4cylndrfury SuperDork
June 6, 2010 1:50 p.m.

long and short, my brother has a beaten and busted 96ish (i think - its got the last gen round body) 626 with the 16v DOHC, and a 5 speed. It needs new hubs in the rear, a new half shaft, a new water pump, and misc electrical gremlins, it overheated once pretty bad, but my brother is pretty certain the head is fine, the nose was squashed in a fender bender, but I think a tree and a heavy duty ratchedt strap may be the answer there...and probably myriad other little issues. I have done some googling and I see the manual trans is preferable to the weaker auto (good thing I find the manual trans preferable too). He is willing to "let it go" for a song - probably in the neighborhood of a couple C-notes, but most of all it will get it out of the parents driveway.

I know 93celicagt has a wicked boosted beast of a mazda, but what else is going on with these that may or may not make it worth the effort to get this pile sorted for the challenge in a year or so? Im not interested in swapping the motor, but a touch of force feeding isnt necessarily crossed off the list. Also, it appears the suspension is pretty well designed - are some off the shelf springs and some Tokico Illuminas going to plant it firmly to be competitive in any sort? Besides the challenge, I may actually want to hustle this thing thru the cones one day. The interior is shot to hell, but thats fine since it will most likely get gutted anyway. What info can the forum bestow?

Jensenman SuperDork
June 6, 2010 2:04 p.m.

Whew. when you said 5 speed, most all my misgivings were quashed. The 5 speed versions of that car were actually pretty tough. It shares a lot of chassis etc with the MX6 and the Ford Probe so suspension stuff etc will be pretty readily available.

Its only real drawback is it's sorta porky and not really hot lookin'. Of course, that could make for a real good sleeper.

belteshazzar SuperDork
June 6, 2010 4:27 p.m.

they ride good in stock form. That's the only thing that ever stuck with me about them. That and they seem to be oil burners.

Toyman01 Dork
June 6, 2010 6:26 p.m.

We had a 91, probably the previous generation. The 2.2 16 valve engine was outstanding. The rest of the car slowly fell to bits including the auto transmission, power windows, seats, dash, pretty much everything. That engine would make me buy another one though. Oh wait, I've got an 89 sitting in the barn.

1988RedT2 New Reader
June 6, 2010 6:34 p.m.

My first ever new car was an '89 626 LX. I guess that's not much like the car you're looking at. I kept the car for 14 years and put 170k miles on it. It was a great car. Never any trouble, just routine maintenance. It was still going strong when I sold it in advance of the arrival of my first son and got something larger. It had the 2.2 12-valve engine, which delivered fantastic fuel economy and reasonable power with the 5-speed. Handling was okay, not great in stock form, but it made a perfectly fine daily driver. Car still had the original clutch and struts the day I sold it.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
June 6, 2010 8:00 p.m.

Well just got off the phone with my bro, he says its actually a 93...not sure if that makes a difference? I guess im gonna take the boss out to dinner tomorrow night and schmooze her and see if i can squeeze 2 bills out of the rainy day fund. Fingers crossed...

M2Pilot Reader
June 6, 2010 8:29 p.m.

My bride had a '96 ir '97 626 4cy. 5 spd & kept it for 4 years or so. At the time she had a fairly long commute & must've had 85000 miles or so on it when she traded. I don't recall there ever being any problems,even insignificant ones, with her car. It wasn't fast at all but was adequate.

Spinout007 Dork
June 6, 2010 8:38 p.m.

If it was an auto I would tell you to run for the hills, and hide in a dark hole. But I worked with a guy as a pizza delivery guy that used one, while he didn't rag on it, he wasn't nice to it at all. It seemed to hold up fine.

Vigo HalfDork
June 6, 2010 10:10 p.m.

5spd makes that car, for sure..

Not fast but an all around 'good' car. The one you mention sounds like a problem child, though. The 'most expensive two bills you ever spent' analogy comes to mind.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
June 7, 2010 6:44 a.m.

93 or 96 is identical.

The 4banger in there is a turd. I believe it's the FS-DE. But, if you're just going to lighten it up and make it handle, then it's fine. The motor DOES respond decently to standard breathing mods, but that's about it if you want to stay halfway reliable.

I say go for it. It'll handle surprisingly well with basic suspension stuffs.

It'll need new bushings. Like whoa.

If it had the V6 i'd be a whole lot more excited for you.

June 7, 2010 7:53 a.m.

For what you are about to spend you can get a running version of the same car. And save a lot of manuel labour on your part. That thing aint gonna look purty either after the bonzai bodywork you are proposing.

Its basically a Mazda version of the Camry. Boring but functional.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
June 7, 2010 7:58 a.m.

^That, too.

Get this instead:


No. Seriously. Thank me later.

Talk him down to $1200, then let me know when the roadtrip is, i'll go out there and grab it with you.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
June 7, 2010 12:23 p.m.

well honestly, Id be buying this car to get it out of my folks driveway - its flat black with a broken nose and flat feet - its ugly and they want it gone and my brother is not very...motivated- by anything I basically just want something to turn wrenches on, not necessarily something to curl pavement with. I think Im gonna do it, keep it NA, make it turn, and make it pretty-ish... but definitely keep the flat black...definitely.

tr8todd New Reader
June 7, 2010 1:20 p.m.

My wife's DD is a 2000 626 V6 with a 5 speed and limited slip. She won't give it up. Before that she had an 89 with the turbo. A couple of years back I finally had her convinced it was time for a new car. Talked her into a Speed6. Problem was they had just stopped making them. So I went out and bought a new F350 for myself and she is still driving the 10 year old Mazda.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
June 7, 2010 1:35 p.m.

Did you add the limited slip? They never came factory with them, to the best of my knowledge. If they DID come with with from factory, then i have another unicorn to chase.

pres589 Reader
June 7, 2010 2:26 p.m.

I've never owned one but with the manual trans they're a decent DD and there's a little bit of aftermarket improvement bits available. Seem pretty tough really. Not hard to work on. I personally would not get the V6 since the 4 is so much easier to work on.

ClemSparks SuperDork
June 7, 2010 3:27 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: well honestly, Id be buying this car to get it out of my folks driveway - its flat black with a broken nose and flat feet - its ugly and they want it gone and my brother is not very...motivated- by anything I basically just want something to turn wrenches on, not necessarily something to curl pavement with. I think Im gonna do it, keep it NA, make it turn, and make it pretty-ish... but definitely keep the flat black...definitely.

This attitude (in bold above) you've displayed is EXACTLY how one aqcuires free cars. Offer to make the problem dissappear. It's not worth any more than the junkyard will give you to haul it away (which could be anywhere between Zero and 100 dollars (possibly more depending on steel prices). Yes...dealing with family makes it tricky, but don't buy something that's not worth something.


You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

Concours d’Lemons: Showcasing the Best of the Worst and the Worst of the Best

19 hours ago in Articles

This year’s Concours d’Lemons celebrated two cars rarely associated with the glitz and glamor of Monterey.

Your Projects: Wide-Body, V8-Powered Porsche 944

20 hours ago in News

Wing, flares, V8 swap and more!

Acura Unveils New Prototype Race Car in Monterey

1 day ago in News

Acura yesterday unveiled the new Acura ARX-05 prototype race car.

We're Back In Monterey for Car Week

1 day ago in News

And so it begins, another trip to Monterey Car Week.

Mark Your Calendars: August 18 Is Wear Your Helmet to Work Day

2 days ago in News

Wear your racing gear to work and win prizes.

You Need This: A Real 1LE Camaro

2 days ago in News

Chevy only built 62 1LE Camaros that year.

Little Car Show: Celebrating All Things Quirky and Small

3 days ago in Articles

As the name suggests, the Little Car Show is all about little cars.

Concours d’Lemons to Ruin Monterey Car Week Yet Again

3 days ago in News

What started as the anti-concours has transformed into a major event on the Monterey Car Week schedule.

You Need This: A Quite Eye-Catching Green Over Red Ferrari

3 days ago in News

Not your usual Ferrari color combo.

Your Projects: JDM Autozam AZ-1 Kei Car

3 days ago in News

What are the realities of importing a JDM kei car to the U.S.?

Bid on a New Helmet and Save Some Puppies and Kittens!

3 days ago in News

Four helmets will be auctioned off.

Tonight on Grassroots Motorsports LIVE! Lee Grimes of Koni Shocks

3 days ago in News

This may shock you, but suspension is arguably the most important part of going fast.


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More