History 101: Humble Beginnings

The dinosaur in this picture is my very first car: a clunky 1980 1.3l Mazda 323.


Like most young guys, it was the old family car that I inherited. It’s the one I taught myself to drive in, and it was early in 1991 that I finally claimed it as my own. This is the car that made me realise how good a career choice I made by not becoming a mechanic, and this is a car that was broken into three times and stolen once.

Referring to this car as a dinosaur is also not terribly unfair since my friend and colleague at the time had also inherited one — albeit the previous version.

Under construction

Recent photographs lifted out of the photo album mark my first restoration efforts, started in April 1992. I must also admit that most dents in the bodywork were caused by myself… no, not poor driving skills but rather my short-tempered responses when something went wrong with the car. Years later I still prided myself in being unable to remove some of the treadmarks left by the soles of my shoes in the bodywork.


Side effects of affirmative shopping

Ironically, the aforementioned restoration project was inspired by the then-latest break-in when some stupid bastard smashed a window to steal the car radio. At this point of my vehicular career, replacement of the broken quarter light was more important and expensive than what the piece-of-rubbish radio was worth.

  • Brand: Cannot remember (possibly Tedelex);
  • Features: Radio / Tapedeck (broken) / none to speak of;
  • Speakers: Cheap rubbish speakers in the front door, only one working.

As seen in the picture above, part of the dashboard was destroyed during my selfless and involuntary contribution to the economically-disadvantaged.

Complete with fake wooden dashboard

Still, the final result in August 1992 was something to be rather pleased with — despite the interesting fact that the car had no radio at all. Instead, efforts went into designing and installing an alarm/immobiliser system out of what used to be a remote-controlled garage door opener. To start the car one had to have the remote control and press certain hidden buttons in a certain sequence within a certain amount of time.

After that it got only broken into once.

It's good and clean and fresh...

My sister finally inherited (and eventually sold) the Mazda when I got a Jetta.

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