9,821-Mile 1994 Mazda Protege

Did you miss out on the '94 Protege when new? Here's your second chance. This little puppy has just 9,821 original miles on the odometer. What on earth has the owner been doing with it all this time? One thing is for sure: not driving it.

There is a running joke here about ultra-low mileage second hand cars: they are always the blandest of cars. Why can't it be something rare and fantastic? But then, a low mileage Mustang Cobra or Porsche 356 wouldn't be much of a revelation, since they are already in museums and are always being built and restored. The beauty of finding a low mileage econobox is that literally there may be nothing else like it anywhere, as no one thinks twice about preserving them. So when examples like this pop up, take notice.

The Protege was otherwise known as the Familia in markets outside North America. It was Mazda's entry level car from 1963-2003. This is a sixth generation "BG" Protege, which were produced from 1989-1994. It basically treads Civic and Corolla territory quite well, nothing more or less, although the sheetmetal is extra tidy and slightly better looking. And although many Civic and Corolla were sold and remain on the roads, I can't remember the last time I've seen a BG Protege.

Look at the design. The frugality and economy on display is bold and fresh in an era like now when car design is bulbous, pompous, pretentious and over-the-top. This thing has Unpainted Plastic Bumpers. Sure, they are a little unrefined, but they deflect dirt, tar, rock chips and light impacts mighty well. And if they did hit something head on, you can bet they are easy and cheap to replace. How about that? When is the last time a car manufacturer was worried about ease and cost of cosmetic repairs? There is also no passenger side mirror. I kind of see the wisdom to that, given how it must improve aerodynamic flow on that side by what, a fraction? But it must be a pain parking and backing up, not to mention dangerous changing lanes. Small price. Then there are the simple, machine hole-poked steel wheels as opposed to the grossly oversized rims we get today. These little recessed wheels reduce weight and and are protected from curb rash by the tire rubber.

Inside, accommodations are just as sparse and simple, and the seller says it has the rare factory radio, clock and air conditioning delete option. Conveniences include just power steering and those interesting automatic seat-belts, which, on paper, seem like a great idea. I can't remember how many times I had to prod my parents to use their seat-belts when I was a child (ever the thoughtful child I was). This would have conceivably eradicated the need for me to do so.

Under the hood is a 1.8-liter 4-cyldiner engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission powering the front two wheels. Keeping under 50 miles per hour on a flat road you could easily see 30-40 miles per gallon in this.

The seller backs up their claims of the super low miles with a carfax report that shows just 1-owner and no accidents, which is really impressive. The condition in the photos also seems unreal. They say it starts, runs, drives, shifts and brakes like a 9k-mile car should. Given that these are reliable, this thing is ready for 200k miles, which, if the average person drives about 13k miles a year, would be 14 years of relatively simple and cheap transportation. Given that the car was built in 1994, that would mean a collective 32 years of on again off again use. That's pretty incredible.

Available here on ebay in Berlin, New Jersey with bidding at $2,776 and no reserve.

1 comment:

  1. Winning bid was $3650, which I would argue was pretty good price for this car considering the condition and mileage.

    I helped my sister buy a new 1992 Protege (same generation) after she graduated from college. While it was one trim level up from this one, and pretty well equipped for the price. She got tired of it long before it gave her any significant repair and maintenance issues.