Monday 10 April 2017

Mazda Cosmo 21

Back in 2002 Mazda presented a curious concept car at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Alongside the Roadster RS Coupe sat the Cosmo 21. This concept was to be a 21st Century interpretation of the original hand-built rotary powered Cosmo (also known as the 110S) from 1967.

The car was created by Mazda subsidiary M'zIF and was based on the second generation Roadster. Significant alterations were made to the Roadster's hardtop-equipped body to give it that classic elongated streamline look. There are many little styling details on the car that pay homage to the original, such as the chrome door handles, front wing vents, and the wing mounted rear view mirrors. The Cosmo 21 name badges are also placed in the same positions as on the original.

Back in the 60s futuristic space age styling was pretty popular and this was reflected in the original Cosmo's design, including in its name. The iconic rocket booster tail lights are reimagined on the concept car using LED illumination. The front end gets enclosed headlights and a reshaped grille though it doesn't have the same chrome bumper trim as the original. A set of retro styled alloy wheels completes the exterior look.

The MX-5's engine was replaced with an early version of the RX-8's Renesis rotary unit producing 250PS. The MX-5 interior was given a cosmic makeover with a shiny silver and black colour theme and plenty of quilted fabric. The unique seats feature the same fabric pattern used in the original and there is a revised instrument cluster with repositioned gauges.

Mazda were not alone in trying to recapture some retro cool. The Cosmo 21 concept appeared around the same time Volkswagen were selling the New Beetle, BMW were launching the New Mini, and Fiat were developing the new 500 model. Those models went on to become very popular but Mazda's car remained purely a concept.

I was lucky enough to get behind the wheel of an original Cosmo at an MX-5 RF event, easily one of my favourite cars..

You can see a little more of the original Cosmo in this video from Jay Leno's Garage:

And this from Mazda UK: