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Thread: 1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

  1. #1
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    1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

    So I picked this up recently.



    Not my picture, I'd forgotten my camera and it's been in a dark workshop since. I'll get better ones shortly. Now I imagine all the Australians will be like "Ha ha ha! I see a million of these every day! Also Kylie Minogue!" but they're pretty rare here nowadays, especially prefacelift ones. I haven't seen a 3-door for a long time (except the 4x4 Turbo). I'd say I see a BF 323 maybe once a month, generally it'll be a facelift 5-door. I think the 3-door was quite a poor seller here (bar the sports models), I suspect the 5-door was better value or something.

    Anyway, I was attracted to this one by the unusually low mileage (55K miles) and the fact that it had one owner from 1985-2010 or so, can't remember the date. Just a good feeling about it, nice provenance and originality, still has the original dealer plates and window sticker. The MOT (inspection) had lapsed, but it hadn't been in for a test, though the last guy said it needed a pair of tyres, so I thought I'd take a shot at it.

    So I got it back via recovery truck (the penalties for illegal tread depth are unusually harsh so I didn't want to risk driving it) and got my mechanic to have a look at it. I bought blind, so it was actually several days before I saw it and I was pleasantly surprised - pretty mint condition bar some old boy rust prevention fixes. The interior is immaculate too, but generally these old boy cars tend to be nice inside.



    Even the most basic BF interior looks quite nice, even with it being an LX it gets a digital clock. The stereo is a Goodmans one where you can pull it out as an anti-theft measure, but seeing as it's only me who plays cassettes nowadays I doubt I'll bother. It's aftermarket, but it might have been fitted by the dealer - these older Japanese cars often had things like that done at a dealer level.

    With it being nicer than I hoped, I thought I might as well get on with it. A couple of tyres were fitted and then it went straight for an MOT (mainly due to a misunderstanding with my Baltic mechanic). To my surprise, it only needed a wheel bearing to receive a pass. Lovely!

    So technically I can buy a tax disc and start driving it now, but I've left it with the mechanic for the cambelt to be replaced (it's not due for another 5K in mileage, but it's 27 years old), general service, etc. Then I can drive it for a bit in the interim before I drop it in for the blemishes to be sorted out and repainted, should look absolutely mint then. Looking forward to giving it a thorough valeting too, because I find the whole experience oddly therapeutic.

  2. #2
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    Re: 1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

    Australia never actually got any 3 door 323 models officially after the rwd ones finished in 1980.

    We only see a million 5 door ones everyday

  3. #3
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    Re: 1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

    Finally, an opportunity to lord it over the Australians - you might have warm weather and frequent barbeques, but I have a 3-door version of a car which hasn't been produced for several decades. Seems like a strange thing for them to not offer you really, I can understand the US not receiving them but I don't recall any particular aversion to 3-doors over your way.

  4. #4
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    Re: 1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

    Quote Originally Posted by timmy201
    Australia never actually got any 3 door 323 models officially after the rwd ones finished in 1980.

    We only see a million 5 door ones everyday

    Timmy, dont mean to correct you there but you know we have the 1980's 3 door 323/laser in Australia. I only choose to say this because about 2 years ago when I needed a cheap daily runner I picked up a one owner 323 "SS" 3 door from an elderly mechanic who had owned it from new.

    YES! in 1983 the FWD 323 2 door hatch came in a 'SS' model that had the higher compression 1.5L with twin SU carbs and 5 speed in AUS! It had a sports pack two tone paint scheme and sports styled interior and the electric internal retracting sunroof as factory option.. I think ths was the early version of what became the turbo version, it was a Familia in japan. Actually now I think of it I should have kept that car!

    Nice lil 323's btw to both of you guys! :tu:

  5. #5
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    Re: 1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

    Quote Originally Posted by beans161
    Timmy, dont mean to correct you there but you know we have the 1980's 3 door 323/laser in Australia. I only choose to say this because about 2 years ago when I needed a cheap daily runner I picked up a one owner 323 "SS" 3 door from an elderly mechanic who had owned it from new.

    YES! in 1983 the FWD 323 2 door hatch came in a 'SS' model that had the higher compression 1.5L with twin SU carbs and 5 speed in AUS! It had a sports pack two tone paint scheme and sports styled interior and the electric internal retracting sunroof as factory option.. I think ths was the early version of what became the turbo version, it was a Familia in japan. Actually now I think of it I should have kept that car!

    Nice lil 323's btw to both of you guys! :tu:
    I stand corrected. I've never seen one around!

    Three door small size cars seem to miss us - the BG, BH and BJ 323 did.
    E110 , E120, E140 corollas skipped us, I'm pretty sure we never got E90 or E100 either.

  6. #6
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    Re: 1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

    All good champ, I dug up a pic of my lil beast for interest sake.
    It had faded paint but interior was mint and mechanically she ran like a dream! Crap pic but look closely it has the go fast red stripe and SS badges on the grille under the mazda badge and front quarter panels standard (I think it had 323 SS on the rear hatch), now if thats not sporty then what is.. 8)


    By beans161 at 2012-08-15

  7. #7
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    Re: 1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

    I didn't bother changing the cambelt in the end, because it turned out there was a chain there. Turned out the parts directory was incorrectly listing the later B-Series belt-driven engine from the start of this generation, rather than the old E-Series chain-driven as fitted to prefacelift models like mine. I did think it seemed strange, good job I was suspect enough to not order one beforehand.

    By the way that car above is the previous generation (BD rather than BF), it's a bit sharper-edged looking. We got those 1.5 twin carb models as the GT, they're an unusual thing considering Japan were getting fuel-injected ones at the time.

    Anyway it's all serviced now, might think about driving it.

  8. #8
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    Re: 1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

    Quote Originally Posted by Hirst
    By the way that car above is the previous generation (BD rather than BF), it's a bit sharper-edged looking. We got those 1.5 twin carb models as the GT, they're an unusual thing considering Japan were getting fuel-injected ones at the time.
    Yes, sorry to post in your thread mate. I realise its the model before, was mearly saying (with a pic) we have the 2 door models also, in both the early and latter types. Actually there is a silver 2 door like yours down the road from my place in a carport, dont think I've seen it move in a couple years!

    Good luck with your build!

  9. #9
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    Re: 1985 Mazda 323 1.3 LX

    No worries! Looks a superb car, I'm just glad those weird Twin Carb ones turned up in other places as I don't think Japan got them at all, so they're probably pretty rare worldwide now.

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