Shining the lamp on the Lantis

No no, I didn’t spell ‘Lotus’ incorrectly, I mean the Lantis. Today we’re going to look at the Lantis..

 

The what now?

The Mazda Lantis. If you’re a big fan of Gran Turismo 2 on the original PlayStation (serious disc 2 the simulation was one of the greatest games ever made) you might know it as the 323F but depending on where you are it could also be the Mazda Astina, Allegro Hatchback or Artis Hatchback (obviously the 323F is the pick of the name bunch here.)

There’s a rare Japan only/import only Type-R version with LSD and a few body style options like a different front spoiler, side skirts and ‘floating rear spoiler.’ While I’m yet to spot one in the wild, they look like this:

323f

Now that’s a spoiler!

I’ve seen more than a few of these things getting around

You sure have, they’re everywhere. Very compact with early 90’s styling, the scaled down headlights are a big step away from the bigger light units the original 323 had.

So what did they come with then?

Some basic but handy power features – power steering and windows, electric mirrors and central locking. No cruise. A choice of inline 4 or V6 and if you opted for 6 cylinders, your wheels came with an extra stud (from four to five). Manual or auto. With plenty of examples around parts aren’t really a problem. Luxury it wasn’t but they worked well provided you didn’t need it to climb a lot of hills.

Mazda Lantis

How did they rate?

I love this particular comment on Carsurvey.org:

I believe this will be my most favourite car unless I purchase a Ferrari.

Given the build dates of these things (93-98) some of the earlier examples have clocked up more than a few kilometres and as expected things are starting to wear/break down – calipers, transmissions, the interior. But on the whole most reviews are favourable with people praising their general reliability, economy and low cost of parts. Looked after, these things will last a very long time.

How much if I really wanted to add one to my line up?

It’s okay to admit that you’re a 90’s tragic. I was there too, it was a fun decade from what I remember. A quick look on Gumtree and we find a completely banged up version missing a few parts for a low $450, one that is blowing black smoke for $950 (the owner has written that if it wasn’t smoking like that they’d sell it for $2500) and one that works well aside from quite a few dings on various panels for $1000. So bargains to be had but do your mechanical homework first before snapping up the first one you see.

And if you love the things but can’t afford a full one, check out this pretty cool model we found on Amazon (still a bit pricey but you don’t have to put fuel in it.)

Got one yourself?

Love it, hate it, wish you could be buried in it? Let us know! Leave a comment and we’ll add your thoughts to this post shortly 🙂

 

 

4 Comments on "Shining the lamp on the Lantis"

  • lynx318@bigpond.com'

    “A quick look on Gumtree and we find a completely banged up version missing a few parts for a low $450”
    Funny, I’ve seen a couple wrapped around gumtrees.

  • Gumtrees: The unwanted optional extra.

  • brycew666@gmail.com'

    Hi guys I’ve got a December 1994 Mazda astina 323 (lantis) hardtop (sedan) which is pillarless ‘ v6 manual 18″ bbs replicas big system and is my daily work car as well as my a-b car while my 05 v8 commodore ss ute is getting a full make over ‘ and I love it I run it on premium bp 98 fuel have a k&n podie for hectic induction noise and lets it’s breath a little easier other than that and the sports buckets out of a Reno Rs magane and the carbon wrap on the roof boot and bonnet ‘ because the clear coat was delaminating and looked shit but the rest of the paint was in good nick’ colour is a deep burgandy ‘ passion rose pearl mica I think” for a cheap fix and some patients applying it I think it looks pretty cool I also added a lip spoiler off a e46 Beamer which I’ve made to
    Suit ” overall for a cheap run about I get close to 400kms on a tank and
    Is driven hard every day ‘day in day out and the Only things that keep breaking are the engine mounts which I’ve replaced all of them twice now and a distributer module and has gone nearly 4 years no breakdowns ‘ touch wood I rate it 6 out of ten ‘ I also forgot to Say it handles like it’s on rails at standard higheit with its factory strut brace

    • That’s awesome Bryce! Mazda really nailed the reliability with the 323. Got a picture we can chuck up and add to this post? We’d love to see it. Cheers -Al

Leave a Reply