owned since: 2006
Previously owned: Ford Orion(aka Onion), Rover 220 Coupe, Rover 620TI, Saab 9-3 (modified), Nissan Almera, Nissan Primera, Saab 9000 Aero (lightly modified) and Saab 9-5 Aero(lightly modified and still own....awaiting valve replacement)


Why I bought it:
"I was bored at work, trawling through "no reserve" auctions on eBay. This Mazda came up with a few hours left and looked interesting, it was nearby and really cheap so quick phone call to Mum...."Lend me 80 quid, mum!" and I won the auction a couple of hours later at exactly £75.50... taxed and tested!"

What I wish I'd known:
"Research? It was a random buy one boring afternoon at work. I've found a fair amount of info on the engine since, it seems to be quite a pick in the USA, NZ, and OZ to put the 2.0 16v "FE-DOHC" engine into MX-5s as it's easily modified for turbo usage without any internal work. I've read that 300hp is quite easily attainable before engine internals need to be upgraded."

Things I love:
"The 4-wheel steering is great fun when it works, although it handles pretty well for an old car anyway. All four wheels need tracking again for it to be reliable though. I also love how it needs to be revved out. The need to hit the limiter in every gear and the look on people's faces as you scream past them in a 28-year old "family hatchback" is just great! I love how you feel the road too, not like most cars from the last two decades, and that it's different to what you normally see on the roads. It's totally uncommon and I'm the second owner with only 80k+ miles on the clock."


Things I hate:
"I did hate the fact the driver's window kept falling but I have recently fixed it with parts from a donor 626 GT I bought last year. The intermittent 4-wheel steering is annoying but once I get a new set of shoes and get all four wheels tracked, that'll be sorted. The sunroof is rusty but I have a glass sunroof from my donor to go in and I'll replace the ripped interior while I'm there. Bodywork is tarnished... really it needs to be resprayed but I hate/love the "scrap it!" look. Parts aren't always cheap or even attainable, especially the 4-wheel steering components."

Costs:
"I get somewhere between 22-27mpg but hell, who cares? I live six mins from work and love pushing it hard. Insurance wise, after I made three write off claims in one year (those are other stories... one of which saw a thief lock himself in my Nissan), I put the old girl back on the road about two to three years ago. She was literally the cheapest car I could insure at the time, so I spent some time on the suspension, replacing springs, shocks, joints, bushes, exhaust and got her through an MoT. Hard to say how much I've spent exactly but no more than £4-500 I suppose. I also fitted some polys and stiffer rear anti-roll bar as well."


Where I've been:
"Nowhere particularly memorable to be honest but it runs well. I went to Portsmouth and back a few weeks ago and it coped well with the 600 miles that day.

What next?
"Keep it! I have no intentions of ever selling her. I'd like my son to have her one day if possible. I have a spare engine from the donor so I really, really want to turbo it and put that in. Just time and money but she'd be an awesome "sleeper". There are quite a few jobs to do using parts from the donor but I should hopefully have everything I need to keep her going for the foreseeable future."


Want to share your car with PHers on Carpool? Email us at carpool@pistonheads.com!

 

 

Author
Discussion

threespires

Original Poster:

2,715 posts

134 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
Excellent, thanks for sharing.

pdg27

4 posts

34 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
Fantastic. Absolute bargain and I love the old Japanese stuff. I still miss my old Corolla GTI and Prelude VTI with 4WS too, it had a turning circle that would rival a London taxi.

MrGeoff

266 posts

95 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
Wow that was cheap! Where about are you based, that first picture looks like Ogmore, I could be completely wrong but looks identical!

Stick Legs

782 posts

88 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
I remember these as new cars when I was first in NZ. Great things and from that era of insane Japanese build quality.

Leins

6,200 posts

71 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
Superb as something a bit different, especially with the 4WS decals these came with

Don't know about others, but I want to hear more about the crim-detaining Nissan smile
Advertisement

Rutter

1,778 posts

129 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
We bought this one for £50 back in 2007 and it took us to Prague and (almost) back via 3 laps of the ring for czech wrecks. Decent car but not sure i'd want to live with its foibles as a daily driver!


fph

22 posts

40 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
An interesting car with the four wheel steering, is it a mechanical system? I liked the two door coupé version back when they were new.

C70R

2,996 posts

27 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
I love shedding as much as the next man (although I'm only brave enough to do it vicariously), but pseudo-Clarkson waffle like "handles well", "you can really feel the road" and "engine capable of 300bhp on standard internals" make me absolutely cringe when we're talking about an £80 banger.

Can't we just say that it's not a shed, and it might last a few months without major expense?
I'm not trying to drain the joy out of this - but surely the joy is getting a working car for £80, not pretending it's something else...

Talksteer

3,000 posts

156 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
My first car, I bought it off my mum for £0 + fixing it so it passed an MoT.

Given mine rotted away to uselessness in 2003 I'm always amazed that another one has lasted another 14 years!

They do rust on the underside (my dads Mazda 6 is going the same way) but if yours is low millage I imaging everything else has probably aged quite well.

Moral of the story don't drive Mazda's on rough, stony Northumbrian roads in winter!


J4CKO

22,619 posts

123 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
We sold one of these to a guy I worked with, the chap was tall, and wide, very.

A bit like Hightower in Police Academy, ironics as we worked for Greater Manchester Police, the seat was removed an the runners welded six inches further back so he fit in, he drove it happily for years, the seat was bent into his personal shape.


RSgeoff

201 posts

153 months

Monday 25th September
quotequote all
Had the coupe version back in the day - great car.

unsprung

1,283 posts

47 months

Tuesday 26th September
quotequote all
Sounds like a cracking concept for reality TV:

SHED EXTREME
Micro Budget Mayhem

MrHooky

74 posts

65 months

Tuesday 26th September
quotequote all
C70R said:
I love shedding as much as the next man (although I'm only brave enough to do it vicariously), but pseudo-Clarkson waffle like "handles well", "you can really feel the road" and "engine capable of 300bhp on standard internals" make me absolutely cringe when we're talking about an £80 banger.

Can't we just say that it's not a shed, and it might last a few months without major expense?
I'm not trying to drain the joy out of this - but surely the joy is getting a working car for £80, not pretending it's something else...
Why can't he say that? It's completely plausible.

Handles well can be said of cars irrespective of age. Arguably the older cars often better given they're devoid of heavy safety features. The mileage of this one suggests mechanicals won't be completely shot.

Feeling the road again completely believable. This car is the same generation as MKI MX-5s. Simple hydraulic steering as opposing to overly fat rimmed, electrically assisted systems.

Power up to 300bhp. Again, similar Imprezas and Evos from that era were making such power from 4-pot engines. And as the writer says, 'up to' so recognises something may well go pop.

Watch Chris Harris' piece on his 205 Rallye vs. the new 911 (991) R. Then get off your high horse.

Thought it was a fascinating article given a working automobile has been purchased for £75.50. Brilliant motoring.

phil_cardiff

3,463 posts

131 months

Tuesday 26th September
quotequote all
MrGeoff said:
Wow that was cheap! Where about are you based, that first picture looks like Ogmore, I could be completely wrong but looks identical!
It's definitely Ogmore. I hope the owner isn't based here or his lovely 626 will be rusty in no time.

C70R

2,996 posts

27 months

Tuesday 26th September
quotequote all
MrHooky said:
C70R said:
I love shedding as much as the next man (although I'm only brave enough to do it vicariously), but pseudo-Clarkson waffle like "handles well", "you can really feel the road" and "engine capable of 300bhp on standard internals" make me absolutely cringe when we're talking about an £80 banger.

Can't we just say that it's not a shed, and it might last a few months without major expense?
I'm not trying to drain the joy out of this - but surely the joy is getting a working car for £80, not pretending it's something else...
Why can't he say that? It's completely plausible.

Handles well can be said of cars irrespective of age. Arguably the older cars often better given they're devoid of heavy safety features. The mileage of this one suggests mechanicals won't be completely shot.

Feeling the road again completely believable. This car is the same generation as MKI MX-5s. Simple hydraulic steering as opposing to overly fat rimmed, electrically assisted systems.

Power up to 300bhp. Again, similar Imprezas and Evos from that era were making such power from 4-pot engines. And as the writer says, 'up to' so recognises something may well go pop.

Watch Chris Harris' piece on his 205 Rallye vs. the new 911 (991) R. Then get off your high horse.

Thought it was a fascinating article given a working automobile has been purchased for £75.50. Brilliant motoring.
I'm not on a high horse.
If you want to get lost in wordsmithery and b*llocks, you're absolutely welcome - I'd much prefer the guy to actually tell us what it's like. As for comparing it to an MX5, I can only imagine you're joking...

Bennet

991 posts

54 months

Tuesday 26th September
quotequote all
C70R said:
but pseudo-Clarkson waffle like "handles well", "you can really feel the road" and "engine capable of 300bhp on standard internals"
I can't comment on the power claim. The article doesn't state what sort of cars are being used as benchmark for comparing the handling and feel. Good compared to what?

An elise? A boxster? Probably not.
An equivalent modern family car - almost certainly yes.

My old Mondeo had massively better feel and handling than my wife's Z4, so I don't find it difficult to believe at all.

PistonBroker

1,331 posts

149 months

Tuesday 26th September
quotequote all
Fantastic stuff!

I thought I did well back in the mid-noughties when I picked up a boggo J-reg 626 1.8 saloon for £300, did nothing to it at all, and then sold it a year later for £200 when it failed its MOT on brakes. But this is a much better - and cooler! - result.

I don't recall being blown away by the handling of ours, but then it didn't have 4WS which I guess helps matters.

Good work OP, keep on shedding!

SteveTTT

20 posts

59 months

Friday 29th September
quotequote all
Not familiar with that exact model, but my French/Dutch brother in law had the 2 door coupe 626 which eventually died in 2015 of overheating issues after 250,000+ km. Am unsure of the age but I think it was over 30 yrs old then, and quite a cool car in its way, and presumably a variant of the 4 door featured here.