The AWD Mazda Familia GT-R Is The Toyota GR Yaris Of The 90s

A tidy example of the rare Familia/323 GT-R rally homologation special from the early 90s is available via an online auction

Remind me later
Mazda - The AWD Mazda Familia GT-R Is The Toyota GR Yaris Of The 90s - Used Cars

You’re no doubt tired of the motoring press waxing lyrical about the Toyota GR Yaris. The hype is understandable, though - we’re talking about a small but powerful all-wheel drive hot hatch with rally pedigree. Stuff like that doesn’t come around all that often.

Similar cars have emerged before, though. Many parallels can be drawn between the GR Yaris and a car that arrived nearly 30 years before: the Mazda 323/Familia GT-R. Like the Yaris, it extracts a lot of power from a small engine, it sends that grunt to all four wheels, and it was built to homologate a rally car.

The Familia GT-R was built to homologate a Group A rally car
The Familia GT-R was built to homologate a Group A rally car

The ‘BDP’ version of Mazda’s B-series engine was used as a starting point, with stronger pistons and con-rods, bigger injectors and a front-mount intercooler added. These changes enabled the fitting of a bigger turbocharger, giving outputs of 208bhp and 184lb ft of torque.

That’s sent to all four wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox and a viscous coupling. To set the GT-R apart from the lesser GTX, Mazda gave it a vented bonnet, a new front bumper with massive Hella spot lamps, and a second rear wing.

Mazda - The AWD Mazda Familia GT-R Is The Toyota GR Yaris Of The 90s - Used Cars

With only 2500 built, they don’t come up for sale all that often. The car seen on this page, then, represents a rare opportunity. Originally registered in Japan, the 1993 example now lives in Australia, where it’s up for online auction via Collecting Cars. The Sydney-based car shows just 116,734 kilometres (72,535 miles) on the clock and is said to be in good overall condition on the outside.

The 16-inch OZ want a refurb from the sounds of it, while on the inside, the suede driver’s seat base has some minor damage. The factory gear knob has been replaced with a Trust Grex part, although the original Momo steering wheel is present and correct.

Mazda - The AWD Mazda Familia GT-R Is The Toyota GR Yaris Of The 90s - Used Cars

The current owner took the keys only six months ago, but they’ve been busy in that time. It’s had a new front-left wheel bearing, new tie-rod ends, an oil change and a brake bleed. The cambelt is said to have been changed, although there’s no receipt for this. Finally, the gearbox had an overhaul last year.

At the time of writing, the bidding is at $3000 (Australian) with just over a week to go on the online auction. These aren’t quite as sought after as you might think, so we reckon the end price will be a fairly reasonable one.

Tempted?