The 1971 Mazda Cosmo Sport Series changed the company’s history. Before 1964, Mazda was relatively unknown. But at the Tokyo Motor Show, the little car company debuted a sports car concept that brought the company into the spotlight. With its Italian-inspired lines, the Cosmo set out in a bold new direction for Mazda. The car also featured a rotary style engine, the design for which had been licensed from German engineer Felix Wankel. The design was that of an eccentric rotors which, unlike traditional piston engines, all rotate in the same direction. That rotors’ converted pressure into rotational motion.
The Cosmo began series production in 1967. Outfitted with a 110 horsepower rotary engine as well as a balanced rear-wheel-drive platform, the Cosmo performed beyond expectations at the 84-hour marathon exhibition in Nurburgring. By the next year, the wheelbase for the Cosmo was stretch 38mm for more stable handling. That model also received an upgraded engine that now delivered 128 horsepower that was mated to a five speed manual transmission.
The 1971 Cosmo Sport Series II being offered by Sothebys is a prime example of the car that changed a company’s stars. Coming with the white over a black interior color combination, the car is in excellent condition. Only 94,000 km have been added since the car first rolled off the assembly line. As an entry to any sports car collection, the Cosmo represents an important part of Japanese automotive history.