Journal: This Is What Mazda Thought Rotary Sports Cars Of The Future Would Look Like

This Is What Mazda Thought Rotary Sports Cars Of The Future Would Look Like

By Michael Banovsky
October 28, 2015

When I first saw the Mazda RX-500 a few years ago, I thought I was looking at a Transformer in disguise, or perhaps a rare Japanese supercar from an alternate reality. Turns out, I wasn’t far off.

First introduced exactly 45 years ago before the RX-Vision at the 1970 Tokyo Motor Show, the RX-500 is a supercar that’s long lived in disguise. Shown during a time when seemingly every automaker was in the rotary engine game, it’s an interesting look at what a Japanese supercar would have looked like in 1970. Without a long history of international competition, carrozzerias, and superstar engineers, designers in Japan were surely influenced by other things, including futuristic heroes like Mighty Atom, and Ultraman. Even the 1964 Summer Olympics presented Japan’s futuristic side to the world.

A few years ago, Japanese Nostalgic Car dug up some exciting—albeit fleeting—footage of the car as part of a vintage film on how the rotary works. As for the RX-500, it remains a recently-restored screamer, still in Mazda’s care.

The car is every bit the gee-whiz supercar you know it is, too: lights on the back change color based on how the vehicle is accelerating or slowing down, the mid-mounted 491-cc Wankel engine is good for 247 horsepower and a top speed of 125 mph, and there are butterfly doors. Queue the second part of the film to about 5m30s to see the car in action.

I wonder what the 2015 model would have looked like…Well, Mazda did just give us the decidedly classically European-styled RX-Vision. 

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Ronnie M
Ronnie M
8 years ago

Hmm. I don’t think it looks odd for the era. It looks remarkably like the Mercedes-Benz C111 one of which featured a rotary engine. Was there any collaboration between them and Mercedes at the time?

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
8 years ago
Reply to  Ronnie M

Yes, it looks on par for the era… even conservative for a concept car. It reminds me of some turbine cars or other prototype race cars that were typical of the day. I’m sure I have an old Hot Wheels of this thing buried somewhere.

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