Maybe its finding people with similar interests or the fact that its difficult being a car owner/enthusiast in this area of the world, but it is rare for us to get submissions from Latin America. Car production in Latin America has its own unique history. Today we have Juan Carlos Cano‘s 1996 Pearl Stratum 323 2WD from Itagui, Colombia. The 323 is part of the Familia family that eventually got replaced by the Mazda3/Axela in 2004.  In Colombia this specific model, the 6th generation 323 (BF), was produced for about 18 years (2004) skipping the 7th generation (BG) model entirely. While production was still on going on the outdated 6th generation 323, Mazda decided to introduce the 323 in Colombia as the Allegro, which started with the 8th generation 323 (BH/BA) and continued on with the Protege. Just an interesting production history for a car that is praised for offering many features and smooth power delivery for the time.

Juan, how did you get into loving cars?

“Desde que tenia 4 años me han gustado los carros mi papa siempre ha estado involucrado con los carros, cuando yo estaba pequeño mi papa tenia una Dodge Power Vagon del 54, era el carro mas bonito de la ciudad, pero luego tuvimos problemas monetarios y lo vendio, despues de eso nos fue imposible tener un carro nuevamente hasta que termine la universidad. Pero siempre he tenido carros a escala he estado en el mundo a motor.”

“Since I was 4 years old I have liked cars…my father has always been involved with cars…when I was little my father had a 54 Dodge Power Wagon, it was the most beautiful car in town, but then we had money problems and it sold…after that it was impossible for us to have a car again until I finished college. But I have always had scale cars I have been in the motor world.”

So, how did you eventually get a car and into a 323?

“Cuando tuve mi primer trabajo luego de graduarme de la universidad, no sabia conducir queria que mi papa me enseñara, pero aca en colombia en esa epoca era dificil tener un carro aun, entonces hice un prestamo en el banco para comprar un carro y que mi familia lo disfrutara, aca en colombia el mazda 323 es muy comun y tiene fama de fino, desde pequeño los habia visto modificados en mi ciudad, pero fue mas casualidad que otra cosa que termine comprando un 323, mi papa pudo ensarme a conduccir como era mi sueño…”

“When I had my first job after graduating from university I did not know how to drive, and I wanted my father to teach me, but here in Colombia at that time it was difficult to have a car even…so I made a loan at the bank to buy a car and that my family will enjoy it…here in Colombia the Mazda 323 is very common and has a reputation for being fine, since I was little I had seen them modified in my city, but it was more coincidence than anything else that I ended up buying a 323…my father could teach me to drive as it was my dream…”

“…Despues de eso, mi papa y yo empezamos a modificarlo y yo empece a estudiar sobre estos carros, hasta el nivel de hoy en dia, nos volvimos un referente nacional en la modificacion de Mazda 323 tenemos un negocio propio y estamos ayudando a mas personas a modificar sus Mazda 323 en Colombia…”

“…After that, my dad and I started to modify it and I began to study about these cars, up to the level of today…we became a national reference in the modification of Mazda 323…we have our own business and we are helping more people to modify the Mazda 323 in Colombia…”

“…Proximamente le haremos, una culata personalizada y lo pasaremos a inyeccion electronica, para luego hacer un cambio de motor a un BP.”

“…Soon we will make you, a custom cylinder head and we will pass it to electronic injection, and then make an engine change to a BP.”

What inspired you to modify the 323 the way you did it?

“Esa pregunta es dificil, solo lo que he tenido en mi cabeza por años, las ideas van apareciendo. Supongo que es por tantos años mirando carros.”

“That question is difficult, only what I have had in my head for years, the ideas are appearing. I guess it’s from so many years looking at cars.”

How would you describe car culture in Colombia? Is having a modified car in Colombia difficult? Are Colombians into low style?

“A la gente acá le gusta es el sonido de música y la estética, pero es costoso pocos carros van al piso con estilo todos recortan espirales, es complicado.”

“People here like the sound of music and aesthetics, but it is expensive few cars go to the floor with style all cut spirals, it is complicated.”

Looks like you have done quite a lot to the 323. Any more future plans for it?

“Proximamente le haremos, una culata personalizada y lo pasaremos a inyeccion electronica, para luego hacer un cambio de motor a un BP.”

“Soon we will make you, a custom cylinder head and we will pass it to electronic injection, and then make an engine change to a BP.”

You mentioned you have your own business/shop, what is it called? Where can people find and contact you?

Anyone you want to thank for your journey with the 323?

“Tiendas casi todo es de eBay, los que me vendieron la suspension en colombia, CASTOR.

“Almost everything is from eBay stores, the ones that sold me the suspension in Colombia, CASTOR.”


-Clear coat paint job on color pearl stratum and volcano orange
-Custom made body kit
-Custon made front headligths

-Enkei RPF1 16*7.5 4*114
-Tires Maxxis Victra Z1

Engine bay
-Mikuni carb 40pph type-R tunned by juanchoshops
-Lynx mainfold for DCOE Carbs on Mazda E-series engines
-Intakes with velocity stacks
-custom fuel lines on stainless with custom fittings
-epman fuel filter
-oil cooler gplus
-MSD ignition 6al with rev limiter
M-SD blaster 2 coil
-MSD injectors
-Accel spark plugs 8.8 spirax fiero 300
-oil catch can
-Headers + full exhaust system + hks muffler

-Castor Air Ride black kit
-Lower sub frame
-front lower sub frame
-front strut frame

-Racing seats
-4 points tanaka seatbelts
-custom made gauges
-air fuel ratio gauge
-oil press gauge
-oil temp gauge
-Remote engine start stop
-sparco stearing wheel quick release
-momo stearing wheel

Thank you to Juan for sharing this with us. We learned quite a bit from this feature ourselves. And thank you to Eduardo Jaramillo for capturing this. More photos in the gallery below. Enjoy.

Want to feature your ride? There are lot of builds we will never be able to come across, so please email us if you think we would be interested!
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Fitment Game

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