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Barn Find 2024

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Rob Sharp – 1991 Mazda 323

Rob Sharp – 1991 Mazda 323

The first of these Japanese family hatchbacks appeared in 1977, and there were numerous generations that followed including the version you see here. This one is an SE model that is powered by a 1.3-litre engine.

“I’ve owned it for more than twenty years after it came into the car dealership I worked at as a part-exchange. It was a nice example with low mileage, so I just used it as my everyday car for a few years.”

Unfortunately, it was involved in an accident in 2006 but Rob liked it so much that he arranged for it be repaired, and it continued to provide reliable service for the next few years. But by 2012 corrosion was becoming an issue, so the nippy and frugal Mazda was taken off the road.

Fast forward five years and it was time to tackle the rust. “I didn’t want it to get any worse so I spent quite a lot of money on having the floors welded, but then other things got in the way and it is only now that I am able to tackle the restoration properly.”

The owner admits that plenty more work is going to be needed, from replacing the interior and giving it a full respray, to overhauling the mechanicals. And while it will hopefully be back on the road by the end of the year he plans on this being something of a rolling restoration.

These are charming little cars, but with corrosion and a life of hard use responsible for many disappearing it would certainly be a treat to see this example get another lease of life. This could just be a classic of the future, which is why we are very glad that it’s going to be saved.

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