In Part II we take a look at a neat little unrestored 323 hatch and an RX3…
The 323 on display at Mazda HQ has been a part of the Mazda family since it was new. This little orange hatch is a third generation FA4 323 (named Familia in Japan and GLC – meaning Great Little Car in North America) and was purchased in the late 70’s as a get around car by the then gardener at Mazda South Melbourne, and remained in his care until it was handed over to Mazda’s Heritage division by the original owner’s Grand Daughter who is a current Mazda employee.
Cleaned up but unrestored this has to be one of the cleanest original 323 hatchbacks in the state (if not the country), it’s certainly one of the cleanest examples that I personally have come across. This particular 323 is fitted with a 1.4L UC engine bolted to a 4 speed manual gearbox, the 1.4L when new was capable of 61kw – almost a third of the power of most modern hatchbacks, this engine was also later fitted as standard to 1980-1985 E1400 Mazda vans (Ford Econovan).
Before we move onto the RX3, here’s a Mazda which many wouldn’t know even exist, probably mainly due to their rarity; the three-wheeled T600. The T600 was first Mazda to be introduced into Australia back before the Mazda name was even official, although referred to as Mazda Motor Corporation; the company was still officially named Toyo Kogyo Co. This T600 pictured is a 1960 model and was among the first and only Mazda-imported lot of T600’s brought into Australia. This is known as all of the original imports were finished in the same pale green and off-white colour way. Models which were later privately imported were finished in blue and white. The T600 is fitted with an air cooled OHV 20hp V-twin engine mounted between the cab and tray and backed with a 3 speed manual, and is capable of pulling half tonne payloads.
The RX3 needs no introduction to Australian audiences, the amount of these original examples are extremely few and far between here, and it was so refreshing to see one which hadn’t been painted some garishly bright colour or suffered from ‘Donk-esque’ 22” Simmons wheels being shoved under the guards.
This RX3 pictured is a series 2 S124 Super Deluxe Coupe, finished in Flare Yellow, and coupled with a black interior, the coupe also has a black stripe flanking the sides of the car between the wheel arch’s – the stripe was optional on the Super Deluxe models. Also available on the Super Deluxe models was a dash-fitted clock, rear demister, a higher armrest on the centre console and a collapsible steering column.
The Australian, Japan and Europe released RX3’s were fitted with 10A rotary engines, whilst North America got the 12A from the previous model RX2. The coupe pictured here was also fitted with a 4 speed manual gearbox.
I’d like to once again say thanks to Tony Mee for this opportunity, and extend my thanks to John Robinson.