1969 Mazda Cosmo
2-cyl. 982cc/128hp Rotary 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
In the mid-1960s, Mazda was eager to capitalize on the considerable research and effort they invested into making the Wankel rotary a viable engine for a production car. The result was the Mazda Cosmo 110, which was born in 1965. This futuristic looking steel-bodied coupe boasted a front-mounted two-rotor Wankel type rotary engine of 982 with a four-barrel carburetor that revved to a fantastic 9,500 rpm and created 110 horsepower (thus the name). Power was pushed through a four-speed gearbox and a 2,200-pound curb weight ensured entertaining performance enhanced by independent suspension with disc brakes up front and a De Dion axle with drums in the rear.
Very limited production saw 343 examples built from May 1967 to July 1968 at which point the series II model appeared. Improvements included a new five-speed gearbox, 15-inch wheels, a 6-inch wheelbase stretch that improved ride comfort. Power was also bump up to 128, which allowed for a 120+ mph top speed. Total production for series II cars through 1972 was 1,176 examples.
It has taken a long time for these groundbreaking cars to have their day in the sun in the eyes of collectors, but with only 1,519 built, single-digit rarity in the U.S. and boundary-redefining engine technology, it was only a matter of time.