Mazda might be doing some cool things right now, but I wonder what would happen if it looked into its past. Specifically, I think Mazda should point the rear-view mirror back to 1988 and create a modern version of the 323 GTX AWD.
Back in the mid-1980s, Mazda experimented with Group A rally racing, which meant its race car needed to have a production version with at least 5,000 copies available to the public.
The resulting vehicle should have been a superstar.
Instead it languished in the U.S. market and sold just over 1,400 copies over 2 years. The rest, presumably, were sold overseas, and the 323 GTX got axed after the 1989 model year.
As Mazda gears up for an all-new brand campaign, I think the time is right to resurrect the car that really should’ve become a legend.
For its new campaign, Mazda will compare some game-changing figures of the past with how the company is redefining the auto world. All indications are that the ads will be a departure from the classic “Zoom Zoom” campaign and instill more emotion and depth into the Mazda brand.
Now would be a brilliant time to harken back to that 323 GTX and announce a new Mazdaspeed3 AWD. I don’t think it’ll happen, but the original GTX was pretty darn cool and shouldn’t be forgotten.
The Mazda 323 GTX got its power from a 1.6-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine good for 149 hp and a top speed of 124 miles per hour. Pretty decent numbers, but also very similar to the Volkswagen GTI and with a much higher price. Without proper marketing, the car simply vanished and can be exceptionally hard to find on the used market these days.
Which brings me back to my original point:
Mazda should bring the 323 GTX AWD back, or at least add AWD to the Mazdapeed3, then put the proper marketing behind it and price it just under the Subaru WRX. It just may change the hot hatch game.
Which is your favorite hot hatch, the Mazdaspeed3, Subaru WRX, Volkswagen GTI or something else?