Those who stopped by our booth last Sunday may have noticed a few sneak peeks from our friends at Hot Wheels, hand-delivered in a nondescript plastic bag by designer Jun Imai himself. The first of them is a brand new casting for 2017, the Mazda REPU.
The Mazda Rotary Engine Pick Up, or REPU for short, is sure to please Mazdafarians and truck lovers alike. In real life it has the distinction of being the only rotary-powered pickup ever built and enjoys a strong cult following from enthusiasts of Mazda’s unique pistonless engine.
The specific example seen here is a very early prototype, developed much earlier in the process than the factory samples we usually feature. 3D-printed in four distinct pieces (body, grille and chassis, bed and interior, and glass), it shows how the final model in metal and plastic will fit together.
Lovingly rendered in mostly stock form, the detail is amazing. Trademark design aspects like the grille within a grille, rotor-shaped emblem, factory fender flares, and bedside battery box are all captured with incredible accuracy.
Only a slight lowering and sport exhaust reveal the possibility of some go-fast goodies under the hood. We expect the final version to proclaim ROTARY POWER in large letter on its tailgate, just like the real thing.
This is only the third Japanese nostalgic truck of Hot Wheels’ Imai Era, following in the footsteps of the Datsun 620 and Toyota Pickup. Designed by the talented and prolific Jun Imai, it will join the basic line in 2017. In the end, it’s no surprise that Hot Wheels and not a Japanese brand that brought a 1:64 REPU to the world. After all, the 1:1 version was only sold in North America.