History

 

History (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

There have been four generations of Mazda automobiles which went by the name of Cosmo, although they are not all particularly related. All were GT cars, with the first proving a successful launch for the Mazda Wankel engine and acting as a halo vehicle for the new Mazda brand. Later Cosmos competed in the ultra-high luxury performance market in Japan with the final JC Cosmo (1990-1995) sold as the Eunos Cosmo - Eunos was a luxury sales channel similar to Toyota's Lexus brand.


The first Mazda to wear the Cosmo name (called the Cosmo Sports or 110S) was the first 2-rotor rotary engine powered car. A prototype was introduced at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show, and 60 pre-production Cosmos were produced for dealership testing in 1965. Full production began in May of 1967 and lasted through 1972, though Cosmos were built by hand at a rate of only about one per day.


RACING

In 1968, Mazda went racing with the Cosmo. They selected one of the most grueling tests in Europe to prove the reliability of the rotary engine, the 84-hour Marathon de la Route at the legendary Nürburgring circuit in Germany. Two mostly-stock Cosmos were entered, along with 58 other cars. One major change to the cars' 10A engines was the addition of a novel side- and peripheral-port intake system: A butterfly valve switched from the side to the peripheral port as RPMs increased. The engines were limited to 130 PS to improve durability. The cars ran together in fourth and fifth place for most of the race, but the all-Japanese car was retired with axle damage in the 82nd hour. The other car, driven by Belgians, completed the race in fourth overall. This was to be the only racing outing for the Cosmo - the next Mazda race car would be a Familia Rotary (R100).


SERIES I

The Series I/L10A Cosmo was powered by a 0810 two-rotor engine with 982 cc of displacement and produced about 110 hp (thus the 110 name). It used a Hitachi 4-barrel carburetor and an odd ignition design - two spark plugs per chamber with dual distributors. A 4-speed manual transmission and 14 in wheels were standard. The front independent suspension was A-arm/coil spring design with an anti-roll bar. The rear used a live axle with a de Dion tube, trailing arms, and semi-elliptic leaf springs. Non-powered 10 in disk brakes were found in front with 7.9 in drum brakes in the rear. Performance in the quarter-mile (400 m) was 16.4 s, with a 115 mph (185 km/h) top speed. The price was lower than the Toyota 2000GT at 1.48 million yen (US$4,100).


SERIES II

The Series II/L10B was introduced in July, 1968. It had a more-powerful 128 hp (95 kW)/103 ft·lbf (140 N·m) 0813 engine, power brakes, 15 in wheels and a 5-speed manual transmission. The wheelbase had been expanded by 5.9 in for more room and a better ride. This Cosmo was good for over 120 mph (193 km/h) and could accelerate to cover a quarter mile (400 m) in 15.8 s. Visual changes included a larger grille under the front bumper with two additional vents to each side of this "mouth". Only 1,519 were ever made, and just six were imported into the United States. The price was up a bit to 1.48 million yen (US$4,390). Talk show host Jay Leno owns what is believed to be the only remaining Series II Cosmo in the United States, a 1970 model featured on the Speed Channel series My Classic Car in March, 2006.