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SilverLined SilverLined is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 198
Garage
It's been a while! Happy Halloween to all.

There are a number of items left on the project list, as I'm reminded by my whiteboard almost daily. After our last update, I placed an order with Lseat.com for covers to refinish the sport seats. I was expecting them to arrive last week, but am still waiting patiently, which has been made a little easier by an unexpected distraction.

There's a deli local to my mom's house that makes the best wedges in the area, and was a high school staple for me. Unfortunately, they're struggling with reduced business, so I try to go often these days. While waiting for my lunch a couple of weeks ago, I heard that the family who lived in the adjacent residential lot had an "old sports car" that they were trying to sell. I left my number out of curiosity, of course. The next day, a nice woman named Ellen called me back, and gave me the details. The car was a 1992 Mazda Mx-3 V6 5MT with 89k miles. Ellen purchased it new as a birthday present for herself, and drove it back and forth to Lake George every summer for 25 years with her husband, Bob. The car was loved and well-maintained (service records all the way back), but clogged sunroof drains and a separating windshield seal forced it off the road in 2017.

When I went to check it out, she and Bob said they wanted $500 for the car, as long as I promised to get it back on the road. I hooked up my jump box, and turned the key. It coughed and sputtered to life, and after a creaky lurch from the brakes, rolled into the light. Aside from a pronounced misfire, a lot of dirt, and bit of rust at the rear of the rocker panels, the car was all there, and all stock. So, I drove it home! Did I mention it has a V6 and three pedals??







Most of these cars suffered sad fates due to low values, similar to the CRX and NX2000. They fell into the hands of teenagers, and other unsavory individuals who poorly modified, wrecked, and/or drove them into the ground. Or they just rotted away. With only a handful still on the road, the MX-3 has largely been forgotten. After doing some digging online, I found exactly zero transactions in the last year, which is astonishing. No eBay, no AutoTempest, nothing. This car is a rare bird, indeed.

After getting it home safely, I got to work cleaning things up. This process is fun for me, and, per usual, I developed a soft spot for this little MX-3 as the shine came back. It's definitely of that early 90's econo-jellybean era, but has good presence in person. It's wide and relatively low. The seating position is anything but economy, however, and you sit in it like the 944.

The original paint cleaned up pretty well, but needs a few touch-ups:







The seats are great; the fronts are low and supportive (they're apparently JDM Recaros!) and the back is functional and funky. The kammback design allows for a lot of depth in the hatch area, and seats fold down similar to the 944. There's a nice pre-airbag three-spoke steering wheel, heel-toe-conducive pedals, and good driver ergonomics overall, as you'd expect of golden-era Mazda. The auto-belts suck, but you can't have it all for five-hundred bucks.







__________________
1984 Porsche 944 (Project 1)
1992 Mazda MX-3 GS (Project 1.5)
1992 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon (Project 2)
2005 BMW 330xi
2017 Subaru BRZ PP
Old 10-31-2020, 07:52 PM
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