1975 Mazda 808 1.3 petrol
Hugely under-rated in 808 form
Driver's window winder is wobbly and now requires two hands to wind the window up.
Rear wheel bearings are noisy.
Fun, durable little car. Mine has since been heavily modified, but the following relates to when it was essentially standard.
Head gaskets can be a weak point.
Timing chains can get rattly, but car will run fine despite awful noises.
Seat mounts often break, but can easily be welded up.
Windscreen wiper and/or headlight high/low beam switches are often faulty.
Manual gearboxes always whine. A 5-speed gearbox from a Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) 323 is a nice upgrade, but isn't a direct bolt-in fit (not hard though). They whine too.
1400 or 1500 engines from RWD 323 bolt straight in for extra performance. These engines respond well to bigger carburettor (Weber DGV), extractor exhausts, electronic ignition, electric radiator fan, etc. Regrind cams are NOT a good idea as the rocker gear is very intolerant of reduced base circle diameter.
Look for rust at bottom of front and rear windscreens, front mudguards, doors and rear quarter panels.
Also look for wobbly chassis rails and damaged crash bar (behind front bumper bar).
Worn steering components hurt the steering feel dramatically, but are cheap and easily available.
Brakes are woeful by modern standards, particularly the sedans and wagons without power booster. Upgrades are available and recommended.
Some body parts and interior bits are becoming very hard to find and consequently expensive. This unfortunately reduces their appeal as an everyday-usable classic car.
Many have been butchered into RX-3 wanna-bes, which is a shame - they lose their handling balance and general sense of fun.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st October, 2008