Rare Rally Special: 1993 Mazda 323 GTR 4WD

Think of rally cars in the late eighties and the early nineties and you might think of brands like Lancia, Ford, Subaru, and Mitsubishi. While they took home most of the trophies, many other brands competed for those same victories. One such brand was Mazda who chose to create a qualified racing version/homologation of their 323-hatchback for rally racing. This 1993 Mazda 323 GTR 4WD, one such homologation, is currently in Poland and will be auctioned here on Auctomobile, with no reserve, on Wednesday, April 28th. It is expected to receive a winning bid between $24,000-$30,000.

Mazda had already been running a rally team in the eighties when the new Group A regulations were announced before 1987. The 323 won the 1987 Swedish Rally, its second race entered, with a car driven by Timo Salonen. Two more rally wins followed in 1989 but Mazda decided to end their rally program at the end of 1991.

Mazda had prepared to race the following year, just in case, with the homologation 323 GTR 4WD. This 323 is one of 2,500 produced. It has been kept in mostly original condition with the only exception being a repaired engine. When released, the 323 GTR’s 1.8-liter, turbo 4-cylinder engine was reported to produce 182 HP and a limited top speed of 112 MPH. Other updated features over the standard 323 include new front and rear bumpers, wheel flares, and stiffer suspension. Interior features include leather/suede seats and an interesting “speed” function.

Even though the top speed was limited to 112 MPH, or 180 km/h, there was a way to get around this. If you removed a screw behind the instrument panel marked “180 km/h,” you could remove the limiter and reach the car’s ultimate top speed of 135 MPH (218 km/h.)

There are signs the car has been well-used, as shown in some of the seller’s photos, but it looks to be in good overall condition. It has 172,400 km (107,124 mi) on the odometer, spending is nearly thirty-year existence in Germany, Sweden, and Poland, so clearly it has been enjoyed.

Being over 25 years old, it can be imported and registered in the United States. For potentially around $30,000, it is your chance to own your own fully-fledged, homologated rally car. A Mazda rally car. Zoom, zoom!

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    We saw a version of the 323 in America but it lacked the performance of this variant. Seems like a relative bargain when compared to a Lancia. I still prefer the Lancia however. Cool car that if cared for should hold its valve while being unique and fun to drive.

    • Racer-X

      Nope. 1988 and 1989 Mazda 323 GTX. Turbo’d 4wd rally car direct off show room floor. Prior generation to this articles 1993, and better looking. Finding one now is nearly impossible as only 1000 were sold and those were beat to death.

      Like 3
      • GeorgeL

        Actually, about 1800 were sold over the 2 year model run. I had a white 1988 that I bought new in 1990. It was a love/hate relationship with that car, but it was fun!

  2. Mike

    Looks just like a Lancia Delta with all the edges and corners rounded off.

    Like 1
  3. SMS

    Owned two of the fifth generation rally versions the GTX. This one is a sixth gen version which made it to Canada but not the states. Drove one in Japan and it was noticeably better handling and faster. Both of them made it over 150k miles.

    They are a blast to do doughnuts in the snow. My favorite memory was with speed bumps. Would go over speedbumps so slow and it would almost throw me out of the seat. One day I got fed up and was doing about 25 over the bump. It was real smooth. My dull head finally understood. It was built for bumps. Could hit speed bumps at 50 and it would sail over them.

    Front seats are amazingly comfortable and hold you tight.

    The weak point in the GTX and R is second gear.

    Like 7
  4. chrlsful

    ’84/6 we had my fav the ford RS200. ’90s it was the Lancia (delta integral evo II or some such). Just amazing events, cars, drivers. Nuttin like it in hue hes of hay…SCCA is my next best but they’re few’n far between now too. Ralley Cross and Club can bring the european action. Again good luck finding in my new england area. Some here use the local auto cross to get ready then disappear.

  5. Greg Downing

    Nice GTR. I still have my 1989 323GTX.

    Like 3
    • SMS

      I am jealous.

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