The readers who are familiar with the Mazda 323 are probably chuckling about my title right now, but the Mazda 323 GTX was a whole different car - one that was designed for Group A rallying.
Other manufacturers were producing detuned rally cars at this time, but this was a breakthrough for Mazda. The 323 GTX stood out with its 1.6 litre 16-valve turbocharged (and inter-cooled) engine, paired with all-wheel-drive; the appeal of which was limited to those who understood and appreciated the rally racing technology infused into this rare car.
Because the GTX didn't look much different from the base 323, it was also somewhat of a sleeper. Those who read my blog know that I prefer "sleepers" over vehicles designed to show off, which is one reason why this car appeals to me personally. Although I probably wouldn't have been inclined to pay the $13,000 MSRP which was nearly double the price tag of the base 323.
Since only 1,243 GTX's were produced in the United States during a two-year span (1988-1989), you're unlikely to find one for sale. And if you do find one, it will probably be in terrible shape from being driven hard for so many years. Nonetheless, this vehicle is basically the grandfather for the Mazda3 and it has earned my respect.
Has anyone had the opportunity to own or drive one of these?