Why We Love the Mazda T2000

mazda_t20001
Since we reserve most of our drool for Fairlady Zs and TE27s here at JNC, some of you may have wondered why we went ga-ga over the Mazda T2000 that appeared on eBay earlier this week. Well, because it was a monster.

mazdagoUnless you see it next to other cars you don’t really get the sense of scale a T2000 brings. We’re used to thinking of three-wheelers as the size of Daihatsu Midgets, and yes, most pre-war 3-wheelers were nothing more than flatbeds bolted to the front halves of motorcycles. In fact, long before Cosmo Sports and RX-2s, the 1931 Mazdago pictured above was the company’s first motorized product of any sort.

However, deliverymen soon got fed up with bugs in their teeth and exposure to the elements so manufacturers began styling full-cabin bodies. The Mitsubishi Leo is a good example. A single wheel out front made for a fantastic turning radius and the narrow streets of 1950s Tokyo buzzed with the constant activity of kei-sized trikes.

mazda_t2000
But not all three-wheelers are created equal. The T2000′s eBay auction says “rare Isetta microcar sized truck” but don’t believe that for a second. This thing is gargantuan. If you maxxed out the option list with the extended bed, it could measure up to 6.08 meters, or just a hair under 20 feet long. That’s a foot and a half beyond the rear bumper of a 2009 Chevy Suburban.

mazda_t2000_k360
Here’s the Mata-Ne photo from JNC Issue 1. As you can see, an entire Mazda K360 can fit in the back, and that’s just the short bed version.

mazda_t2000_longbed
For comparison, here’s a long bed version. That’s 12 honkin’ feet of cargo space back there.

mazda_t2000_isuzu
It’s not just long, but tall as well, a trait clearly seen when the T2000 is parked side-by-side with an Isuzu box truck. Imagine looking over the nose of that thing as you steered. Pets and small children were probably routinely maimed.

mazda_t2000_crown
Here’s a blurry shot of one spotted in the wild next to an S170 Toyota Crown, which is about the size of a Lexus GS.

Mazda was by no means the only builder of these iron giants. Mad scientists at Mitsubishi, Daihatsu, Rogane, and Orient were all cranking out mega-trikes during the same period. If there’s demand, we’ll do articles on those too. Let us know in the comments.

But for now our fave is the Mazda T2000. It was the last of its breed, built from 1962 until 1974 (imagine it parked next to a Luce RX-4 of the same era). Besides, who couldn’t love that atomic robot face?

[Images: Wikipedia, Mazda, MSN, mu3rail Blog, Speedplay Blog]

permalink.
This post is filed under: mazda, mitsubishi.

17 Responses to Why We Love the Mazda T2000

  1. leongsoon said:

    Yay, more articles on trikes and queer automobiles please! Wow, I’d never realised they were so huge until reading this post!

  2. Toyotageek said:

    Yes yes yes… please provide us with more of the unusual, mundane, gargantuan, odd, strange, absurd and just outright weird yet very Japanese forms of transport! ;P

  3. Slag said:

    Absolutely more articles about the trikes, they are a fascinating piece of history. I would never have guessed the size of that thing if you hadn’t explained it!

  4. Boy – I echo the previous comment on the size!
    That’s a pretty big front tire – wonder how hard it was to steer in traffic…
    I guess there was no such thing as parallel parking…
    Tom M.

  5. Dan said:

    Yes! Do more articles on them!

    I saw heaps of them while travelling around China at the end of last year and thought they were the coolest things on three wheels.

  6. Bob said:

    I DEFINITELY want to see an article on three wheelers! More than an article, lots of them! They are bad-ass and I’ve been way curious about them for a long time.

  7. Carl Beck said:

    If you do more articles – perhaps an article on the Gorham Three-Wheel automobile would be a good place to start.

    In 1919 an American Engineer named William R. Gorham designed a Three-Wheel automobile in Japan and built it for a friend. He then sold the patient to an investment group, designed the factory that it would be built in, and designed several of the machine tools needed to built it.

    The Practical Automobile Manufacturing Company was thus formed in Osaka and production of the Gorham Three-Wheeler continued until 1926. Other than a few hand assembled automobiles turned out by Kaishinsha KK / DAT Motors between 1914 and 1925 {aprox. 30 total units} – the Gorham Three-Wheeler was actually the first “mass-produced” Japanese Automobile.

    In 1926 the Practical Automobile Manufacturing Company and part of DAT Motors were merged to form the DAT Automobile Manufacturing Company. The Gorham Three-Wheel auto was evolved to a Four-Wheel vehicle to increase stability and was produced as the Lira-Go between 1926-1930. In 1930 a new car was designed and produced in trial production – the Datson. It went on sale in 1931.

    If you would like to know more about the beginnings of the Japanese Automobile Industry – I would suggest you log into LuLu.com and order a copy of the book written about Mr. Gorham by the men that worked with him in Japan at the time. Just search for “Gorham”.

    “William R. Gorham: An American Engineer in Japan” The book has been translated by Mr. Gorham’s son Don. Don was born, raised and educated in Japan. The hard copy book is only $14.96 or you can download the digital copy for $4.41. It is an amazing story… about a truly amazing man.

    Carl Beck

  8. nlpnt said:

    Yes, more please!

    And to be fair to the ebay seller, he said the CAB was the size of a whole Isetta, and pointed out that the bed is 8′ long (as well as showing the 5″ hubs and 12″ diff)

    • Ben said:

      nlpnt: It would help if I read the whole thing, wouldn’t it? :) I was only quoting the little info box at the top where they give mileage, location, etc.

  9. aston said:

    Great story. Please give us more articles about trikes. Thanks

  10. ProTree said:

    Rogane and Orient? are those OE Japanese car brands?

  11. ProTree said:

    Carl Beck interesting story!

  12. Ben said:

    Yup, Rogane and Orient were just two among the many now defunct Japanese car/truck manufacturers

  13. ProTree said:

    whoa! definitely a post about Rogane and Orient. btw is Rogane pronounced like the stuff you put on your hair if youre losing hair?

  14. martin said:

    thats pretty much the coolest truck i’ve ever seen besides the truly mammoth Tatra trucks from Czech republic. i wonder what its load capacity was?

  15. Ben said:

    Supposedly it qualifies as a 2-ton

  16. Jovet Cruz said:

    I’ve been searching for info about the T2000 but I always ended up with the Mazdago at Wikipedia.

    Thanks for sharing this article, it was another great read for me.

    Btw, Pls checkout my Tomica Limited Vintage version of the Mazda T2000 here:
    http://jovetsgarage.blogspot.com/2009/09/tlv-51-mazda-t2000.html