Mazda 323 GTX Familia & Heart of Diamonds & 125 « Performance Car

31 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mazda 323 GTX Familia & Heart of Diamonds & 125 « Performance Car
Mazda 323

Mazda 323

GTX Familia #8211; Heart of Diamonds #8211; 125

July 12th, 2007 by

Great ideas are often talked about yet never realised. How many times have people talked about flying cars being the next automotive evolutionary step (preferably with laser gun attachments)? Yet we are still sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic in our gas guzzling automobiles, which are sadly lacking any form of laser-related weaponry.

In a similar vein, ever since Mazda’s 323 Familia GT X reared its ferocious head in New Zealand’s second hand car market, owners everywhere have been scratching their noggins trying to figure out how to keep their hyperactive little cars on the road. You see, the trick to driving a GTX if you want a gear box as opposed to a pile of smashed metal sitting underneath the car is to drive it very gently, treating it as though it was a precious Faberge egg. Now, this is highly unacceptable for the majority of us, who wish to be able to put our collective feet to the floor without that sickening metal on metal crunch as the driveline implodes upon itself like a good Star Wars finale.

For many a year solutions have been bandied about, yet few have been executed. The basic three options that most often come up are: replacing the stock gearbox internals with something stronger, fitting a full aftermarket dog-style box, or somehow mating another manufacturer’s driveline up to the Mazda engine. Looking back over the last few years, it seems most people have given up on the idea altogether and moved to stronger, more reliable cars from other manufacturers.

I say most, because a hardcore few, like Taumaranui’s Ian MacKay, are still at it. When it came to his 1992 GTX, Ian favoured the idea of mating up another manufacturer’s gearbox to the Mazda system, preferably of the very strong Mitsubishi Evolution variety. After a few months spent umming and

aahing over the matter, Ian showed everyone he wasn’t all talk and decided to get cracking on the conversion. But, soon enough, that gearbox conversion was about to blow up into something a whole lot bigger. “A few mates and I were standing around the garage,” says Ian, “talking about modifying bell-housings and all that sort of stuff to get the Evolution box fitting up with the Mazda motor, when I thought to myself, why don’t we just dump all the Mazda gear and replace it with Evo gear? It’s all better stuff anyway stronger, more powerful and light years ahead in terms of reliability”.

When Ian says “all the Mazda gear”, he really means all of it. The stock 1.8-litre DOHC 16V BPT turbo motor was soon out of the engine bay, along with the gearbox, axles, diffs and driveshaft.

Before attacking the massive task of converting Mazda to Mitsubishi, Ian took the car to good friend and painter David Matehaere. After hours spent prepping the little hatch and shaving door locks, wipers and aerials, Ian and David began to layer on coat after coat of Mica Blue paint, complete with a Jade Green pearl. Also receiving a lick of paint in the booth was a full body kit from Foxton Plastics, comprising a new front bar, side skirts and rear bar.

A custom fibreglass Evo V-style bonnet was also created, perhaps to give a hint of what would soon lie beneath.

Ian is not one for doing things on the cheap, and although he could have saved money by purchasing an early Mitsubishi 4G63T motor like that out of a Galant VR-4 or Lancer Evo I to III, Ian decided on a later model Evo V setup. Sourcing himself a crashed 1999 example, Ian took the car to Herbert Fabrication in Auckland, who set aboutexpertly shoehorning the 2-litre, four-cylinder motor and accompanying gearbox into the cramped engine bay. “The job was completed with minimal headaches and faultless workmanship; it was very impressive stuff. From there I took the car to ADL, who made up some custom axles and a drive shaft.”

Those chrome moly axles spin from a rear Ralliart-spec Evo III RS mechanical differential, as the Evo V item is computer controlled, making it useless for this particular application. With the motor and driveline now in place, ready to roll thanks to the addition of an Exedy twin-plate carbon/kevlar clutch, attention was turned to increasing the power of the shiny new Mitsubishi donk, although the difference between the old Mazda motor and the new 4G63 was already substantial. For the meantime the motor retains its factory TD-05 turbocharger, although it is now fed air by an HKS Power Flow filter and a length of 3-inch intake piping.

A custom 600x300x76mm intercooler was made up to ensure the charge of air heading into the DOHC 16-valve head is sufficiently cooled. Like the turbo, the head and bottom end remain standar time being. Let’s just say that big plans ar in camp MacKay.

A pair of in-tank W pumps feed gas to a Sard race regulator thr XRP braided fuel lines, the reg then distributes the fuel to a set of four 560cc injectors mounted on the stock 4G63 fuel rail. Regulating boost levels under load is a Tial 38mm external wastegate, mounted on a set of XS Power stainless extractors.

The extractors dump into a custom-built 3-inch exhaust system, which provides a healthy Evo bark that must go some way to confusing those not in the know. To keep the engine at a good operating temperature under stressful situations, Ian has installed a custom alloy radiator that works in conjunction with a Ralliart thermostat, sitting in a custom alloy housing. Oil temperatures are kept under control thanks to a 280x146x38mm oil cooler, again using XRP braided lines.

When it came time to tune this awesome new setup, Ian took the car straight to Mark at Tricky Tune, who netted an impressive 253kW at the wheels thanks to some fine tuning of the Autronic SMC computer. The Aussie-built unit is a sweet little engine management system, and Ian often uses all of its features, including anti-lag, launch control and flat shift.

Because he wanted to make good use of this new-found power and reliability, Ian decided to remove the good old super-low springs and replace the whole setup with D2 adjustable coil-overs and accompanying camber plates. These do a great job of keeping the 17#215;7-inch Seneka Sport rims firmly planted to the tarmac when combined with front and rear strut braces and all-new Nolathane bushes.

As you can probably tell, Ian has gone the whole hog on his Mazda, and the brakes are no exception. The stock front stoppers have been replaced with a full Wilwood setup, including Superlite 4-pot callipers, race pads and 300mm vented rotors, sitting on custom alloy hats. In the rear, the standard GT-X callipers have been retained, although they now clamp onto cross-drilled discs using a set of Mintex pads.

Leaving no stone unturned, Ian has also attacked the Mazda’s interior, giving it a show-quality look, and hetook his time about it: “The car was off the road for such a long time, so I wasn’t rushing to get things like the interior done,” he says.

Re-trimmed in an eggshell white and bright red hue, the living space of the Familia now sports a pair of very supportive Racetech 4000W seats. These are kept company by a Momo steering wheel, Ralliart gearknob (another nod to the car’s Evo heart), and a host of gauges from GReddy and Auto Meter. As a point of difference, Ian has also replaced the stock dash cluster with a very cool Auto Meter Pro Comp speedo and tachometer.

In terms of sound gear, Ian has kept things relatively simple, opting for a Pioneer headunit, Infinity 6x9s and a pair of Infinity 6-inch splits mounted into custom pods on the doors. Ian MacKay’s Mazda Familia truly is one of those cars that the closer you look, the cooler you realise it is. Spend a few minutes pouring over these photos.

The amount of time, work and money that has gone into creating this one-of-a-kind machine is mindboggling.

This is the machine all GT-X owners have dreamed of. But this is no dream it’s a reality. And pulling mid-11s on its first track outing, it is a bloody quick one at that!



Mazda 323

Engine: Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V 4G63T DOHC 16V, HKS filter, 3-inch intake piping, Standard Evo V TD-05 turbo, XS Power exhaust manifold, Tial 38mm wastegate, 600x300x76mm intercooler, twin in-tank Walbro 255lph pumps, Sard Racing adjustable FRP, 560cc injectors, XRP braided fuel lines, NGK plugs, 3-inch exhaust system, custom 3-inch exhaust, RPS muffler, custom alloy radiator, Ralliart thermostat, custom alloy thermostat hous ing, 280x146x38mm oil cooler, XRP braided oil lines, Autronic SMC engine management system, de-loomed, stainless catch can radiator overflow, custom power steering setup, battery in boot

Driveline: Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V 5-speed gearbox, Evo V transfer case, Exedy twin-plate carbon/kevlar clutch, Evo III RS mechanical limited slip differentials, custom driveshaft, custom CVs, custom axles

Suspension: D2 adjustable coil-over shocks/springs, D2 camber plates, Pedder front strut brace, Whiteline rear strut brace, Nolathane bushes

Brakes: Front Wilwood Superlite 4-pot callipers, Wilwood pads, 300mm vented Wilwood rotors, custom alloy hats, standard GT-X rear callipers, Mintex pads, cross-drilled rotors, stainless braided lines, prop valve

Wheels/Tyres: 17#215;7-inch Seneka Sport alloys, 205/40R17 Nankang NS2 tyres

Interior: Racetech 4000W seats, re-trimmed rear seats, Momo Silverjet steering wheel, Ralliart gearknob, Ralliart gearboot, GReddy boost gauge, Auto Meter Phantom oil pressure/oil temp/water temp gauges, Auto Meter Pro Comp Ultralight speedo, Auto Meter Pro Comp tacho, Autronic switches for launch control, flat-shifting, anti-lag, off-white and red interior re-trim

ICE: Pioneer DEH-7650 headunit, Infinity Reference 6-inch components, Infinity Reference 6#215;9-inch speakers, custom door pods

Exterior: Foxton Plastics front bumper, Foxton Plastics side skirts, Foxton Plastics rear bumper, custom fibreglass Evo V bonnet, smoothed aerial, rear wiper, locks, custom metallic Mica Blue paint with Jade Green pearl



Occupation: Contractor

Previously owned cars: Nissan Sunny LePrix

Mazda 323
Mazda 323
Mazda 323
Mazda 323
Mazda 323
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