what to look for when buying an Autozam AZ-1
Hey guys, new member here. I decided to pull the trigger and import an AZ-1, rather get the car I always wanted (and save up a bit more for) than settle for a less-costly JDM. Is there any pointers I should look for when buying one (mechanically or body condition-wide)?
I know the car auctions give limited on info, and they're semi-rare; so not much choices to pick from. Most of them are well above 100k KM, which I'm fine, should I worry about high-mileage examples?
Currently setting up an account with the exporter to start the process of bidding/looking when the right one comes available. 2-4 weeks to find one, 6-8 weeks on the water. So maybe in 3 months (April) can have one landed.
It depends not only on your length but also your proportions legs/upper body.
My guess is that 6´3" should be okay. Perhaps you can find a car and try how it fits you?
No,.never give up on AZ-1. Most fun car I have ever driven
Good luck /Niclas
SWE KEI wrote:
Good luck /Niclas
That's good to hear. I ordered one back in November but due to the lovely import laws that we have here in the states it won't arrive until next November. I've got big plans for it, but this waiting game is a killer.
From what I've seen, the only real things to look out for with these cars are improper mods. I saw a lot of poorly executed "upgrades" to cars when I was looking, and that narrowed down the list of available cars quite a bit. Other than that, the only thing that made it difficult for me is that I wanted blue and I required the Mazdaspeed aero kit. I still haven't seen another one matching that description.
Over in Cappuccino-land, there were lots of complaints about body rust taking those cars off of the road. From what I've seen for sale in Japan, the AZ-1 doesn't suffer from that issue. I read through all 15 or 16 years of SCORE forum posts checking for things to look out for, design weaknesses, and upgrade paths with respect to the F6A engine. I learned that the F6A is an incredibly reliable engine and that the aftermarket doesn't cater to anything beyond mild upgrades. Idle control valve failure is common on these engines and is nothing to be concerned about. Unfortunately all of that info does nothing to teach me about the AZ-1 body and suspension.
There is a series of videos on Youtube from a New Zealander who bought and is upgrading an AZ-1 for autocrossing. There's a fair amount of info there on what living with an AZ-1 is like, but the owner freely admits that internal combustion engines are not his thing and that he doesn't know anything about the car beyond what he has learned during making the videos. They're worth a watch if you're on the fence, and I haven't found anything else quite as useful that is in English.
EDIT: I guess it would be useful to mention that the name of the channel is NewZeroland.
Back to the original topic of this post... The door dampers will almost certainly be shot unless they have been replaced, and the floor pans do rust mainly under the drivers feet and the seam between the floor and the rear bulkhead but this only seems to happen after they have been used on UK roads so make sure these areas re treated as soon as the car comes in. The only other problem I had was snapped wheel studs - they are only 10mm so I replaced mine with 12. The seals around the door tend to shrink and come apart around the corners of the roof section.
Aside from that these cars seem very solid and any parts that do wear are "stolen" from other models - engine parts cappo, suspension and steering Alto - so they are relatively easy to source.