Death of a Rally Car – 4 July 2012

After the Rideau Winter rally, things started to fail on the Mazda in a cumulative way. In early February I took a long drive and stopped to do some shopping. When I tried to leave the store, the car would start but wouldn’t keep running. I finally got it going enough to get home after jiggling wires and fuel hoses, but didn’t really know what the problem was. Over the next four months I replaced the fuel pump, coil, ignition igniter, fuel injection relay and distributor and cleaned and re-terminated numerous ignition wires, without ever being sure that I’d solved the problem.

In addition to that ongoing issue, other things started to fail, including a transmission fluid seal, both front calipers and a rear wheel cylinder. It was becoming expensive to keep this car on the road and I’d lost confidence in it for the purpose of using it in a rally. Then in April I noticed that the left front fender had rusted through near the shock tower, so the end was in sight. Over the next two months my frustration level grew and I had developed a plan to sell my house and move out of town, so the handwriting was on the wall.

At the end of June I stripped out the rally computer, removed the fog and driving lights and put the original wheels and snow tires back on the car. On July 4 I loaded it on the trailer and took it to the scrap yard, where I received the grand sum of $163. Over the next few weeks I was able to sell the good wheels and tires, rally lights and computer for considerably more, so that made me feel a little bit better. The car had cost me $1100 and over six years I put another $11, 500 into it, as well as 58,000 kilometres, but it gave us five good years of rallying, with increasingly better results, and tons of good memories. It had been a good car for that purpose and I sometimes think of it now and miss it, particularly in winter.

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