Throwback Thursday: 1968 Mazda 110S first drive (News)

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That was the Cosmo, a diminutive (3ft 8in excessive, to be precise) however handsomely distinctive two-seat sports activities coupé that arrived in prototype type in 1963 however did not go on sale till Could 1967.

Its engine was a twin-rotor unit, with a capability of simply 1964cc, producing 110bhp at 7000rpm and 96lb ft at 3500rpm. This despatched energy to the rear wheels by way of a four-speed guide gearbox and enabled a 0-62mph time of 10.0sec.

Below the title 110S, the automobile turned the primary Mazda to be formally imported to the UK, and with it, Autocar obtained its first expertise of Hiroshima’s best on Eight February 1968.

“This automobile is totally different from something now we have beforehand skilled,” we started. “Trying to find similarities, we thought it had a suggestion of competitors Saab in regards to the really feel of its energy unit and of Porsche in its dealing with.

“The exhaust has a really distinctive sound, with a contact of two-stroke; the engine itself produces a mix of drugs whine and nasal roar. On quick journeys, the collective drone heard contained in the automobile is quite loud even for a GT coupé and after a time turns into tedious, but with gentle throttle and delicate driving, the automobile is unusually quiet.

“There isn’t any lack of pull at decrease speeds, as some engineers anticipated, neither is it tough or uneven when idling. The idling velocity is on the excessive aspect, at 750rpm, however completely {smooth} and unobtrusive when standing in visitors. We had been shocked to seek out that the automobile will draw back at underneath 1000rpm in prime gear – very slowly at first however with out protest. Nobody would ask it to do that besides to show the purpose and, in truth, it prefers to be pushed exhausting with revs properly up. On the prime finish, this very responsive, free-revving unit has a standard restrict of 7000rpm.

“We’ve got identified 2.0-litre six-cylinder piston engines as {smooth}, however solely within the 2000-5000rpm vary.

“This Wankel proved to be a very good chilly starter and it warmed up unusually shortly to 80-85C. It runs fortunately on the bottom grade, two-star gas, so that is some compensation for the pretty heavy gas consumption, which reached solely 20mpg on gently pushed journeys. Peculiar metropolis driving gave us a mean of 18.5mpg.”

So, the engine was successful. As for the opposite key ingredient of a sports activities automobile: “‘Handles like a Porsche’, we mentioned – however solely to some extent. Fast, exact steering, with a weight bias in favour of the rear wheels, are half of it. Then the rear-end adhesion is spectacular, particularly on moist roads. The automobile goes simply the place you level it, with momentary understeer at first, which is presumably not more than distortion of the radial entrance tyres on the unusually low pressures really useful.

“Utilizing energy within the regular approach by way of a nook, it is a impartial steerer. For those who yank the steering wheel over and pour on a number of energy, the rear wheels might lastly condescend to slip, with the within one making an attempt to not elevate. This agreeable again finish has the weird suspension mixture of de Dion structure with leaf springs.

“Sports activities and GT automobiles historically have agency suspensions; the Mazda is sort of softly sprung for its class and its journey is especially comfy, however second-rate highway surfaces trigger an excessive amount of bounce. There’s some vertical jogging, additionally a good quantity of thumping over joints and ruts. We will reserve our ultimate judgement on these impressions till we attempt a a lot newer automobile, as a result of there have been indicators that the dampers had been almost worn out. We took the 110S over the check pavé at MIRA, which it suffered unexpectedly properly with none bottoming on the bump stops or hopping about on the again. It was not so glad on the washboard however confirmed its physique to be inflexible and fairly free from shakes and rattles. It appeared to iron out the ridges finest at about 30mph.

“On corners, the automobile scarcely leans in any respect, and for the reason that seats are properly formed and upholstered, the occupants don’t get thrown about.”

The 110S was additionally spectacular inside, the place “an adjustable steering column and smooth-sliding seat with reclinable backrests mix to assist all sizes of driver to get comfy”. All of Autocar’s testers discovered these to be “jolly good”, apparently, and whereas the automobile was “decrease than footage recommend. the clap-hands, overlapping wipers sweep an enormous space clear, so, apart from the rear quarters, look-out is superb all spherical”.

We continued: “The automobile weighs 958kg – down on the decrease finish for its class, with the Lotus Elan +2. This clearly helps in direction of a distinctly vigorous efficiency. Two of our drivers achieved a constant 17.7sec for the standing quarter mile and 10.0sec for 0-60mph. The Mazda gave the impression to be unfussed by a greater than common tousing, refused to spin its wheels aside from momentarily, even on a moist monitor.

“Regular most velocity is about 112mph. We are saying ‘regular’ as a result of with an engine of this sort, the rpm might slowly construct up mile by mile on an autoroute and the automobile ultimately maintain maybe 120mph. When accelerating exhausting in second and third gears, it’s all too simple to sail previous 7000rpm with out noticing it; 7500rpm tops 60mph in second and 90mph in third.

“A stubby little gearlever with brief, exact actions sits a hand-span from the steering wheel rim. It is nice and simple to flick the gears by way of. 

“A non-standard function of the check automobile is its brakes. They’re designed for a servo, however none has but been fitted. That is remedied on automobiles on the market. Within the meantime, the driving force has to push extra-hard, however the outcomes are superb. Once more, the wet-road adhesion is properly above common. The rearward weight bias permits the rear wheels to do a bigger share of the work.”

Mazda was a brand new model within the UK, and its worth of £2606 (equal to round £43,000 at the moment) contributed to it being a really small vendor. In actual fact, Mazda accomplished a complete of simply 1176 Cosmos over six years. It was a very good factor, subsequently, that “the 110S comes totally outfitted, even to the self-seeker Clarion radio with twin audio system and electrically extending aerial”.

As for the inside design: “The facia and offset instrument panel are rounded and properly padded; we favored the swap and dial structure. Black moulded and sewn PVC, properly fitted, covers virtually all the pieces besides the ground and the central strips of the seat coverings. This didn’t all over the place match the mechanical high quality of the automobile and was turning into a bit shabby in components. The carpets had been an actual mess, worn by way of in locations.

“We didn’t reach mastering the heating system, thoughts you, it being “apparently of the fry or freeze form”.

For its class, the Mazda has “a big however quite shallow boot”, we mentioned. “As well as, behind the seats, there’s a low platform with straps to carry one or two extra baggage.”

Following such a constructive drive, Autocar’s writers noticed potential of the Wankel engine, and certainly for Mazda itself on these shores. “This Mazda impressed us very a lot,” we eulogised. “It has a couple of shortcomings, however the mechanical aspect is much better than we had dared to hope. Some British and American designers might stay to remorse their disinterest in and neglect of the Wankel unit, which already has a lot driver enchantment.”

“The 110S is costly for British consumers, doesn’t have the most recent in sports activities automobile styling and is aimed toward a restricted minimize of the market, so we might not see very a lot of them. But if Mazda, who have already got sunk some £three million in Wankel improvement, may design this automobile 5 years in the past, what should we anticipate of the brand new front-wheel-drive RX87 [the Luce saloon] and others to observe?”

Properly, a minimum of we acquired one half proper; whereas the RX-Eight took the Wankel engine out of manufacturing in 2012, it by no means having managed to problem its conventional counterparts, Mazda has discovered nice success and admiration – maybe most notably due to a automobile greater than slightly harking back to the 110S.

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