Featured Car of the Month – Mackey’s Mazda 3

The CorkSport Sponsored 2010 Mazda 3, driven by Josh Mackey, photographer and marketing specialist by day and Editor and Chief of NWMotiv.com by night, has gotten a lot of attention lately (including a feature in the December issue of Import Tuner Magazine), and for good reason. Mackey started his 2010 Mazda 3i Sedan project in June of last year with the goal of taking the mid-range sport compact car to the next level using a variety of styles and showcasing realistic modifications that anyone could do while maintaining a practical everyday car.

Josh was attracted to the Mazda 3 because of the loyal community and followers, the price point and the suspension that, even from the factory, was sportier and more fun than anything else he had test driven. Even so, he immediately set to work improving the suspension of the 3 by adding a CorkSport Front Strut Bar, CorkSport Lower Rear Sway Bar, and Stance USA GR+ Coilovers. He also replaced the tires and wheels with Konig Lace 18×8” +35 wheels and Hankook V12 215/40/18 Tires.

Mackey went with the 2.0 liter base model Mazda 3 so that he could design the car from the ground up by starting with the most common package that the everyday tuner might select, so when it came time to upgrade the engine and exhaust, Josh knew to get the vehicle to the next level he would need the trifecta of I/H/E (Intake, Header, and Exhaust).

He added the CorkSport Power Series Short Ram Intake and opted for the addition of the CorkSport Performance Power Series Cat Back Exhaust that features dual resonators, a single tailpipe design and a 60mm racepipe. He finished off the engine modifications with a MSDS 4:1 Ceramic Header.

Once the Mazda 3’s suspension and basic engine modifications were complete, adding the proper equipment to stop it was a no brainer so Josh went to work on some brake modifications with the CorkSport Stainless Brake Lines, EBC 3GD Zinc Coated Slotted Rotors, EBC Red Stuff Brake Pads and Motul Brake Fluid.

A fan of clean lines, Josh has also done some tasteful exterior modifications that include a 3M 1080 Carbon Wrapped Roof, V-LED Platinum LED bulbs and V-HID lighting, a CorkSport Front Plate Relocation Kit, Mazda Accessory Side Skirts and a 35% Matching front and rear tint.

Continuing with the same exterior design, Mackey wanted to make a point by taking his interior to a whole new level with a full leather installation provided by Katzkin Leather. Two-tone leather interior combining dark midnight grey leather that is stitched together with dark slate perforated suede is installed in both front and rear seats and the door cards. Stage 2.0 of the build will focus on finishing the rest of the interior by wrapped the headliner and pillars in the same material. The rest of the interior is accented with 3M carbon wrap installed by Graphix by Tex and soon to be installed SRP Racing two-tone aluminum racing pedals.

This particular Mazda 3 did not come with the aftermarket BOSE system that most Mazda’s get from the factory. Mackey knew that if he wanted to take this project to the next level and maintain a competitive level with other Mazda’s in the industry, a completely new audio system would be needed. Diamond Audio provided a complete setup of front and rear component speakers, amps and low profile subwoofer. The entire system was expertly installed by James Anderson, all controlled by an Alpine In Dash DVD/GPS Head unit.

What’s next for the NWmotiv Project 3? “Lots of tiny little things that need to be finished up, new bumper lenses, new wheels, front lip, maybe a dptune ecu upgrade” said Mackey “The NWMotiv Project3 takes everything that I’ve learned from the years. Clean lines, clean mods, nothing over done, and everything tasteful.”

If you want to follow Josh Mackey’s progress on his project3, you can check out his regular posts at https://www.nwmotiv.com


The Time has Come – Project 2 Update

The time has come for what you say? The time has come to give our Mazda 2 Project Car a real stereo.

Instead of going with the usual tunes only deck, we decided to give the Mazda 2 a really big upgrade. We chose the Pioneer AVH P3300BT which includes DVD video, MP3 playback, iPod/iPhone direct control, and the option to listen to Pandora using the iPhone Pandora app. This top of the line system includes a 5.8” wide screen size with a 16:9 aspect ratio, touch panel operation, built in amplifier, rear view camera input and dual zone audio/video.

To install the system in our project car, we went with the Japanese made Kanatechs Mazda 2, 2 din installation kit. The Kanatechs kit uses an OEM quality, exclusive panel, designed to fit the Mazda2’s unique dash and includes pre-formed steel mounting brackets. The other kit on the market, the Metra, uses plastic brackets for a rather flimsy installation and gives car stereo thieves easy access.

The installation kit from Kanatechs is thorough and very easy to follow. After giving the instructions a once over I was ready to get to work. The interior in the Mazda 2 is surprisingly easy to take apart and came out with a Philips screw driver and an M10 headed bolt. The harnesses for the installation kit and the pioneer are all color coded so that was a snap to get connected as well. Overall I spent 2 hours installing the new deck.

The installed unit looks like it belongs in the Mazda 2. Too bad it wasn’t an option when the car was purchased.

There are a few notes from installing the unit which I would keep in mind for future installs.

1st – If your original set-up has steering wheel volume controls, get the steering wheel adapter unit from Kanatechs. It allows you to retain the volume controls on the steering wheel if your new audio unit supports IR control.

2nd – The information display selector will be disabled when the original stereo is removed. I recommend you choose your favorite setting and leave it there. With the stock unit unplugged you will have it set forever.

After a few days driving around in the Mazda 2 with the new unit, I am really enjoying the features. I can just plug in a SD card or a USB flash drive with whatever music I want and I am down the road.


Considering the Mazda 2

This is a message for Mazda North America; Why is the Mazda 2 not in North America?  Ford no longer has their hand in the cookie jar so what is the hold up?

I have various personal theories as to why; it will cut into Mazda 3 sales or perhaps production output for the 2 isn’t high enough. The economy is in the tank so we know Mazda isn’t at its max capacity. People are broke! We cannot afford the more expensive cars so a smaller car like the 2 makes sense. Its biggest competition would be the Fit, Yaris, and the soon to be offered Fiats. The Mazda 2 gets great gas mileage, and would argueably be car the best in class if Mazda sold the DI diesel model in the states.

Personally I want one because they are super light and prime for upgrading. I would try and fit a 2.3 DISI engine under the hood. Actually, I will fit a 2.3 DISI engine under the hood! A lightly modded 300hp DISI engine in a 2100lb car would produce an absolutely crazy-fun car to drive. Even in stock form the stock 1.6 liter is rated at 120 hp and torque.  If/when Mazda brings the car to the North America you can bet we will be getting more power out of that engine.

When I was in Tokyo last year I had the opportunity to ride in the AutoExe tuned Demio heading to a lunch meeting with them.  The car is just like a Mazda 3 in terms of fit and finish.  The interior was nice, not over the top.  Despite the 2 being small it was not uncomfortably small for 4 adult men.

There are rumors we may actually get the Mazda 2 late this year but nothing is available to the dealers yet.  Cross your fingers!