Mazda is 100 years old this year. Happy birthday, Mazda! However, Mazda made its first car in 1960. Eh? Stand by for some TopGear.com historical sleuthing.
See, Mazda’s genesis starts way back in 1920 making… cork. Yep. Industrial uses for cork.
In fact, it wasn’t even called Mazda then. The company was called Toyo Kogyo. Its first crack at a vehicle came along in 1931, when it created a tuk-tuk-style trike pick-up thing called the Mazda-Go.
As the company was based in Hiroshima, it was flattened in the Second World War, though not before producing guns for the Japanese Imperial Army.
You had to wait until the year 1960 for Mazda proper to build its first car, and appropriately enough for the Japanese market, it was a dinky little kei-car.
The Mazda R360 was an adorable two-door, four-seater (just) coupe with a 360cc two-cylinder 16hp engine in the boot.
Available with a 4spd manual or, get this, a 2spd auto gearbox, the R360 had a top speed of 84km/h and it was a smash-hit success. Without it, the Mazda we know and love today would never have existed.
Just think – a world with no MX-5…
So, while Mazda hasn’t been producing cars for 100 years, that’s too big’n’round a number not to spawn a set of limited editions. And so, here we go, with Mazda’s 100 Years Anniversary collection.
It’s not just limited to the MX-5 too. Every model in the Mazda range is getting the treatment.
And what is ‘the treatment’? Well, the centenary models get white paintwork, burgundy interiors, and 100th Anniversary logos on the wheels and headrests.
If you pick an MX-5, or, weirdly, a CX-30, you also get a red roof.
Still, want to team your love of Mazdas with 100 years since your favourite cork manufacturer went into business? Here’s your next car, folks. Thank us later.
STORY Ollie Kew