In just a few days Mazdafarians will begin rejoicing in honor of their chosen marque’s 90th birthday. It has been ninety cycles of the sun since Toyo Cork Kyogo Company, Ltd. was founded in in the city of Hiroshima.
At first, the company made exactly what the name would suggest. But bottle stoppers soon made way for machine tools, and eventually to the 1931 Mazda TCS three-wheeled truck shown above. It was also known as the Mazdago, the company’s first vehicle long before the rotary-powered sports coupes it’s known for today. If the triple-diamond logo on the gas tank is confusing, that’s because Mitsubishi sold the Mazdago initially, as Mazda had yet to establish a dealer network.
As one can imagine, Hiroshima was an unlucky place to be during WWII, but the company managed to regroup and began manufacturing passenger cars in 1960 Mazda R360 (shown above at the Japanese Classic Car Show).
In the 60s, Mazda began work on the rotary engines the company would be known for. The first car with this new motor was the jet-like 1967 Cosmo Sport (lead photo), but it soon found its way into cars like the 1968 Mazda Familia Rotary Coupe (above), or R100 in the US.
The rest, as they say, is history. To mark this momentous occasion, Mazda is releasing two limited edition vehicles in Japan. The first is the Mazda Axela 90th Anniversary Edition, known to us as the Mazda 3 and set apart by the exclusive Gunmetal Blue Mica body color.
We would have preferred an MX-5 or RX-8, but the second is anniversary version of the Mazda Biante minivan. Yes, Mazda really does sell a van that looks like this in Japan.
Anyway, let’s remember to pop a cork this weekend and drink to 90!
Images courtesy of Mazda.
I don’t mean to crash the party, but Gunmetal Blue Mazda 3’s aren’t that limited, I take pictures of them all the time(they look horrible on camera!) And that minivan looks like a space age version of the Mazda5 minivan. But 90 years is pretty cool, and i’d like to see someone pimp out an R360.
But you aren’t in Japan :). These are limited JDM models, though I wonder how the US would react to that van…
Ben- Probably the same way they reacted to the Nissan Cube!
Ben- What about that pimped out R360. Slammed with little Wats, a chin spoiler, and a twin rotary!
That would be awesome. Here’s something close, a Mazda Carol 360 in the Japanese custom aesthetic.
I remember that car! My only issue with it, is it looks like someone stepped on the back too hard!