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)
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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.
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org!