The Mazda Cosmo. Aesthetically delightful and magnificently proportioned, it excited sports car lovers from the minute it appeared at the 1964 Tokyo motor show.
Light and compact, the Cosmo’s extensive glass area and thin columns gave a convertible-feel cabin shape. With the Nardi steering wheel, flexible bucket seats and full-instrument dashboard, it’s exquisite and driver-focused.
“It’s not only a unique design – it was very different to anything else on the market at the time – but it’s also the first rotary-powered car we had,” says technician John Robinson, of the Mazda Australia heritage collection, The home of this particular Cosmo.
Obviously, a radiant car like the Cosmo was not just about the looks. The sporty vehicle was additionally a leader of innovation for the Japanese brand of its time, before exporting to Europe and the US had started.
The high-revving motor (7000rpm redline) permitted the 940kg car to make 100km/h in just 8.8 seconds, complete the 0-400m dash in 16.4 seconds, and achieve a top speed of 185km/h. A four-speed manual, autonomous front-end and DeDion back suspension, and plate/drum brakes were other featured components of the rear-drive Mazda.
After being raced at the tiring 84-hour Marathon de la Route at Germany’s Nurburgring in ’68, it miraculously squeezed an additional 20hp from its 10A engine. Series II variations profited from the expanded yield that year, alongside a new five-speed gearbox, bigger wheels, and some humble aesthetic changes.
The Mazda Cosmo 110S is one of the rarest and most wanted for of Japanese makes of the time and this one gets by as the foundation of Mazda Australia’s Collection. Cases of the Cosmo Series II have auctioned for up to $332,000 recently, with rarer Series I makes considerably more expensive.
“We’re not really sure what it’s worth,” Robinson admits. “We cherish the car not for its worth or because of its rarity, but because it’s an important part of our history.”
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