Thought I would share with fellow forum users a rare event for the B1500 utility shown here. On Sunday 5th October at the All Jap Show here in QLD it was parked alongside my 1964 Mazda Carol 600 to celebrate 45 years of Mazda here in QLD.
In late 1963 Westco Mazda imported just 12 Mazda Carol 600s and 10 Mazda B1500 utilities to test the water for their new Mazda franchise. A further shipment arrived in 1964 before the release of the 800 wagon later that year to sell alongside the B1500. Sales were very good but the 1500 sedan series released in 1966 was the main catalyst for huge sales growth all over Australia. By this time Westco had expanded into other states as importer and distributor as well.
These two Mazda vehicles started the Mazda brand off in Australia, not the very few Mazda T600 utilities first sold in WA in 1959 that Mazda Australia bragged about in 1999 for their 40 years in Australia. Yes, the T600 did get sold in Australia but after just a handfull were sold nothing happended again in any meaningfull numbers until Westco arrived on the scene in late 1963. The R360 was missed out completely (Mazda's first car - ever) apart from an evaluation car sent to WA. A few were brought into NSW by individual importers.
So there you have it. If you were at the show I hope you realised how important both of these vehicles are to the history and eventual success of Mazda in this country. For those of you that weren't, I hope that you quietly thank the Anderson brothers from Toowoomba, directors of Westco, for their enormous insight into what the Australian public would buy. They also introduced the Hino Contessa into this country in 1965 along with Mack trucks much earlier.