Where do you even begin when speaking about South African performance cars of yesteryear.
While the rest of the world enjoyed their bigger brothers, the Mazda 323 EGi, Opel Kadett Superboss and BMW 325is among others, are local legends in their own right . The ‘golden oldies’ still evokes plenty of emotion, especially from the older generation petrolheads.
Seeing one in factory condition is pretty much like finding chicken’s teeth. Many people have tried to create replicas but you can tell when something is the real deal – call it a petrolhead’s sixth sense.
The Superboss is perhaps the most lucrative out of the bunch, still fetching well over R100 000 in dealer circles. It provided fruitful performance from a factory-tuned aspirated 2.0-litre lump that put out 125kW and 228Nm, with it’s raise to fame coming in late 80’s to early 90’s Group N racing. It also came in Singlecam 8V, dubbed the ‘baby boss’.
It is made distinct by the black 15-inch Aluett wheels and ‘GSI 16V’ stickers found across the car. The Boss was Opel’s answer to take on the mighty BMW 325is at the time.
We might not have gotten the legendary E30 M3 but the 325is was the next best thing. It’s throaty 2.7-litre engine sent 145kW to the rear-wheels and went toe-to-toe with the Opel Kadett Superboss during the early 90’s.
The E30 is primarily used in drifting these days but no one would dare do that to an 325is. If you’re in the market, expect to pay a pretty penny for one in decent knick.
‘Tree to Tree’
Another one of South Africa’s legends has to be the Mazda 323 200i. It wasn’t as powerful as what Opel and BMW had in the works but the EGI, as it is also affectionately known, was by no means a slouch.
The FE engine came in both 8 and 16-valve configurations with peak power coming in at 107kW, 2kW more than the Nissan Sentra/Sabre 200STI. It might not cost as much as the above examples but it sure is difficult to find.
The thing with classics is that they are meant to be cherished and preserved as national treasure. People who really want these cars are willing to pay big money for it without shame, making it that more vital to hold onto it.