As you might know, we get really excited to find any Japanese car in the high-dollar auction world. The Monterey sale is the Super Bowl for car collectors. Tens of thousands of wealthy individuals descend on Pebble Beach and Carmel for a week-long extravaganza of past, present and future exotics.
This makes the atmosphere fairly competitive even outside the fast-talking auctions. Polish up your current ride and eyeball what might become your next?
A few Datsun roadsters, Skyline’s and Toyota 2000GT’s are the only regular attendees of the oceanfront Cali spectacular — but are joined this year by an exceptionally rare and fantastically important 1971 Mazda Cosmo Sport.
This second-generation Cosmo Sport is the one to have. With larger wheels, power brakes and a bump from 110-hp to 128 ponies, the second-gen Cosmo is a sexy little plaything. Sharing some design cues with the legendary BMW 507, yet in hardtop form. Huge glass openings all around give the Cosmo incredible visibility for striking corner apexes with the world’s best.
Uniquely, this Cosmo Sport featured a twin-rotor Wankel engine design licensed from NSU (one of Audi’s precursor companies.)
As NSU rolled out their single-rotor Wankel to German and Euro buyers around 1967, the tech was widely hailed as the future of sportscars. Ultra light and compact engines of tiny displacement — yet pushing specific outputs that would be respectable 50 years later? Yes, this 984CC engine easily put out over 100-hp per liter. During a time when Europe achieved half that from its engines, and America perhaps a quarter. This power would take a 5.0-liter V8 from GM or Ford to match its 130HP — despite often-boistrous cubic inch and advertised outputs of the day.
The genius of the Cosmo Sport is throughout, but especially under the hood. Leveraging the pecision engineering, innovation and production standards for which Japan is revered today in industrial circles, the Cosmo Sport managed to be an emerging-market supercar no one ever expected.
Part of this precision helped the twin-rotor engine to avoid the NSU Wankel’s fate — exploded on the side of the autobahn from premature engine failure.
Mazda worked on their twin-rotor design throughout the 1950s and 1960s — improving tolerances with all-new engine seals and less friction overall than the NSU Wankel’s single rotor.
Just over 1000 of the second-gen Cosmo’s were made, with none officially imported to the US.
This racing white example is a very fresh arrival for the Monterey 2015 sale. It was fully restored in Japan by master craftsman using mostly new-old-stock parts. A flawless and rust-free example, then, is surely one of the best in the world. It is so pristine, you could eat off that front subframe!
Hopefully galvanized and reinforced more than was possible when originally made, this 1971 Cosmo Sport does have a major ace for its Cali-in-August buyer: the rare factory AC option!
1971 Mazda COSMO Sport
13-15 August 2015
1971 Mazda Cosmo Sport
- Chassis no. L10B-11120
- Engine no. 10A-2079