Santa Monica | Lot 177

1968 Mazda Cosmo Sport

$110,000 - $130,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Santa Monica, California

24 June 2017

  • Mazda’s “halo” car
  • One of fewer than 400 Series I examples
  • Correct houndstooth interior
  • Impressive 7,000 rpm redline
Addendum: Please note that due to California emissions, this car can only be offered to a dealer or out-of-state resident. Please see an Auctions America Car Specialist for more details.

Mazda’s reputation as a sports car builder is scrupulously fortified today, thanks to the MX-5 Miata, the RX-7, and the RX-8, but that was far from the case 50 years ago, when the Japanese automaker defied expectations and displayed a prototype of its otherworldly Cosmo at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show. The Cosmo’s space-race-inspired shape was greatly appreciated by many of those attending. Upon further examination by those interested in the entire package found a highly innovative twin-rotor engine under the hood.

In May 1967, Mazda began selling the world’s first dual-rotor rotary engine car, the Cosmo Sport. The first Cosmo boasted 110 horsepower and a 7,000-rpm redline from less than a liter of displacement (982 cc)—figures that impress even today, let alone nearly 50 years ago. Underneath its sleek, futuristic sheet metal, the Cosmo was more of a petite grand touring coupe than an outright sports car, with its suspension’s progressive-rate springs tuned more for long-distance comfort than aggressive cornering.

The Type 10A engine, equipped with newly developed high-strength carbon-based apex seals, resulted from Mazda’s independent development work and was proven durable and reliable through 1,000 hours of continuous testing. Even after a 100,000 kilometer test drive, it showed only slight wear. The intake system featured a side-port configuration coupled with a two-stage four-barrel carburetor, to keep combustion stable at all speeds. For the ignition system, each rotor was equipped with two spark plugs so that stable combustion could be maintained in cold and hot weather conditions alike, and on both highways and city streets.

Finished in white with a black interior that is highlighted by the correct black and white herringbone seat inserts, the Mazda Cosmo is a right-hand drive platform that matches the rotary engine with a five-speed manual transmission. Additional features are seen with covered headlights, dual fender-mounted rearview mirrors, Clarion AM radio, wood-rimmed steering wheel, plus factory wheel presentation with Dunlop tires fitted. The Cosmo’s futuristic styling and superb driving performance delighted sports car enthusiasts throughout the world when new. The uncommon nature of the Cosmo will give you the opportunity to introduce this respected model to many new audiences.

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