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Mazda Cosmo Information & History

There have been several Mazda automobiles named Mazda Cosmo. 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 performance GT market in Japan with the Nissan Skyline GT-R. The final Cosmo (1990-1995) was sold as the Eunos Cosmo. The Cosmo name quickly became Mazda's halo name in Japan, and it was applied to many later premium sports cars. It was even briefly applied to the 929 in 1981.

The first Mazda to wear the Cosmo name (called the Cosmo Sport 110S or Cosmo Sports) was the first rotary engine sports car. It was introduced at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show, and 60 preproduction Cosmos were produced for consumer 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.

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 Nrburgring 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).

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).

The Series II/L10B was introduced in July, 1968. It had a more-powerful 128 hp (95 kW)/103 ft.lbf (140 Nm) 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).

The second generation CD Cosmo appeared in 1975 and lasted until 1981. It was known as the Cosmo AP in Japan, and sold internationally as the Mazda RX-5, though in some markets its piston powered counterpart was called the Mazda 121 (a name later applied to Mazda's subcompact model) when not equipped with a rotary engine. Mazda America used the Mazda Cosmo name and offered the car from 1976 through 1978. The CD Cosmo/RX-5 series was a flop internationally as Mazda tried too hard to "Americanize" the car. It was however an enormous success in Japan where over 55,000 where sold in the first year alone. Due to its poor sales as an export, the series-II version from 79-81 was not exported & remained on domestic sale only.

The Cosmo was Mazda's 'large' compact rotary coupe and based on the Mazda RX-4 floorpan and mechanics, but slightly heavier due to body design and more luxurious appointments, including an 5-link rear suspension and rear disc brakes. It was available with the 12A and 13B engines. A piston engine version, the Cosmo 1800, used a 1769cc (80x88mm) straight-4 SOHC engine that produced 100 hp (75 kW) and 110 ft.lbf (149 Nm).

The third generation HB Cosmo from 1982 shared the Mazda HB chassis with its twin, the Mazda Luce. The Cosmo name was available on a coupe, hardtop and sedan body. Its equal Mazda Luce variant was not available in coupe form. The HB Cosmo/Luce was the only car in automotive history to option all three forms of Automotive engine. Piston, Diesel and Rotary. Mazda offered three versions of rotary engine for the HB series. A 12A-SPI, 12A-turbo and 13B-RESI. The latter available with automatic transmission only. The 1982 12A-turbo Cosmo coupe was officially the fastest production car in Japan at one stage. The HB Cosmo was sold with its rotary engine option in Japan only. The Luce variant was replaced in 1986, but the Cosmo soldiered on unchanged until 1989.

A truly modern Eunos Cosmo (based on the 1985 MX-03 concept car) started production in 1990 on the new JC platform. It remains the most powerful rotary-powered vehicle in history, and is the only Mazda to use a triple-rotor engine. The car was a 2+2 coupe and was loaded with power amenities. An automatic transmission was mandatory. Two engines were available, the twin turbo 13B-REW and the 20B-REW. The triple rotor 20B had two liters (1962cc) of displacement, which is quite large for a rotary powerplant. It produced 299 hp (224 kW) and 300 ft.lbf (402 Nm) with twin turbochargers. The Cosmo was manufactured from FEB-90 until SEP-95 for a total of 8875 sales

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from articles at Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia

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