The “Parts List”: Joseph Dale’s Mazda 626

There is a myriad of car-related Facebook pages, ranging in quality and content styles from the craziest bosozoku cars from the streets of Japan, to the classic Concours beauties from Pebble Beach. Facebook has become a constant stream of media for an impressively large number of people. As a sort of instant gratification, we find cars catered to us, based on the pages we’ve liked, popping up directly in our news-feeds alongside status updates that typically tell what our friends had on their sandwich for lunch or why they’re mad at a co-worker. If you’re like me, chances are you’ve become a fan of certain pages in order to support friends or those who are attempting to do something special.

These days, I don’t find myself spending all that much time in the realm of “FB”, typically only to update the STANCE|WORKS page or to make a post of my own from time to time… still sometimes I find myself scrolling through to see what the world around me is up to, and that’s when I saw a car that, for some reason or another, made me jump with excitement. It’s not every day that a 1980 Mazda 626 Sedan turns your head, let alone sends you on a hunt for the owner, however, Joseph Dale’s (creator of SouthrnFresh) example left me with a mission to ensure his car wound up on our website.

It’s quite apparent that Joseph’s Mazda isn’t sitting on top of wheels that out-shine the rest of the show, and it’s not pushing the limits of the obscure chassis either. He’s not packing an odd-ball power plant and he’s only making about 80 horse-power, so what gives? There’s no doubt that a portion of the STANCE|WORKS viewership will find themselves lost while reading this article. There’s little glamorous about this 30-year-old family hauler, but to me, and hopefully at least one other person out there, this car represents more than most.

There’s a potential chance that I’m crazy; that I’m about to write about an old Mazda, glorifying it to an audience that will read these words and think “well, Burroughs has lost it,” but I believe this car has serious potential. Not in the sense of “the right parts and the right style could take this car to the next level,” but rather it has the potential to teach people something that, in my eyes, is of immeasurable value.

The truth is, I haven’t been into the car scene all that long… not compared to our older brothers and fathers, and theirs as well. The market has changed a lot over the years; trends and styles come and go, keeping the automotive scene full of fresh air for each incoming generation. However, with each trend comes a loosely defined “parts list” of what it takes to build a car worthy of magazines, blogs, or attention in general. It’s a list that defines the parts which makes a “fit in” to the current trending style. What was once Veilside body kits and Apexi N1 exhausts has now become Stance coilovers and Work VS-XXs. The Honda Civic has been replaced by 350Zs and S2000s, all picking and choosing from the multiple-choice list of parts to participate in today’s “game”, so to speak.

Don’t get me wrong, cars like that are important. They help define current trends and set the benchmark for other to aspire to and surpass. They have made the scene what it is today and have driven forward the automotive aftermarket as we know it. These cars have found a home here on this very page, and we know they’re worth sharing… yet Joseph’s car can do more. At least, that’s what I believe.

What Joseph and his CB chassis bring to the table is this: A “parts list” never has and never will be needed to build something worthwhile. We’ve made note of cars and their owners that have taken the path less travelled on more than one occasion. Recently was Jesse Ortiz and his Celica Coupe, an article that explained our appreciation for someone who built a car with little following and even less aftermarket support. Much of the respect for Jesse’s car came from the fact that he didn’t let the lack of off-the-shelf parts and the “support of his peers” (i.e. a following based around the A60 chassis) interfere with the build in front of him. As you may expect me to say, of course I think Joseph’s car takes it just a step further.

On paper, Joseph’s car doesn’t cut it. A mis-matched set of Epsilon and Dyna Lite wheels are the only noticeable modification from the outside, their crossweave patterns similar at first glance yet visibly different on the second. His suspension upgrades consist of little more than RX7 shock absorbers, and both his interior and engine bay are entirely stock. His ride height is entirely daily-able and his wheel and tire sizing is far from “aggressive”. And so I ask you: “What makes it cool?” I hope the answer is just as clear to you as it is to me.

Maybe you’ve known all along, and for that I salute you, but if you’re still questioning what lies before you, the lesson at hand is this: It’s not about the wheels you have, nor the suspension you’ve bought or built. It’s not about how shiny your paint is nor what the stickers on your rear window say. It’s not about the cliche gimmicks and half-assed attempts at completing projects. It’s not about your budget or your sponsors. It’s not about your fitment, your offset, or the car you drive. This is STANCE|WORKS, and it’s about the enthusiasm and heart that goes in to the car you build and what you make of it



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