I know the Autocar forum likes a museum blog, so here are a few of the exhibits from the small Mazda collection that is part of the company’s sprawling Hiroshima HQ.
As was mentioned by a recent forum poster, it is possible for the public to gain access to the museum if you happen to find yourself in the city. Although it is pretty small, the tour does include walking over the top of one of Mazda’s production lines. And it’s pretty interesting because Mazda is building MX-5s and 2 superminis on the same line, despite the cars being as different as possible.
The line-up of cars starts with the three-wheel trucks, Mazda making its first vehicle in 1931. The T2000 half truck, half bike hybrid lasted from 1962 until the mid 1970s and had a massive load bay. It struck me that it would be good idea today, especially in crowded mega cities. The turning circle would be pretty handy, if nothing else.
Also looking like a prototype for a future mega city car was the 1960 R360 coupe, Mazda’s first passenger car. Powered by a 16bhp, aircooled, V2 engine it is just 2.98m long and had space for four, typically compact, 1960 passengers.
Mazda also displays three of its four rotary-engined Cosmos models (the third-gen, razor-edged, Cosmo was conspicuous by its absence). Under 1600 of the first, 1967, Cosmo were built. It was powered by a two rotor engine, as was the alarmingly Starsky-and-Hutchesque second-generation Cosmo.