VIDEO: What it’s like to drive an Autozam AZ-1

Ridge Racer-feeling” are the words used to describe the Autozam AZ-1, the Mazda-Suzuki collab that was quite possibly the pinnacle of the kei car breed. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, just death and taxes, or something like that. So in exchange for the gift of reduced vehicle registration fees and the ability to park anywhere, the otherwise unforgiving Japanese government imposed severe constraints on physical size and engine displacement kei cars. Mid-engined, twin-cammed, turbo-charged, and gull-winged, the Autozam took those constraints and made the most bonkers, futuristic sports car it could. 

Very few people stateside have had the opportunity to drive one. Regular Car Reviews got their hands on one, despite the fact that the AZ-1 is not regular at all (it’s insane). Even more irregular, this particular one has the front of its platform twin the Suzuki Cara, but the rear of an AZ-1. It’s also a car that has recently become legal for US import, making it suddenly available to those who didn’t grow up immersed trying to get all gold in the Gran Turismo license test. Now automotive hipsters are absolutely busting at the seams to get one, driving the price up to $16,000. Apparently, it’s suddenly “the coolest car in America.”

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3 Responses to VIDEO: What it’s like to drive an Autozam AZ-1

  1. Jayrdee said:

    ” … to those who didn’t grow up immersed trying to get all gold in the Gran Turismo license test”

    100% guilty.

    I always loved the Touge Showdown video where they race the garage limit AZ-1
    https://youtu.be/CiONW1ULqzc?t=2m39s

  2. Negishi no Keibajo said:

    It is an absolute blast to drive. Very quick steering making a poorly maintained freeway a hands on experience. Speed’s not an issue. A bit under-sprung. Light clutch. Very small; I’m 5’5″ & had to come up with “the” technique to get in & out. Closing the gullwing doors is also something you can learn quickly but must, unless you really bang it down. A flat bottom steering wheel would help. Like many Kei cars, rust is the enemy. It requires a garage to park in at this point. Some of the plastic trim shrinks with UV over the years. If you have the spoiler on the rear deck, it bisects your rear view exactly in half. Could use tire wheel combo bigger than Kei issued. Eyed it for 20 years, waiting for the 25 year mark. It was really worth it.

  3. Randy said:

    Cool and cute, but other than a few females I’ve known, there’s just nobody in my world that would comfortably fit… Guess I’ll have to stick to Celica-size+…

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