|Mazda Familia History|
Familia Reviews - Familia Specs - Familia Photo Gallery - Familia History
Want to buy the car?
|Home » Mazda Familia History|
The Mazda Familia is Mazda's compact car family. The first Familias were styled by Italy's Giugiaro, and shown in 1963 as the Mazda 1000 Berlina. The next generation (joined by the Wankel-powered R100 version) were among the first Mazda cars sold in the United States.
Later Familias appeared with a succession of names around the world, including 1000, 1200, and 1300, 800, 808, and 818, Mizer, GLC, 323, Protege (sic) and Astina.
The first production Familia appeared in October, 1963, and was a commercial two-door wagon called the Familia Van. It was joined in 1964 with a sedan, and was later sold in other markets as the 800. Both were powered by a 782 cc aluminum inline 4 engine.
The familia received a larger 985 cc engine for 1965, and a coupe variant was introduced as well.
The new Familia appeared in 1967 with a 987 cc engine. It was sold as the Mazda 1000 in some markets. It also formed the basis for the Mazda R100 rotary car. A larger 1169 cc I4 engine came along soon, becoming the Mazda 1200 for export.
The 1970 Familia featured a 1.3 L TC engine and new styling. It was exported as the Mazda 1300 and Mazda 818.
The "1200" was offered on and off in the United States: On sale in 1971 and again in 1973. The 1971 version was the first piston-powered Familia sold in the United States and arrived alongside its rotary R100 in 2- and 4-door forms. It was replaced by the 808 the next year. The name returned for 1973 as the base-model economy Mazda. The company focused on performance for two more years, dropping the economy car, then returned with the Mizer in 1976. Engines:
The 1973 Familia Preso featured a 1272 cc engine. It was sold as the Mazda 808 in some export markets such as New Zealand and Mazda 818 in many others (presumably due to the usage of numbers with a middle zero by Peugeot for its automotive models).
This generation was available in coupe, sedan, and station wagon forms. Engines were inline 4 cylinders and included a 1272cc, a 1490cc, and a 1586 cc option.
For 1976 and 1977, the 1.3 L version was sold as the Mazda Mizer in the United States.
The Mazda 808 was sold in 1972 and 1973 (on the previous platform), then updated and sold through 1977. This name was given only to the 1.6 L version of the Familia.
Road & Track found the 1975 808 to be "well finished and put together" but not "compelling". The fuel economy was "disappointing" at 21 mpg, and performance was middling with a 15.6 s 0 to 60 mph time. The 808 cost $2997, which was some $200 above the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. The car came with a "pleasant" 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission.
The Great Little Car or GLC debuted for 1977 as a standout in the rear wheel drive compact crowd, replacing the 818/Mizer. There was a hatchback, sedan, and wagon, all with a choice of three Mazda engines, the 985 cc PC, 1272 cc TC, or 1416 cc UC. It shared many parts with the older Mazda RX-3. The car was replaced after 1979, but the rear-wheel drive wagon version remained in production until 1983.
The Mazda 323 name appeared for the first time on export models.
For the United States, the GLC was only offered with one engine at a time. The new GLC overlapped with the old-style Mizer for part of 1977 and was produced through 1980 before being replaced by the next-generation GLC.
The 1980 Familia was entirely new - it was Mazda's first front-engine, front wheel drive compact car. It had been developed with some input from Ford, and had a twin called the Ford Laser (and Ford Meteor, for its four-door model in Australia). It carried over the 1.4 L UC engine, and offered the newer 1.3 L E3 and 1.5 L E5 as options.
The second-generation American GLC appeared in 1981. It was only offered with a single engine (the 2 barrel 1.5 L) and lasted through 1985, after which it was replaced by the next-generation 323.
The 1985 Familia featured many updates. It was available as a hatchback or sedan only for the first two years and then also as a wagon for 1987. As before, it spawned a Ford Laser twin sold in the Asia-Pacific, but the hatchbacks had unique sheetmetal. The Laser sedan and wagon were nearly identical to the Familia but with a Ford grille. It formed the basis of the Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer after 1989 and was known as the Mazda 323 in many markets. In 1991, the South African-made model was exported to Great Britain as the Sao Penza. For many years, it continued in South Africa in hatchback and pick-up truck forms under Mazda and Ford brands as entry-level models. The wagon continued until 1995.
See Mazda 323. Ford also had a twin called the Laser in the Asia-Pacific in this generation, styled in the United States and sold there as the Escort. It no longer resembled the Mazda versions externally.
This generation of Familia had hatchback, sedan and wagon (carried over from 1985) variants, which shared no body panels—a policy that may have led to Mazda's financial difficulties in the 1990s. The first Mazda Lantis and Astina were spun off this car.
See Mazda 323. However, Japan did see an unusual model with this generation after 1995, with the cancellation of the 1985-generation station wagon. The Mazda Familia Van offered after this year was a rebadged Nissan Wingroad, which was essentially the station wagon version of the Nissan Sunny.
This generation of Familia grew considerably, with the four-door sedan's wheelbase only a few millimetres short of the then-current Toyota Camry, a mid-size car.
A redesigned ninth-generation BJ Familia was introduced on June 9, 1998 as a 1999 model. Body styles were the sedan, 5-door S-Wagon (sold as the Protege5 in the United States), 3-door hatchback, and traditional 5-door Wagon. A 4EC automatic transmission and two 5-speed manual transmissions are available. All wheel drive is optional.
The Familia Van and Familia Business Wagon were introduced for 2000, and continued to be supplied by Nissan under an OEM deal.
The entire line was updated for 2001 with sharper styling, a revised suspension, and a new audio system.
The Familia was replaced with the new Mazda Axela/Mazda3 for 2004.
Like many other Mazdas, the Familia, 323, and Protege are frequent entrants in the world of amateur and touring car auto racing. The Familia 4WD/323 GTX even claimed the win at the World Rally Championship's Swedish Rally in 1987 and 1989, and the 323 GTR placed second there in 1994.