It’s March in SoCal. That means the weather is warming and meets are ramping up. We rolled down to Cypress, California (home of Mitsubishi North America HQ) in the ol’ JNC wagon on Sunday to check it out. It was a great meet with some gorgeous rotaries but a lone, faded Mazda 616 caught our eye for its sheer rarity.
Never heard of the 616? That’s because the piston-powered Mazzer is usually overshadowed by its precocious rotary sibling, the Mazda RX-2. Both share the same body as the JDM Capella, but the 616 got a 1.6-liter four-cylinder underhood.
Visually, the primary difference is the rear taillight treatment, squares instead of quad afterburners (see above pic). A Mazda 618 came later with — you guessed it — a 1.8-liter four. Nearly all have been converted to rotaries by now, causing much ogling of the 616’s original badges, and prompting Matt to send this:
The Mazda naming convention that brought you the 626 makes sense now, doesn’t it?