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September 2020 Update – We’re busy updating our database and this very rare Mazda has since been sold.

When we came across this extremely rare 1988 Mazda 323 GTX project recently listed on Craigslist in Blue Point, New York (Long Island) we saved it to feature on Four By Friday!  The private seller is asking $3,900 if you purchase the car with a needed spare engine and four-wheel-drive transmission, so you need to hire a flatbed to bring this car home to your driveway.  The NADA Classic, Collectible, Exotic, and Muscle Car Directory currently list their “High” value at $3,650, so the extra $300 seems worth the price of the spare parts included.

Way ahead of its time, Mazda’s DOT approved Rally Homologation special 323 GTX predated Subaru’s WRX by 15 years, yet with a base price of $12,749 it was Golf GTI money for a tarted-up Japanese hatchback.  Consequently, Mazda only managed to sell only 1,243 examples in the two years they offered it in the U.S.  Its a shame because the improvements over the base hatchback included stiffened side sills, a reworked underbody, a lockable center differential, widened track, all-wheel-drive, and a 132-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder which doesn’t sound like much, but in a car weighing only 2,600 pounds it was quick for the day.  Yours truly test drove one of these brand new in 1988 and while I loved the car, nearly $15,000 with options was Ford Mustang 5.0L money back then, so I passed.

While this Sunrise Red and Gray example has only 119K original miles, the private seller and second family owner of this special 323 notes the car is not running and likely has a blown head gasket, so he’s including an extra engine.  Also included is a working 4WD transmission.  Even rarer than the car itself is the optional digital dashboard this example came equipped with!  If you’re looking for an extremely rare yet capable RADwood eligible conversation piece and have the mechanical capability to get this car in running order, you can’t do much better than this 323 GTX!

Good luck with the purchase!

We’d love to hear your thoughts about this vehicle.  Comment below and let us know!