Behold, the Mazda Cosmo AP RX-5

The Mazda RX-5 is easily the most unloved “RX” car ever sold. When Mazda decided to revive the Cosmo name on a 2+2 GT at the height of the mid-70s luxo-barge craze, it dropped the “Sport” altogether and gave it an “AP” suffix. That stood for Anti-Pollution — this was post-oil-crisis, remember? — and at 2,645 pounds, it pushed the limits of what its emissions-choked 135PS 13B could handle, but hey, it did have a stylish waterfall grille and opera windows in the B-pillar!

Despite all its shortcomings and subsequent unpopularity, however, this Japanese owner managed to build a classy one that appears mostly stock, albeit slammed. 

Of course, any 1970s luxury box is just begging to be zokusha‘ed, and the Cosmo is, surprisingly, a not uncommon choice. But if you’re going that route you might as well start with the obnoxiously-proportioned, gangsta-ish notchback coupe that wasn’t offered in the US. Just add bolt-on bubbles and asymmetrical headlight aero covers.

And don’t forget to completely fill in your side windows for that pimp-tastic back-seat privacy.

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17 Responses to Behold, the Mazda Cosmo AP RX-5

  1. Chuxa says:

    A bit more photos will be good. dont realy like modifyed version ive seen much better transformations of this car. but the clean slammed version of it looks realy good

  2. Lincoln Stax says:

    I remember a lady in my home town bought a new RX-5. I thought it was pretty sexy with that glass in the b-pillar. Personally, I think Mazda’s little PLC has aged pretty well.

  3. dave says:

    These big Cosmos are really cool but not as pretty as the other Mazdas of the period. I like ’em, but I LOVE all things Mazda. There were a number of nice Cosmos at the New Year Meet, including a nice yellow one. Never seen one in yellow, really like it.

  4. j_c says:

    I read they were a lot more popular in Japan than America.

    A single RX-5 in nearly stock form was entered in the 1976 Daytona 24 for publicity to show the rotary’s reliability. The drivers expected a break down but the car ran the entire time.

    • dave says:

      Yeah, it was designed with a lot of styling cues of big American cars at the time. Another Mazda around that time designed as such was the Luce Legato. They expected the Cosmo to do well in the US, because of the style and size, but it flopped, whereas in the home market it sold surprisingly well. Go figure.

    • Rotary_Bern says:

      Not only did that RX-5 enter the race in ’76 but, Ray Walle, owner of Z&W Mazda, drove the Cosmo (Mazda RX-5) from the dealership in Princeton, New Jersey to Daytona, won the Touring Class Under 2.5 Liters at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and then drove the car back to New Jersey. The Cosmo placed 18th overall in a field of 72. The only modifications were racing brake pads, exhaust, and safety equipment!!

  5. Magnus Berglund says:

    Hmm.. maybe I should do one of mine like the on at the top, or maybe not….
    It will probably sit in the garage for another 10 years.

    / Magnus

  6. Tyler says:

    Fenders are one thing, but you can’t undo the window delete.

    The top one is smexy.

  7. idhuy says:

    I really like if that Mazda still in stock car condition, and only use rare rims,
    rather than Bosozoku style 🙂

    Regards from Indonesia, see the video about Japanese Classic Car running in here


  8. banpei says:

    The Cosmo AP was also offered with a 1.8 piston engine in other parts of the world (like Europe for instance) as the Mazda 121. A regular upgrade on those cars is to put te rotary back in where it initially was supposed to be. 😉
    Also the notchback was called the Landau and looks a little bit different than the one posted up there.

  9. damageinc86 says:

    Yeah that closer to stock one slammed is waaaaaaaay nicer looking than that other one. It crossed over into silly land, instead of badass land lol.

  10. Darrel says:

    I had a 1976 Cosmo up until this last fall. Sold it to a Mazda rotary nut in Michigan. Awesome car with some great features.

    4 wheel disc brakes was a first for a US Mazda. Loved the opera windows and boomerang tail lights.

    Now I want another…

  11. seventhskyline says:

    Are these 4×110 or 4×114.3 wheel PCD?

  12. Richy says:

    I believe these are 4×120 like an early Honda.

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