Most Modern – 1994 Mazda MX-3 GS V6

So this is straying a little far from what we generally like to feature here at RustyButTrusty, but hear me out and you might see the same thing. Introduced in 1991, the Mazda MX-3 is a tidy little sports coupe that was recognized for great handling. In fact, back in 1994 one joined the family. Unfortunately, it was the rather gutless 4-cylinder model, and was the inspiration for a family ban on Japanese cars. Irrational? Yes, but you try driving one on a regular basis and tell me how it makes you feel!

Anyway, what makes these cars interesting for us is the fact they were offered with one of the smallest displacement V6 engines ever, at 1.8 liters. At 300cc per cylinder, you could say it’s the equivalent of a 1.2 liter four, or a 3.6 liter twelve. Hey wait, who has a 3.6 liter twelve? Ferrari? Does that make this half a Ferrari engine? No! But, does a small-displacement 6, 8, or 12-cylinder engine sound great? Yes! And that’s where we’re going with this one – buy one of today’s feature cars for short money, get a sweet-sounding exhaust system, and make sure you have a tunnel or reflective wall on your way to work, because you’ll want to wind it up every day. First up is this 1994 model in Elizabeth City, NC, in the Outer Banks area, for $2500.

1994 Mazda MX-3 GS left front

Styling looks like a third generation “oval” Taurus had a one-night stand with a cute Honda CR-X or a sexy Alfa Junior Zagato. Look past the aftermarket wheels (the limited edition final-run wheels were actually quite nice) and faded paint, and remember the way the car will sound. Apparently the popular upgrade is a 2.5 liter V-6 out of, say, a Mazda MX-6 or Ford Probe – the exterior dimensions are the same, so the swap is fairly straightforward.

1994 Mazda MX-3 GS left rear

The other offering that seems remotely decent is in West Side, Buffalo, NY. These were not common cars to begin with, but at this point they are becoming quite rare, so finding a stock one is even more unusual. Since we can be pretty resourceful, it shouldn’t be too hard to upgrade to your taste. Remarkably, these will comfortably hold 4 people, as long as the folks in the rear don’t mind not being able to see outside. Give it a try and let me know what you think – even stock, they performed fairly well, and who wouldn’t love to hear a small-displacement V6 with a 7000rpm redline being shown who’s boss?

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