Retrospective

Mazda 323 to Mazda3: Tracing the history of the hatchback to today

The Mazda 323 evolved to the Protogé then to the modern Mazda3.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The Mazda Familia was introduced in time for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Japan. There were five different models of that first-ten Familia but it wouldn't be until the third generation of the model in 1977 that Mazda offered the car in a hatchback style. Ever since, Mazda has had a compact hatchback on its menu, culminating in the modern Mazda3.

Styled as the 1977 Mazda 323, the hatchback was a rear-wheel drive family car that gained popularity all over the world. Americans came to know the hatchback as the Mazda GLC (for Great Little Car). Buyers could get it in a three- or five-door hatchback body style. An estate version of the car was introduced 1978.

1977 Mazda GLC The Mazda GLC debuted in 1977.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Mazda sold the '77 in the U.S. with a 52-horsepower 1,272cc gasoline-powered engine under its hood. In 1978, a 1,415cc gasoline engine replaced the smaller power plant and produced 65 horsepower.

1979 Mazda GLC Commercial www.youtube.com

For the 1980 model year, Mazda restyled the model giving it front-wheel drive. Its headlights went from round to square, integrating with the grille in a style that matched the Mazda 626/Capella, and a five-speed manual gearbox was introduced.

Mazda's U.S. marketing campaign for the next few years featured the tagline, "Just one look - that's all it took," and relied heavily on touting its fuel efficiency and low price tag.

Despite the advertising efforts, the GLC's time in the continental U.S. was very limited. Its new generation, which featured a twin-barrel 1.5-liter engine that produced 68 horsepower, was only sold through 1985. In that generation, the three-door body style was sold in the contiguous states while the five-door variant made its way only to Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

With the GLC now bearing 323 badging, the car was available only as a sedan or hatchback in its third-generation, starting in 1985. The next-gen model was sold as a 323 in the U.S. in hatchback format while the sedan version became the Mazda Protegé.

While Mazda continued to make a hatchback version of the car for other parts of the world, by 1994, they had called time on the model style in the U.S. Still, the Protogé sedan stuck around.

1978 Mazda GLC The model had design hallmarks of its time, shown here as a 1978 model.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

In 1998, a five-door version of the Protogé made its way to U.S. dealer lots as the Protegé5. It was the hatchback America had been missing. The model got a platform update in 1999 making it bigger than before, then, in 2001 a facelift. The Protegé5 was powered by a 130-horsepower 2.0-liter engine and had a fresh interior.

Enter: the Mazda3. In 2003, the first-generation Mazda3 made its debut as a compact car, replacing the Protegé as Mazda's compact offering. It was marketed as the Mazdaspeed3 in the U.S. The Mazdaspeed3 name had been used on the last version of the Protogé in Japan so the Mazda3 was called the Axela there.

The Mazdaspeed3 was sold in sedan and hatchback variants, and two engine options: a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter and 160-horsepower 2.3-liter. High-performance models worse Mazda3 MPS badging and used a turbocharged version of the 2.3-liter engine to generate 268 horsepower.

Between 2010 and 2015, the Mazda3 reached its sales peak in the U.S. Last year, only half as many models were sold in the U.S. just four years earlier.

2020 Mazda Mazda3 The Mazda3 has been redesigned from the top down for the 2020 model year. Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The Mazda3 was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It now is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 186 horsepower. It is one of the few cars that comes with an available manual transmission (a six-speed). It continues to be a front-wheel drive model with all-wheel drive available. Reviewers note that its back seat and trunk are smaller than what you'd traditionally expect from a vehicle of the Mazda3's size.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Cadillac will give the 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing carbon fiber seats.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac continues to tease its long-awaited Blackwing sedans. The company is using the Blackwing monknier to designate their top-performing models of the CT4 and CT5.

Those models will also wear the "V' designation and be given the full name Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing. They will both be 2022 model year vehicles.

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing testing This CT5-V Blackwing was spotted testing at Virginia International Raceway, Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac has slowly been leaking out details of the models, even as the market moves away from sedan sales. We know now know that Cadillac CT-5 Blackwing will feature racing inspired seats. According to the automaker, "The carbon fiber seat back will feature a precision book-matched design and laser-etched V-Series logo. The seats will also include other customer-centric innovations and features that will be announced at a later date."

Cadillac also confirmed that the model is a limited edition.

We already have seen a picture of the cars' interior. That photo showed a new performance steering wheel that is crafted with leather and cut-and-sewn stitching. It features a 12 o'clock red racing stripe, carbon fiber trim, and a V-Series emblem. That emblem is designed to envoke nostalgia for Cadillac's championship-winning heritage on the track. Cadillac has designed the wheel with driver ergonomics as a priority.

The new models will feature V-Mode and a Performance Traction Management system that can be accessed on the left- and right-hand side of the wheel, respectively.

Additional buttons on the steering wheel are more typical to the General Motors lineup. They feature heated steering wheel, follow distance, cruise control, phone call/Bluetooth, and volume controls.

Each V-Series Blackwing model will feature a specially tuned chassis, vehicle control technologies, and engines. The models will be offered with a manual transmission.

The CT5-V Blackwing will be available starting in summer 2021. Expect pricing to be around the $60,000 mark.

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Teachers from Houston, Tampa, and Detroit can be entered to win.

Photo by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

With more parents having a larger hand in educating their children for the last seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's become apparent to many just how tough being a teacher can be. Maaco, the world's largest provider of auto paint and collision services, is rewarding one lucky teacher with a free MAACOver as part of a new giveaway.

The giveaway can include an exterior paint job, deep cleaning, and collision/damage repair. These are all services that Maaco offers as part of its menu.

Teachers of grades K-12 can nominate themselves or students and community members can nominate a deserving educator via Macao.com. Only teachers in Houston, Tampa, and Detroit are eligible.

Nominations must be submitted by October 5. Winners will be announced October 19.

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