At $39,000, Is This ‘Museum-Quality’ 1979 Mazda 626 Worth Collecting?
Today’s Nice Price or No Dice 626 is a car that few would consider keeping as a survivor, much less doing so in pristine condition for all of 43 years. Could that odd rarity be worth nearly forty grand in cold hard cash?Context is always important. If you

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice 626 is a car that few would consider keeping as a survivor, much less doing so in pristine condition for all of 43 years. Could that odd rarity be worth nearly forty grand in cold hard cash?

Context is always important. If you see someone of Māori heritage walking down the street displaying the Tā moko, or traditional face tattoo, you’re likely to think how cool it is that the individual is expressing their culture and sacred traditions with such a level of investment. Seeing anyone else with a face tattoo, you’re more likely to wonder just how drunk they must have been when they stumbled into the inker’s shop and demanded to look like the first kid to have fallen asleep at a junior high sleepover.

The 1979 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce we looked at yesterday didn’t sport any sort of tattoo as far as we could tell. It did, however, have aftermarket hinges that allow the doors to do all kinds of Cirque du Soleil movements ending in them standing vertically like Lambo doors. That odd addition wasn’t enough to quell enthusiasm over the Alfa’s seemingly modest $7,500 asking price, since the rest of the car looked solid and who doesn’t love a good old Spider? In the end, the Alfa enjoyed a narrow but decisive 55 percent Nice Price win. Hopefully, once in a new home, it can get its original hinges back.

Speaking of back, let’s now take a journey all the way back to turbulent 1979, a year when inflation was on the rise, The USSR invaded Afghanistan, and ESPN hit the airwaves. Geez, aside from the ESPN thing, it sounds a lot like right now. Anyway, the time machine that will take us to that last-half of the disco decade is this 1979 Mazda 626 coupe. After all, it looks so new we’ll fit in perfectly.

G/O Media may get a commission31% OffAstroAI Digital Tire Inflator

Top up your tires before you drive
Don't risk heading out on the road with tires that are less than perfect. This digital tire inflator gives you an accurate read of your PSI, and lets you top up your tires from home.

The 626 was Mazda’s continuation of the Capella model, which sold in the U.S. with a rotary engine as the RX-2. With spiraling fuel prices and tightening emissions controls, Mazda abandoned the rotary for the car’s second-generation, choosing to offer the 626 with a single 1970 cc SOHC four-cylinder driving the rear wheels. That could be mated with a three-speed automatic or a five-speed stick which the model shared with its RX-7 sportscar sibling.

This blue metallic over gray cloth coupe has a five-speed, which is a plus since the car only offers 80 horsepower to play with. That’s not going to win it many friends, but its amazing condition just might. Indeed, the car looks just phenomenal for its age with no apparent signs of wear or mechanical maladies to prevent it from sticking the landing. The interior — which shares a lot of its design as well as its four-spoke steering wheel with the RX-7 — looks incredibly tidy and probably still even has that new-car funk. The lovely two-tone blue and gray is a winning combination as well.

According to the ad, the car’s condition has been recognized officially too, as the car took top honors at the 2019 Japanese Classic Car Show and was likewise lauded at the Zimmerman. The ad also claims the car “Runs and drives like new” and as though it was a car with just 5,900 miles under its belt rather than the 59,000 showing on its odometer. It also just passed its California emissions test and carries both a clear title and current tags on its original blue and gold plates. The asking price for this amazing holdover is $39,000.

Whoa, whoa, whoa… come back! Look, that’s a lot of cheddar to be sure. Hell, even the seller addresses the issue by stating:

The price is not a mistake or joke. It’s simply based on the (admittedly crazy) collectible vintage car sales over the last year or so on BAT. You would spend this amount for a quality restoration, and yet this car is original, so more it’s valuable.

The seller claims to be open to “serious offers” but we’re just going to have to see how serious you think that $39,000 starting point feels. What do you say, is this amazing Mazda worth that, perhaps to some quirky 626-loving collector? Or, does this Mazda present like a $3,900 car rather than the $39,000 offered in the ad?

You decide!

San Fernando Valley, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.


This article is republished from under a Creative Commons license.