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Protege Unicorn

MazdaVelo

2003 P5, 2016 Mazda6, 2001 Protege
as it was with muscle cars, we're always looking for that grandma kept grocery getter with ultra low miles and garage kept etc. Well, maybe it could be the same with us Mazdaheads. So i found a 2001 Protege LX2.0 last december. I first saw it posted at 6400$ and watched it trickle down to 3900$ which is where i caved and bought the damn thing. Mind you the mileage reported on the listing was 65,000miles. A 2001 vehicle with less than 70,000miles on it. Called and asked two questions, whether it was a smokers vehicle which it wasn't, and if it was a grandma car which it was. I was down there the same day to make it mine. Sure enough, grandma car it was, i also found dealer maintenance records from the mazda dealer that originally SOLD the car when it was new, recorded all the way to 54,000miles. The interior is pristine, the sunroof was opened maybe all of once in its life, and the rest of the doors feel like factory seal. So far, things done were just getting some fresh tires on it of course, tinting the windows as it was a fishbowl from hell driving it from the dealer. I found the OE fog lights found on the ES models and got those installed/relay/wired up. Double lucked out and found the OE strut tower brace found on the Mazdaspeed protege and Protege5 models. My dremel saw the most work ever as i had to mod the cruise control actuator bracket to still work with the strut tower stiffeners. Operation liven up a 20 year old vehicle is coming along nicely.
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Antoine

Administrator
Great find and story, I enjoyed reading about it, thanks for sharing...(y)

It's also great to know there are people like you who are still very fond of the Protege. That's an awesome example...Do you think pristine examples of older Mazdas like yours are going up at all in value?

What's next on the To-Do list for this beauty?
 

MazdaVelo

2003 P5, 2016 Mazda6, 2001 Protege
Tough call man. i stumbled upon this gem looking for a vehicle for somebody else. The price they had it orginally listed for was worth every bit IMO. Value is really subjective with these i think. The biggest factor which made me scoop this car up was having owned my P5 MT for so long. For that to be as incredibly reliable as its been these past 8years. Bought that P5 at about 70k and it has around 168k on it now, not an issue in sight. I know that i can get the life out of this thing, even with it being an AT, i'm at least aware of that item being number one on the list of maintaining. The price i paid was an absolute steal, and a few weeks ago i took it on a solid 400mi trip to my hometown, then drove back a few days later. I get every bit over 30MPG the same as my P5 with over 150k miles. That engine is bulletproof and it just gets the job done every time. I was looking forward to that mostly because i'm sure it never went on any kind of long distance steady drives through its life. It cleared its lungs, stretched its legs, and not a problem in sight the entire time.

I originally bought this for my SO, her corolla has almost 200k and while its still a toyota, and i would have preferred to put her into a 2013 Mazda 3 hatch. She's no fan of having some kind of car payment, so i could have my cake and eat it to with buying this protege. I did have thoughts of swapping the 16" wheels from the P5, alas its a 4bolt and that's not on the menu. Now perhaps i'll swap the hubs for a 5bolt and maybe do some semi Mazdaspeed clone with the RacingBeat wheels, but that's a long way down the line. I contemplated finding an MP3 ECU and swapping that in for a little extra giddy up. it's so bloody perfect as it is though, and after putting that strut tower brace and going for a quick highway ride, it feels every bit as solid as my wagon. Its really hard to try and make something this pure better.
 
:
Mazda, Protege ES, sedan 1.8L 5-speed
AWESOME SCORE......Wish mine was as crisp. I found mine from a young couple who was expanding their family and this sweet ride was just too small for them now. Only $1100, 160k miles with no records or anything though. So I flat bedded it straight to the shop and did the whole timing and pump system. I have since needed to replace the entire suspension (excuse to upgrade to a pro kit) within a low budget. She treats me well. Minor hiccups but quick easy fixes/upgrades. I have been searching for mods but some are just out of reach $$ wise or straight up modification. Love to watch the growth of your beauty....
 

MazdaVelo

2003 P5, 2016 Mazda6, 2001 Protege
I am tempted to do that sneaky chop out of the top section of the grille. Call it a poor man's ram-air if you will, but the physics of it kinda make sense. Though actual benefits would only really be noticed at highway cruising speeds. Also the possible need to either completely re-seal or replace the intake assembly upstream of the air filter box with aluminum intake pipe or even PVC?!

the sneaky helmholtz resonator that's part of that assembly being untouched. even the smallest marked gains in HP/torque/MPG would make it useful in my mind. Even if it were just a placebo effect, but the availability of cooler, non engine bay air will surely do something. Even if it is only at higher speeds.
 

MazdaVelo

2003 P5, 2016 Mazda6, 2001 Protege
i still chuckle everytime i drive it. both the price i paid and the condition its in. theres some rough spots on the exterior, it WAS a grandma car, but luckily it was all just paint/clearcoat dmg. So, when the day comes to repaint it, i'm tempted to paint it the same color as my P5. Just to be that obnoxious nerd with two of the same vehicle matching color and all.
 

11B-33T

Grumpy Vet
:
MSP 2003.5, Laser Blue
Sweet find MazdaVelo! It's nice that you know & appreciate the value of an older 'unmolested' base Protege that will last and continue to run soundly with minor maintenance.
 
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