From our rear-wheel drive hatchback division of junkyards past comes the Mazda GLC, or great little car. Like its Chevrolet Chevette and Toyota Starlet hatchback subcompact market mates, the GLC featured a front-engine with rear-wheel drive setup with a solid rear axle. Also like its contemporaries the Mazda was among the last of its kind to feature rear-wheel drive. The automotive industrial complex was well on its way pushing into a future of front-wheel drive when some began to see the demise of the subcompact rear-wheel drive platform as a spark for using the platform to create something light and sporty – like a two-seat roadster.
One of the test mule Mazda Miatas used a GLC front end and engine with a rear axle from an RX-7. The positive reaction from the public after a test drive to Santa Barbara helped push the Miata roadster into production. The rear-wheel drive version of the Mazda GLC was sold here in the states from 1977-1980, when the platform switched over to front-wheel drive architecture – a version of which this author drove for work at a courier service in the bay area back when local news was delivered from the field to the studio on bulky videotape. We can’t speak to driving the rear-wheel drive GLC but can say the front-wheel drive GLC 323 was a fun and maneuverable thing.
This Mazda GLC was seen on its way to becoming something else entirely back in 2007