When it All Started (3rd Edition)

This isn’t exactly how I had it planned — I originally intended for only one case where I’d have to tell you about, “when it all started.” Things change though, and here we are. I’d like to introduce the next car that will be featured here on Driven for Drives…my new/old 2004 Mazda 6 S V6 5-speed. Say that fast five times…I challenge you!

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Coming from a line of Honda products, a BMW and a few Nissans, then why on earth would I go to the small, understated brand of Mazda? Mazda runs in my family and it’s given great service. My dad had a 1986 (purchased new) B2000 pickup which he clocked over 180,000 miles with…get this…no maintenance. Rarely even oil changes. It was still running great when he sold it to a guy who turned it into a lowrider. My Grandpa has a 2004 Mazda 6 “i” 4-cyl 5-speed. A little background on that here. He has 189,000 miles to date and only repairs were a thermostat and a loose connection to the turning signal lamp.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I had to let go of the TL to gain some financial freedom. This is another reason for going the Mazda route. Any Honda or German make with my requirement of a v6 with manual would be well into the $7,000-10,000 range in good condition. Thanks to Mazda’s past ho-hum resale value, I was able to get this one optioned up to my liking for under $5,000.

Background: 

When I first started looking at local Craigslist and Autotrader ads, there was only one 6 V6 5-spd around my area. A friend of a friend’s car, in fact. It was a 2004 in Blazing Copper Metallic with black cloth. With only 107,000 miles, it hadn’t been exposed to lengthy travels I tend to subject my cars to.

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I ended up falling in love with this color.

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The headlights and a few other exterior bits were in need of some TLC.

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I ended up not taking this example as there were too many things I saw myself having to repair and restore. Not a good recipe for someone trying to lower debt. So, the search continued until I spotted my Steel Grey 6 on Craigslist in Phoenix, AZ.

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After a little coordination with the seller via text, I asked my buddy Tyson from DriveToFive to check it out in person since he lives very close. Long story short, I bought it sight unseen and Tyson very kindly held my new purchase at his house until I was able to pick it up.

Bringing it Home: 

One week later, Jouhl and I made the trip to Phoenix. We took Jouhl’s 2015 Mazda 6. With a highway MPG of 38MPG, it was a great choice for the trip.

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It was nice to sit back and let someone else handle the driving for a change.

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Several hours later when we arrived at Tyson’s house. This was my first time seeing the 6 in person. Was quite exciting!

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Of course, I had to capture a shot of Tyson’s treasures in the garage — his ’92 NSX and ’94 Legend Coupe LS. There are nothing but third pedals found here. Tyson wasn’t able to be present for my arrival, but he was kind enough to allow me to gain access to his house for the car keys. Thanks, Tyson!

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Give or take a few miles as I wasn’t as on top of photo documenting as I should have been, this is the ODO reading at the beginning of my ownership:

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Jouhl and I hit the road for home. We ended up stopping in Tuscon, AZ for the night. Here are some rather mediocre photos of the 6’s together.

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Certainly a difference in styling in the last 10 years!

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The next day, we headed straight home. I led the way and Jouhl followed just in case something were to go wrong. The 6 drove flawlessly though, and the only little issue I ran into was the rear antenna which had a broken mount causing it to swing around and smack the rear window repeatedly. More of an annoyance than anything else. At the next gas station, I overpaid for a roll of duct tape and fixed the problem (temporarily).

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There, that’s better.

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Onwards!

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New Mexico State line.

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Arrived at its new home here in Las Cruces.

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Now, I was able to get out and more closely examine my purchase. I have to admit for being 10 years old, this is in great condition despite a few bumps and bruises here and there:

Inner fender lining missing.

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Dent on trunk lid.

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Lower fascia trim broken.

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Headlights oxidized.

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Faded Cowl panel trim loose.

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Window trim weathered.

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The interior is very well kept and the only thing that stands out is a small stain on the driver’s seat. It’s been a while since I’ve owned a car without leather. Although I miss the smell and look of it, it is nice to not have to worry about wrinkles, cracks or scuffs. (Eagle-eyed viewers may spot the TL in the garage which is waiting to be shipped to Justin)

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I’m excited to take on this next project and restore this car as close to showroom condition as possible. These are all easy fixes. After a quick wash of both 6’s, I staged them for a quick photoshoot.

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And that’s how I obtained ownership of the 6. Thanks for coming along and stay tuned as I share more adventures on the road.

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7 thoughts on “When it All Started (3rd Edition)

  1. Farid says:

    The first gen Mazda 6’s have aged really well! Hope it brings you many miles of pleasure!

  2. pawela says:

    Thanks, Farid! I agree this body style has really aged well and still has some styling elements that would be fitting for today’s cars. So far, it’s been putting a huge smile on my face.

  3. tysonhugie says:

    I do love that Blazing Copper Metallic. It reminds me a little of an orange that Acura put on the 2001 CL. Was it “Sunburst” or something like that? I dunno. Anyway, glad the 6 is serving you well and I’m sorry I wasn’t at the house when you came to pick it up!

    • pawela says:

      Tyson, yeah it’s certainly a rare color and I do remember the CL coming in something similar. Not even sure if I’ve ever seen one. I loved that Acura was experimenting back then. (What happened?) No worries and on our next drive, it will be all ready for a Tyson test drive. 🙂

  4. Nate says:

    Those are some good looking cars for sure! I’m loving the two Mazda 6s side by side.

    • pawela says:

      Thanks! The 6 has aged well and I continue to get compliments…surprisingly. Someday, I will need to get the right people together in the family and have all three 6s together for photos!

  5. […] posted of my experience of bringing it home last year and since then, I’ve accumulated 34,535 miles. Without hesitancy, I can say I’ve enjoyed […]

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