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A Grand Monday: Mazda 626

Published 08 August 2016

While the Japanese started to get a foothold in the British car market in the 1970s, it was during the 1980s that they really started to punch above their weight, offering cars that were comparable to their European rivals not just in terms of quality, but also in styling and equipment.

This Mazda 626 is the perfect case in point. Doing battle with the likes of fleet favourites such as the Ford Sierra and Vauxhall Cavalier was never going to be an easy sell for a niche brand like Mazda, but filling the cars full of equipment, including standard kit that buyers of European brands would be expected to pay significantly more for, was a successful marketing ploy.

The 626 Executive was akin to a Sierra Ghia – as Japanese hatchbacks went, it was about as high up the tree as you could climb. But boy did you get a lot for your money. Central locking, leccy windows and sunroof, electric mirrors, alloys and that ever-so-eighties sign of a high spec model – headlamp wipers. The 626 Executive wanted for nothing.

Like all Mazdas of the era, though, the 626 knew how to rust, which makes this example an especially rare survivor, particularly in this kind of condition. The body appears excellent, and a quick inspection of its MoT history shows nothing of alarm, with no corrosion issues.

Mazda 626 (4)

The car has covered a genuine 75,000 miles and has had a mere two owners, the current one in a rather upmarket part of Dorset, and while the MoT has three months left to run, the owner is happy to arrange a new test for a firm buyer – worth doing, just for the peace of mind.

There can’t be many cars as well equipped, unusual or, indeed, usable for £795. As a modern-ish classic daily driver, this 626 is a car that, to fans of Japanese models at least, has a hell of a lot going for it. We think it’s a bit of a bargain.

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