Mazda Cosmo Sport 110
The inspirational cues of Ferrari and Jaguar ooze from the first rotary-powered car on the planet. Designer Heiji Kobayashi wanted to place Mazda in the history books for creating a car not of conventional Japanese practices.
Debuted in 1964, a year before the Toyota 2000GT, the Mazda Cosmo was unlike anything anybody had ever seen from a Japanese company. Design cues from the Pininfarina penned Ferrari Superfast can be found from the headlights to the front fenders. The rear, however, took on more flare thanks to inspiration derived from afterburner tail lights of early 60s Ford Thunderbirds.
Eighty pre-production models would be created to educate dealers, customers and even Mazda themselves about their new experiment into performance vehicles with a totally new type of motor. A grand total of 1519 would be created during the car’s lifespan––this includes Series I and Series II models combined.
Now a cult favorite, the rotary engine was a drastic leap in engine technology. If you’re unfamiliar with how the engine works, we’d suggest following this link. If you do know how it works you’ll know that earlier version did come with their fair share quirks.
This wouldn’t keep Mazda off the raceways of the world though. Mazda took the Cosmo 110S to the world famous Nurburgring in Germany to compete in the most grueling automotive sport of the day––the 84-hour Marathon de la Route. Two, mostly stock, cars were entered. Both would run in fourth and fifth place for a vast majority of the race. Unfortunately, one car would not finish due to axel damage in the 82nd hour, while the other would complete the race finishing in fourth place. This would be the only time Mazda would compete with the car, but its safe to say their point was made.