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Mazda wonders if you remember its great rear-wheel-drive hatchbacks
Mazda turned 100 this year, and while this centenary gave us some very tempting Miata special editions, it also opened the floodgates to Mazda's archives, starting with a deep dive into the history of the fantastic rotary-powered RX-7s. However, long before Mazda's more humble hatchbacks went turbocharged and all-wheel-drive in 323 GTX form, blazing a trail for the Subaru STIs and Mitsubishi Evos of this world, the first 323 of 1977 was a rear-wheel-drive affair, as well as Mazda’s first modern compact family hatch. In America, the 323 was known as the GLC (as in Good Little Car), while Japanese customers knew it the third-generation Familia.
I had a 1980 RWD 5-speed 5-door Wagon when I first got my license. It was great! No power steering, no power windows, no radio, no clock. But it was a blast to drive. My current car is a 2-door, 2-seat, convertible MX-5 Miata (2016), and yes, it's even more fun. But the driving on rails feeling of manual steering still isn't quite there. I remember being able to drive past much more powerful cars in a tight turn, as the GLC could hold 70 MPH through the curve that the American muscle cars couldn't do at 35. Good Little Car? Maybe. Great Little Car? Definitely.