Mazda is 90 years old.
- 08 September 2010
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Did you know that when Mazda was founded it was called Toyo Cork Kogyo Co, and that it made cork-based products, it wasn’t until 1931 that a little 3 wheeled truck rolled off the production line in Hiroshima?
Mazda in one form or another has been around longer than television, hearing aids, Aerosol sprays and even the Iron Lung, during the 1920’s Henry Ford perfected mass production and thereby managed to sell some 15 million Model-T’s. The illegal bars called “Speak easiest” were big in America along with Al Capone, and in 1927 the world’s first talking pictures were shown to an amazed audience.
In 1945 an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, ending World War II, Mazda donated part of its headquarters to the Hiroshima prefecture to help get over this mass extermination of human life.
In 1958 Mazda introduced the Mazda Romper, a 4-wheel light truck. 1960 Mazda brings out its first 2 door passenger car called the R360 Coupe (not a very catchy name), 1961 Mazda buys the patent for an alternative engine concept invented by German Felix Wankel: this engine uses combustion to spin a flat disc, rather than move a piston up and down, not until 1967 did Mazda develop the Wankel concept into a valid alternative engine and launches its first rotary-engine car, the Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S.
In 1977 the Mazda Familia/323 launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show, in 1979 Ford and Mazda enter into, what Mazda call, a capital tie up.
In 1980 Mazda launches front-wheel drive (FWD) Familia/323 in 1980. It wins Japanese Car of the Year and in ’84 Company is officially renamed as Mazda Motor Corporation.
The 90’s brought us the now iconic MX 5 and the first official imported Mazda MX-5s are delivered to private customers in Europe. Mazda 787B No.55 wins the Le Mans 24-Hour Endurance Race claiming the first victory for a Japanese automobile and the rotary engine in ’91.
2002 brought us the Zoom-Zoom message, in the same decade we started to see the Mazda 6, 2004 and the 700,000th MX 5 rolls off the production line in Hiroshima.
In 2008 the Mazda 2 wins car of the year, and we get to see the next generation of the Mazda 3. Launch of Mazda’s unique i-stop system (on Mazda3) that uses the engine’s remaining combustion energy to restart twice as fast as competitor systems in 2009.
Presentation of the Sky Concept, next-generation power trains in 2009 as well with global roll-out starting in 2011 that use 15 to 20% less fuel at the same levels of driving fun Mazda is known for.
Mazda has seen it all, I’ll never forget the desire I had for the 323F as a young man, I always wanted one, and I even had a poster of it on my wall. The RX7 and RX8 are both still cars I’d love to own, I’d even get to say Wankel.
For me the crowning glory of the Mazda range has always been the MX5, no other car goes like it, or drives quite the same. It’s a car that can put a smile on your face every time you turn the key, hard top, soft top; flip up lights it’s had everything. There’s still many of the older models on the road today and tonnes of spare parts, you should have a go in one, even the basic ones are a hoot to drive.
Mazda continue to bring us alternative looking cars to the boring looking Euro-boxes, I mean look at the current line up that Mazda have, somewhere between a Manga cartoon and Transformers, while still being solid and reliable.
Happy Birthday Mazda, lets hope you keep giving us the Zoom-Zoom factor.
For more information on the current line up have a look at www.mazda.ie