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Upcoming Classic? 1982 Mazda 626 Coupe

By the 1960s, the American consumer understood exactly what a no-frills economy car was, thanks to Volkswagen. The import scene became a real brawl: Toyota brought us the Crown, then the Corona, Volvo the PV444, then the 140 series, and Honda delivered its N600. In 1970, a company few Americans had ever heard of – Mazda – brought its first car to America. The RX-2 was the foundation for one of the most user-friendly sedans the world has ever seen – the Mazda 626. Produced in six generations and sold all over the world, the 626 was the chameleon of the sedan niche, introduced first with rear-wheel drive, then front-wheel drive, once as a compact, then mid-sized, sometimes with a rotary, and later with a variety of conventional engines. Here on eBay is a fine example of a 1982 Mazda 626, bid to $3150, reserve not met. According to the listing, the seller will want closer to $12,000. The car is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The VIN tells us this is a 2.0-liter FE in-line, SOHC four-cylinder; 1982 marked improvements in the engine’s internals. over the previous 2.0-liter MA type, but both produced between 75 and 95 bhp depending on carburetion, with a slight edge for the FE version. The transmission is a five-speed manual. The seller intended to install a rotary in the car. He felt the car was too nice to alter, so he improved it with a new carb, new fuel pump, new shocks, and new tires. The car runs well.

Only the interior betrays the car’s 102,000-mile odometer reading, with shredded fabric on the driver’s seat and the top of the rear seats. The headliner is near perfect, and the sporty four-spoke steering wheel is a welcome feature. The air conditioning blows cold after the installation of a new compressor charged with R134 refrigerant. The underside is as spiffy as the top side.

The paint is excellent, I see zero rust, and the seller cared enough to clean up the bumpers, trim, and wheels for his car’s photo shoot. The tinted glass is new. I prefer the vintage look of no B pillar/fat C pillar/wrap-around rear glass, over the later GC facelift with pronounced B pillar. Before you know it, these late 70s/early 80s compacts will be showing up at car shows, and some will even be restored. This example is good enough as-is, and I would be proud to put it on the lawn at my local gearhead gathering.


  1. Avatar photo Rbig18

    Sure looks nice. Needs to stay original. That 12k seems aggressive.

    Like 13
  2. Avatar photo Eric

    I owned two of these, both purchased new. Great cars and wonderfully subdued styling. You rarely seem them for sale so few must have survived. Yes, $12k is aggressive… very aggressive, and I have a hard time believing it hasn’t been completely painted. I have never seen this vintage 626 in that color (mine were red and dark gray). Amazing how similar this looks to the 82 Toyota Corona which I have for sale on Ebay right now for $7,500

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo jwh14580

      Sometime in the early 90s I found one abandoned in a parking lot near where I lived. I tracked down the VIN, found the bank that had a lien on it, contacted the owner of record, found out it had a bad transmission.
      I contacted the bank, bought it for a couple hundred bucks, had the transmission rebuilt, and drove it for several years. It was a great car…. And it came from the factory in this paint color :-)

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo Eric nc

      Hi, I am another Eric, pleased to meet you.

      I am the one from nc with nothing to offer but memories and that’s not for sale because nobody would pay if I charged.

      Did like the corona though, but the Mazda was break up distress sale. The other offer was a Peugeot 504?

      I know Peugeot made bikes and coffee grinders, but cars? With zilch for dealer support?

      I went Mazda because of the strong local support of the RX7. 😊

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Michael Tischler

    I leased a dark green 98′ 626 LX with the V-6 and tan leather and then a 01′ Mazda Tribute which was a rebadged Ford Escape.
    My 3rd Mazda a 19′ CX 5 was built in Japan,but my current 22′ CX -30 is built in Mexico.

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Troy

    I’m confused his add states over 100k miles but the picture of the odometer says 91k and he says at his $12k reserve he’s losing money. So he overpaid for it to begin with intending to destroy it by making it a rotary engine car realize that it won’t fit now selling it. For more than he could have just purchased a RX7 for. Good luck

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Kenny

      Well, Troy— I installed a 13b rotary in my 626 “back in the day”. Using a ‘80 Rx7 5-speed with the 626 tail shaft housing, the transmission bolts right in. then making the rest of the swap a cinch. So there. And— there’s just nothing like that high rpm rotary surge! They idle like a sewing machine, and rev and pull like a formula 1 race engine. Love ‘em!

      Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Eric

    Not great but not bad either. These had lots of bells and whistles for a small car.

    My engine started burning oil after the 24 hours of Daytona. We drove 12 hours through the night to watch the Daytona 500 and 12 hours back to make class Monday morning.

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Nelson C

      24-hours of Daytona. lol

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Rick B

        Mazda only made a bazillion of these and even though most have already been scrapped I can’t see how this could be considered a future classic (except maybe in some alternate universe)

        Like 6
      • Avatar photo Cooter914 Member

        Mine was very close. It was gold metallic with the same tan interior. It might have been a nicer trim level as it had power everything including a metal sunroof. Handled like a much sportier car than you would expect. I loved it but it started eating alternators so I rehomed it and got my first pickup truck. Like most I certainly don’t see 12-15 thousand dollars. Without actually setting eyes on it I’d want to be much closer to seven-ish to feel safe.

        Like 2
  6. Avatar photo SubGothius

    Minor tangential correction to the writeup: The GC generation of Capella/626 wasn’t just a “facelift” of this model but, rather, a completely new FWD model and platform that replaced these RWD models of the CB generation.

    This CB generation did get a mild midcycle facelift in 1980, as seen here, which did retain the B-pillarless hardtop configuration for the coupe.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Dan

    I can only remember these as being slow as sin, and that was with the 5-speed. At least this one has the stick and it looks spotless, but the seller would be lucky to get a penny above $7K.

    Like 3
  8. Avatar photo Roland

    Some things in life are not meant to be saved, restored, or coddled. Paper plates and napkins, as one example. The automotive world is full of cars that were meant to be driven until worn out and then junked. American manufacturers made tons of these cars, occasionally creating a special package that was rare and should be kept. If you want a car to last, buy a diesel Mercedes. While this car is in very nice shape I see it as no more collectable than a 4-door compact American sedan from the late 60’s.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Jim

      I disagree. Since so many were thrown away, it makes them all the rarer. And after all, we don’t want future generations to think all anyone ever drove were Mustangs and GTOs!

      I had a 1982 Mazda GLC and even though I’ve had lots fancier and more expensive cars, it was the best car I ever had.

      That’s not to say this particular car is worth 12k! It’s got too many issues.

      Like 7
    • Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

      Oh yes, a diesel benz, AKA a German taxicab. Zero to whatever in 30 minutes. Sorry but this little Mazda has classic styling and deserves a place in car world.

      Like 5
  9. Avatar photo Cadmanls Member

    The seller probably has half the rumered asking price in detail work. It truly does look amazing, you can’t begrudge the design, it’s simple yet attractive. Don’t think it’s worth 10K plus but somewhere it may hit the note for buyer.

    Like 1
  10. Avatar photo Tiger66

    Bought one new in ’81. C&D hyped these as being a Japanese 320i, but I found it woefully underpowered and that was with the 5-speed manual. Car could not get out of its own way. The car C&D tested was a ’79, which had a few more HP, but by ’81 the engine had had all the life taken out of it due to tougher emissions standards. I disliked driving it so much I traded it in on a new ’82 Rx-7.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo RoadDog

    I always thought of these as Mazda’s answer to the Datsun 210. Basic cheap transportation, never meant to be a classic/collectible. But, as has previously been said here: there’s an a$$ for every seat. GLWTS.

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    My friend who owned one of these a while back customized his. He removed the chrome 626 emblem on the back, rotated it 180 degrees and reinstalled it thus giving him a limited-edition Mazda 929.

    Like 6
  13. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    Would be nice if those rear side windows rolled down.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Kenny

      They do.

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Steve

    Upcoming Classic?

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Robert Levins

    ACTUALLY – these are rare. This is their “top – of – line” car – save for the RX-7. The 626 was the upscale larger, more expensive, model . The 323 was the compact , smaller model. NOW throw in the fact that it’s a 2 – door version of the 626 “family sedan” and you’re talking RARE. Okay, how much is it really worth? About $5,000.00 tops. Why not more? Because it has at or more 100k miles on it – even though they can go 300k. It’s a 5k collector car, a nice one. Good luck. Nice article.

    Like 1

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