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I wanted a 1996 GTI VR6. My parents bought me a 1996 Mazda Protégé DX 1.5L MT. Almost exactly half the horsepower and half the cost. I learned how to drive stick shift in this car. We got the car for $1900 with 121,000 miles on it. It needed a window, a side mirror, and a radio. At least it had some sporty 7 inch wide aftermarket wheels. With a broken AM radio, I went straight to Circuit City and bought a Sony XPlod radio head unit. Now I had an FM radio and CD player. Nice! Then I went to AutoZone and Pep boys and bought myself an aluminum shift knob with blue LED’s and a chrome muffler tip. The muffler tip was stolen from a Walmart parking lot shortly after. I couldn't do anything else. Aftermarket parts did not exist for this car. So I drove it for 8 years to and from school/work. I used it as a pizza delivery vehicle. I took it off road. I drove that car so hard and revved to the red line often (No tachometer in the car). It was even involved in a police chase (Not me). Me and the car have been through so much together. I finally decided to sell it 2 years after I bought my Porsche because I didn't need it anymore. The Porsche was my new daily driver. So after 8 years of driving the Mazda, I sold it for $1350. Not bad. My friend recently spotted my car on the road. It's still out there being driven by its new owner. I'm sure it has over 200,000 miles at this point. It was an extremely reliable car with a peppy engine and sports car-like handling, thanks to the wide wheels, high performance summer tires, and 2385 lb curb weight.
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