Despite its founding in the 1920s, the precursor to Mazda Motor Corporation didn’t embark on the mass production of passenger cars until 1960. Just four years later, the Japanese company unveiled its initial prototype featuring a rotary engine, having secured the rights to manufacture engines designed by NSU’s Wankel. In 1966, Mazda introduced its inaugural rotary-powered vehicle, the Cosmo L10A, which entered production the following year.
Serving as Mazda’s flagship model, the Cosmo featured a twin-rotor engine with a displacement of 982cc and an output of 110bhp, providing the elegant two-seater coupe with a top speed of 185km/h (110mph). Its front suspension employed ‘A’ arms and coil springs, while the rear incorporated a leaf-sprung De Dion axle held in place by trailing arms. The front wheels featured disc brakes, while the rear wheels were equipped with drums. Power was transmitted to the ground through a four-speed manual gearbox. In July 1968, Mazda introduced the L10B version, which was more potent and faster, boasting 128bhp and a top speed of 193km/h, along with an extended wheelbase.
The Cosmo was a limited-edition masterpiece, meticulously crafted at a rate of one car per day. By the time production concluded in 1972, only 343 units of the Cosmo Sport Series 1 had rolled off the assembly line, in contrast to the 1,176 units of the subsequent Series 2 model. In the realm of collectible Japanese automobiles, the Mazda Cosmo stands among the elite, alongside its high-performance counterparts from Toyota and Nissan: the 2000 GT and the Skyline GT-R.