・Recently recommissioned after a decade of dry storage
・Ready to go
Remember the days before ‘lifestyle’ vehicles became a thing, when pickups were only driven by tradespeople? Well this Mazda is from that era in the UK, as the original brochure which accompanies it will attest. Sold very much as a commercial vehicle, the sales pitch majors on reliability and cost of ownership. However, in other parts of the world, notably Japan (where it was badged as the Mazda Proceed) there was very much a push to sell it to consumers with an active lifestyle.
Maybe the previous owner saw the developing trend and with incredible foresight decided to restore this trusty pickup and stash it in dry storage for the next decade. Whatever the rationale, with the current appeal of both classic and lifestyle vehicles, it could hardly be more on trend. Recently recommissioned, the versatility which made it attractive when it was new hasn’t gone away while the hardiness that sold it as a commercial vehicle should mean that there’s plenty of life left in it yet.
Purchased new in 1986, there have been two owners, both of whom were based in Newark in Nottinghamshire. Although we’re not sure of the exact timings, the 2002 tax disc provides some clue as to when it was last on the road and it’s thought that around ten years ago it was fully resprayed and then placed into dry storage. It’s now been fully recommissioned with a full service, a new cambelt and a full year’s MOT.
The original owner’s manual, service book and promotional brochure are present, together with the invoice for the recommissioning work. There are also two keys.
The cabin is very much consistent with the B2200’s commercial origins, with a vinyl bench seat, vinyl floor covering and, it has to be said, not a great deal in the way of mod cons. That said, it’s all stood the test of time and everything works as it should. The seat features a pull-down armrest which also allows access to the jack which is stored behind and the umbrella handbrake takes some getting used to but is no problem when you’ve mastered it.
At first sight, it’s remarkable to see a pickup of this vintage in such good condition. For a start, there aren’t the usual dents and scrapes that one would usually associate with a commercial vehicle and the respray makes it look almost like new. Repainted wheels set it off well and paintwork down the flanks and in the load bay is in really great condition with only the bonnet showing any sign of wear with some flat spots to the paint. On closer inspection, the front grille shows some flaking but this will be repainted prior to the sale. There are also a couple of bubbles under the paint, one on the passenger door and one in the load bay but neither look to be a great cause for concern.
At the rear, the light units have obviously been swapped for something a little more modern but a cursory internet search suggests that the genuine items should be fairly readily available for those seeking originality. The drop-down tailgate operates very slickly and, while there is a tiny dent to the outside (see pictures), it is hardly noticeable. All the tyres, including the spare which is mounted under the rear desk, have good tread. Underneath is also in very good order with what appears to be a decent layer of underseal. In all, it’s a very smart vehicle.
Under the bonnet, everything is tidy and original and the engine fires up first time. Naturally a mid-eighties commercial vehicle doesn’t quite have the levels of refinement that you’ll find in a modern saloon car but while the lack of power steering means that manoeuvring takes a little effort, once on the move the steering is nicely weighted. The 2.2 litre diesel engine pulls well and is smooth through the gears while there are no untoward noises from the drivetrain or suspension.
Now a very rare sight on the road, it’s hard to imagine finding a better condition example of the B series than this. And, in keeping with the original brief, its versatility makes it suitable for a variety of applications: as is it is, it could be taken to classic shows, suitably sign-written, it could be a unique promotional vehicle and, either, way it would surely make a perfect way to transport a classic motorcycle or collection of pedal cycles in the rear.
The possibilities are almost endless and, at the same time, its rarity and ruggedness shouldn’t mean that it will cost the Earth.. So, whatever lifestyle you want to pursue, why not use this beautiful classic pickup to get you there? You know it makes sense!
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