Mazda Introduces the Protege StreetCar Concept
30 December 1998Mazda Introduces the Protege StreetCar Concept
Stylish, Spirited Protege Ideal Choice for Customizers LOS ANGELES, Dec. 30 -- Yesterday, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) debuted the Mazda Protege StreetCar Concept at the LA Auto Show. The Protege StreetCar was inspired by the popularity of customized import "street rods" that have exploded onto the scene in recent years. This one-off concept car demonstrates how the performance-minded buyer could take a showroom stock Mazda Protege and transform it into a "pro street" daily driver with aftermarket appearance components and mild performance modifications. Modifications to the Protege StreetCar Concept include lowered suspension, 17-inch wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with Brembo(R) components, rear wing, stainless steel exhaust, front driving lights, Sparco(R) lightweight, one-piece racing seats, custom interior trim treatment, alloy driving pedal set, short gear shift, and custom Kenwood(R) audio system. "We think this car will appeal to the young enthusiast driver," said Gary Roudebush, MNAO's manager, product marketing plans. "Its aggressive appearance captures Mazda's legendary performance spirit, and we are confident that the exposure the Protege StreetCar receives on the auto show circuit will result in both increased interest and sales of the all-new 1999 Protege." Racing Beat of Anaheim, Calif., and Camera Ready Cars, of Fountain Valley, Calif. assisted MNAO's R&D center in Irvine, Calif. in building the Protege StreetCar. As the performance import craze grows in popularity, it becomes more difficult to stand out in a crowd filled with variations of the same old model. The Mazda Protege offers an alternative for individuals who reject the herd mentality of driving a "me-too" car. Right out of the box, the stylish Protege has what it takes to break away from the civic masses of the competition. It has a custom-tailored look that is unexpected in the normally "off-the-rack" compact sedan class. The Mazda Protege is an ideal choice for tuners, with its 1.6-liter, 105 horsepower, DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine in DX and LX models, and the 1.8-liter, 122 horsepower, DOHC, 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine in the ES model. The Mazda Protege has an impressive racing heritage. In October, at the 1998 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Runoffs, a Protege won the SCCA Showroom Stock C class national championship. With its race-proven MacPherson independent front suspension and Mazda's patented Twin-Trapezoidal Link (TTL) rear suspension, the Protege is perfectly suited to handle everything from SCCA road racing and autocrossing to a favorite driving road. All models feature standard front and rear stabilizer bars, reducing body roll during cornering. The Protege rolls only two degrees in moderately hard (0.5g) cornering -- a level of roll resistance normally found in sports cars. The Mazda Protege offers exceptional value, so there will be money left over for customizing. The base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the DX model is $11,970. Although it is the least expensive model, the Protege DX offers all the quality found in the Protege ES and is well-equipped with power steering, a tilt steering column, and 60/40 split rear fold-down seats. A Convenience Package adds air-conditioning and an AM/FM/CD audio system. The LX model adds cruise control, power windows, door locks and mirrors, driver's seat height adjuster and AM/FM/CD audio system. A Comfort Package adds air-conditioning and floor mats, while the LX Premium Package adds a power glass moonroof, ABS and keyless entry. The Protege LX has a base MSRP of $13,130. The Protege ES, with its 122 horsepower 1.8-liter engine comes with air-conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels and keyless entry as standard equipment. The ES Premium Package adds power moonroof, ABS and floor mats. The Protege ES has a base MSRP of $14,925. Mazda North American Operations is responsible for the research and development, sales and marketing, and customer parts and service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., MNAO has approximately 800 dealerships nationwide and is owned by Mazda Motor Corporation, Hiroshima, Japan.