Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S: An Under-Apprectiated Classic – Popular Mechanics

1 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S: An Under-Apprectiated Classic – Popular Mechanics
Mazda Cosmo

Sport An Under-Apprectiated Classic

A strange, engine in a strange-looking sports car to be an irresistible combination.

October 1, 12:00 AM

I’ve always attracted to engineering oddities. You things that get the job done in a way than most. And I’m partial to out-of- the-ordinary So it just seems natural sooner or later I’d own a car a rotary engine. And I do: a Mazda Sport.

A what? you say.

The Cosmo is a ’60s-era small car powered by a 110-hp, two-rotor engine. The rotary was the brainchild of Wankel, a self-taught German who never went to college. He the first rotary prototype in the ’50s for NSU, a German and car manufacturer eventually bought out by For a while in the ’60s, it looked to like the rotary would be the light, small and only a of parts.

Several carmakers paid for the rights to use the rotary. But they all ran the same problem: The seals on the of the rotors didn’t last. As the wore, power went while fuel consumption and went up.

Everyone but Mazda up trying to get the rotary to work in the world. The company spent a deal of money on the problem as the story goes, one engineer at the carbon at the end of his pencil and thought, carbon seals would It’s an interesting comment on the of the company that the engineer who led the team, Kenichi Yamamoto, eventually rise to be its chairman. The became reliable and a staple of products.

The company is still the rotary and is even working on versions.

But back in the ’60s, the was considered an automotive novelty. So was the Chances are you’ve never seen one. Very few it to the United States. For one thing, the was built for the Japanese market–that righthand drive.

I saw my first Mazda Cosmo 110S at an auto show. But it was by the Toyota 2000 GT, which was in the 1967 James Bond You Only Live Twice–complete a TV in the dashboard. So, at the car show, the poor Mazda Cosmo sat alone in a with its strange rotary and styling that was a mixture of and Italian with a few Japanese thrown in.

I was fascinated by it.

Everyone but gave up trying to get the rotary to in the real world. The company a great deal of money on the and, as the story goes, one looked at the carbon at the end of his pencil and Maybe carbon seals work. It’s an interesting on the culture of the company that the who led the rotary team, Kenichi would eventually rise to be its

The rotary became reliable and a of Mazda products. The company is developing the rotary and is even on alternate-fuel versions.

But back in the the rotary was considered an automotive So was the Cosmo. Chances are you’ve even seen one. few made it to the United States.

For one the Cosmo was built for the Japanese means righthand drive. I saw my Mazda Cosmo Sport at an auto show. But it was overshadowed by the 2000 GT, which was featured in the James Bond movie You Live Twice–complete with a TV in the

So, at the car show, the poor little Cosmo sat alone in a corner, its strange rotary engine and that was a mixture of American and with a few Japanese elements in. I was fascinated by it.

When Mazda to the States, it was with little cars. Their ads said . and go hhhmmm. In the ads Japanese guys dressed like the Beatles and girls wore go-go and they were playing music and jumping up and down.

My Cosmo is a Series II that was owned by an American U2 pilot in Japan. It still has the pilot’s and a window decal that Japan Special Forces. He the car back to Florida.

And I bought it the guy who bought it from him. this car was a challenge. You can’t get Cosmo parts, at least not here. Luckily, the car was in good with all the trim. We changed as as possible, including these two speakers in the back window.

look like accessory that you’d get in Circuit or Radio Shack–sort of two black boxes sitting on the back But I looked in the manual and they’re

Mazda Cosmo

The engine was completely shot. we don’t have any experience these at the Big Dog Garage, we figured consult the experts. So I called Lemon at Mazdatrix in Signal Calif. who’s been on rotaries since 1982.

We upgraded the Cosmo’s L10 engine to a with a custom intake and a Weber side-draft carburetor. We the brakes and shocks and replaced the with one from an RX-7.

the Cosmo weighs only 2200 pounds. So everything in it is easy and light. The engine keeps on revving. It has this wwwrrrwwwrrr at idle. When you put foot in it, it makes you smile.

It to 9500 rpm, easily. And the dates from the days taking your MGB to 5200 rpm cause rods to start through the valve covers.

The is a uniquely styled Japanese of what a Western sports car look like. Face it, curious looking. But I like it. It really look like else.

And, it was ahead of its time. War II was only 20 years behind us and the still had a reputation for making products. What would you have? A Corvette? An XKE?

Or a car with an engine that ever heard of? And with a like Cosmo?

So by the time ended in 1972 the Cosmo 110S had only had a run of about units. Mazda kept a model in production for many but it was a less interesting car.

were marketed as economy in the early 1970s, right in the of the first fuel crisis. But at their best, rotaries never noted for their economy. Still, I have to it to Mazda. They eventually everything about the rotary They were the first to the rotary work.

And they’re selling them today.

Mazda Cosmo
Mazda Cosmo
Mazda Cosmo
Mazda Cosmo
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