Mazda is celebrating its centenary this year, so expect to see a lot of historical content from them this year. The latest is a video about the company’s early history and its origins in Hiroshima, an area far removed from the Tokyo-Osaka corridor that all other Japanese carmakers operate out of. As we’ve mentioned before, Mazda’s ties to this region run deep, and this video shows how the history of Hiroshima has uniquely influenced the company.
From its days as a frontier landscape to its traditions in metalsmithing, the history of western Japan is embodied in Mazda’s car building, the video says. It also delves into the Green Panel 3-wheeled truck, which was the first Mazda-branded vehicle. To clarify, this is different than the Mazda-go, which came earlier but was more of a model sold via Mitsubishi dealers, whereas the Green Panel was officially the first vehicle to use Mazda branding and the “triple M” logo.
Introduced in 1938, the Green Panel was produced throughout WWII, whose end had a profound effect on Hiroshima. As it happens, Mazda’s (then Toyo Kogyo) president Jujiro Matsuda’s birthday was August 6, the day in 1945 that Hiroshima was destroyed by an atomic bomb. If it wasn’t for a split-second decision by Matsuda that very morning on the way to get a haircut, many of the Mazdas we know and love today may have never existed.
Mazda believes that its ability to develop innovative technologies like the rotary, Miller-cycle, and SkyActiv sparkless ignition engines stem from its hometown’s exceptional past. No one can know for sure how the forces of time led Mazda to where it is today, but the outsized achievements from such a small company would seem to indicate there’s something to that Hiroshima spirit.