Tag Archives: albuquerque

Dissecting a 2007 Mazdaspeed 6

Happy Friday! The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone and now we have Christmas lined up. My, how time flies. I haven’t been on the road as much in the past month due to workload and some general duties I had to take care of at home. Broken water heater, sudden cold front with freezing water lines and other fun home ownership stuff.

However, I did manage to get away a few times to my favorite junkyard, U-Pull-and-Pay in Albuquerque, NM (about 250 miles from Las Cruces). This actually was my Black Friday shopping stop. U-Pull-and-Pay is a self-service junkyard wonderland with a few locations scattered across the U.S. The rules are simple: Pay $2 to get you through the gates, bring your own tools and go to town! Most of the time, I will simply browse the endless aisles of retired cars, but what brought me here the last few times was a tip I received of a wrecked 2007 Mazdaspeed 6 that just arrived. I’ve been looking for one of these for a long time to snatch parts from. I had no idea what condition it was in or what parts were still good, but I took a chance to go find out as these are very hard to come by.

First though, a little background on the ‘Speed6 just so you can gather how excited I was to stumble upon one:

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The original Mazda 6 was introduced to the States in 2003-2005 as a successor to the rather bland 626. In 2006, Mazda gave the 6 a mild refresh and introduced a hot-rod version, the Mazdaspeed 6. “Mazdaspeed” is your equivalent SVT, AMG or S-line variant. What set this apart from the bread-and-butter 6 was the addition of all-wheel-drive, a short-throw 6-speed manual transmission (no automatics were offered), and several upscale features and interior upgrades to fathom the nearly $35,000 price tag for a top line, Grand Touring. Mazdaspeed also provided a pretty special motor: a turbocharged, direct injection 274HP version of the 2.3L 4-cylinder. Rumors have spread that this is very closely related to the 2.3 Ecoboost motor in the 2015 Mustang. More details on the ‘Speed6 can be had here.

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2006 MAZDASPEED6

Despite the love-it-or-hate-it styling, I had entertained the idea of getting a ‘Speed6 for myself. There are two factors which keep me from getting one.

  • They are incredibly hard to come by (only made for two years!) and those few that you find are heavily modded or already trashed. It’s like trying to find a mint, stock first generation WRX. Not too many left out there.
  • The ‘Speed6 required a bit more care and maintenance from all the beefed up hardware underneath. A well cared for example probably would treat you well, but there are a few issues that arise such as complicated suspension overhauls at 100,000 miles and finicky clutches.

Even though the ‘Speed6 differs from the regular 6 in many respects, a lot of cosmetic parts are interchangeable. That’s where this post comes in. Let’s check out the findings!

Here’s the ‘Speed6 donor car at U-Pull. It’s a white water pearl 2007 Grand Touring model…meaning FULLY LOADED!

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The front end and motor were already pretty much raided, but the interior was fully intact! I snatched the front seats, console and a few other bits that would fit in my car.  I took a photo of the VIN number to run its history on CarFax.

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Poor car had been through quite a bit. 5 previous owners and it was badly wrecked while the 4th owner had it.

2015-12-18 09_11_15-CARFAX Vehicle History Report for this 2007 MAZDA MAZDASPEED6 AWD_ JM1GG12L37111

The last reported mileage was only 82,800!

2015-12-18 09_11_32-CARFAX Vehicle History Report for this 2007 MAZDA MAZDASPEED6 AWD_ JM1GG12L37111

When I was all finished, the car was pretty much cleared out.

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Waiting in line to pay…

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Seat installation. The left side is the ‘Speed6 seat compared to the old one on the right. There is significantly more shoulder and lateral support in these!

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Driver’s installed. The differences are visually very minor.

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Seats installed and ready to go! Unfortunately, this wasn’t a plug-in-play deal. The 2006+ seats have different resistors in the seat belt buckles and side airbags that would very easily make my safety system freak out (ie. airbag lights). To avoid this, all I had to do was simply swap the harnesses and buckles from the old seats to these. No issues reported so far.

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Other goodies were console trim, armrest, vents and tail lights. All are purely for cosmetic purposes aside from the armrest which has more padding than my generation of 6.

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Console installed. Can you spot the changes? The center stack is still in the works.

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Stock tails…

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‘Speed6 tails.

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And a few photos from random weekend adventures…

Roswell, NM

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Carrizozo, NM

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And some frozen face fun in Ruidoso, NM!

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Thanks for stopping by. Until next time…

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Tijeras Musical Road.

By now, you all must be growing tired of hearing about my Mazda 6. Well, let’s change things up a bit and hit the road in search of something new and exciting.

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This post will focus on my weekend trip to Northern New Mexico and the Tijeras musical road. What’s that, you say? Yes, there is indeed ANOTHER musical road in America and it’s right here in New Mexico. It’s a fairly recent addition to our roads as it was first announced in April of 2014. The goal was to have a fun solution to slowing down motorists entering Tijeras, NM. Before this was created, there were officially 4 musical roads in the world:

The total journey of around 900 miles took me first to Grandpa’s where I would help move some valuables, then on the Tijeras and then along the banks of the Rio Grande river. I left Friday after Christmas ready to test out the fresh repairs on the 6. In short, it drives as nice as it did before the accident. (Oops! There I go again talking about the dang car.)

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Little drive off the beaten path along the Animas Creek just outside of Truth or Consequences, NM.

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Quick pic outside of Los Lunas, NM.

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A few hundred miles later, I arrived at my destination (Grants, NM) and parked right behind my Grandpa’s 6.

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Next morning, it was a little nippy out.

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Bank of America helped me clear the windshield and I was ready to join the convoy to go help move!

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There were a total of four cars ready to be stuffed full. The Mazdas took the front.

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Here’s my first “awkward load” pic. This 75-100lb old water pump was going back to Las Cruces with me. I was so thankful that I now have seats that fold down.

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Back to the house in Grants to unload.

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Next day, I left for home but I had plans to make a slight detour to see New Mexico’s musical road. I went through Albuquerque to reach Tijeras, NM.

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The exit is about 15 miles East of Albuquerque.

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Turning off the freeway to old Route 66 exposed some snow that was leftover from a recent storm.

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Entering Tijeras! The village of about 541 (2010 Census) is statistically part of the Albuquerque metro area. There isn’t much here to put the Village on the map except for what I’m about to drive on…

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Aside from a few residential areas, this is pretty much it.

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Odd coffee house which I have to try someday.

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And now, let’s hear some tunes! The musical road is about a mile or so west of Tijeras along Route 66. As you approach, there is a sign that gives instructions to “Reduce to 45mph…”

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“…to hear the song!”

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Here’s how the grooves have been cut.

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Besides the signs, the only designation are a few arrows which were already starting to fade away.

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Here we go!

You just heard “America the Beautiful.” I actually looped around and drove over the stretch several times and even experimented with different speeds. Going over this at 60mph was pretty wild! After Tijeras, I headed towards home with just one little adventure stop along the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. I swapped the freeway for a dirt road which followed the Rio Grande River for about 10 miles and took in the scenery.

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From there, a nice sunset guided me back home. Thanks for coming along!

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