The Practical Daily

The Practical Daily

Back in July 2013 Jack was after a new car to run as a daily.

His Mk1 Golf that was his trusty daily (We'll be bringing more on this) was getting too clean to be used and abused everyday. 

So the search started to find a economical diesel hatchback to tackle the daily commute. Initial plans were to go down the standard route for most VAG guys and pick up a diesel mk4 Golf. But after a while in the VAG scene with his mk1 Golf he was getting a little bored and fancied a marque outside of the VAG umbrella. 

This is when he started to notice a few real clean Mazda 3's cropping up over the pond in the US of A and thought, these aren't half bad. So the internet searching began for the new "daily" car. The first port of call was of course for the daddy of the 3 family the MPS, but these still demand a good price and running costs aren't the cheapest. 

So when this 1.6 diesel cropped up at a price he couldn't refuse, and had to make the drive up north to South Shields to pick it up.

With Jack now in the possession of a 'true red' (Thats the actual paint name) Mazda 3 with a nice economical 1.6 diesel engine for the daily hack. He was all set to tuck the Mk1 away and have a nice a care free car he could just use and not have to worry too much about.

But about a month after picking up the 3 though, that under lying modding bug was getting the better of Jack, and his curiosity ended up with him looking through the 'Mazda fitment' and 'Fitted Mazda' pages. This was the start of the slippery slope with the thought "I need to make mine better". So the search for parts started next, coilovers, adjustable arms just a couple of the things being looked up. 

The idea for the wheels came when Jack had parked up behind a Mk4 Golf in Sheffield wearing a set. He had the vision that they'd look the part on the Mazda, so had a search and found a company in Cleckheaton, Bradford that had a couple of sets in stock. He soon drove up to buy them, and got them fitted with a little modification and some arch rolling. 

 After some more time spent on the laptop searching through forums, Jack had found that Ford Focus MK2 coilovers fit the 3 no problem. A set of FK coils were purchased and fitted to try and get the 3 closer to the ground, as the parts available for the Mazda's were mega money. With the new FK's fitted, there was also adjustable camber and toe arms fitted, and a set of camber plates.

This still wasn't the look that Jack was trying to achieve. So some shorter stiffer springs were ordered to get him closer to terra firma. But after hitting everything in the road this still wasn't a long term solution for the Mazda. 

The next step on the "Get low" quest was the Stance Solutions lift kit. This added back some practicality, But having this kit fitted added a few extra millimetres to the ride height which meant it still wasn't low enough. So the only solution was air, but as Mazda folk probably know, there isn't really a kit out there for the 3.

The air install started with just the fronts as this was a pretty straight forward solution which involved a pair of air struts which bolted straight on, a polished Viair tank, Viair 440c compressor and hardline all thanks to Air technik. They also helped Jack in getting a solution sorted for the rear of the car by fabricating him some new lower arms so he could run bags out back too. Once the new lower arms were in his possession they were modified so he could run up to -10 degrees on camber!

At this point he had the wheels he'd wanted, finally got the cars stance sorted out and still being useable. So the next thing on the list was to make it look better. This started by Jack collecting MPS rear bumper, skirts and a spoiler, he painted them all at his work, got them all fitted up but still wasn't happy with how it looked. He needed that front end! And as luck would have it he found someone breaking a MPS so managed to snag the whole front end at a good price to complete the MPS transformation.

 So with the MPS transformation done Jack has ended up with a Mazda 3 that definitely breaks necks, mainly thanks to that rear camber. His future plans are to get a new set of wheels, Modify the front suspension to allow for more negative camber, more custom arms and custom drive shafts.

Car owner: Jack Smith

Photos: Tony Adams

Words: Tony Adams

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