Yesterday’s piece on Mazda’s “upmarket” move (really, a pledge to improve the quality of their cars) dredged up the name “Amati”, as these discussions are wont to do. The legend of Amati has persisted for years, partly due to the fact that so little is known about the project.
Later on in the day, I recieved a note from reader “Blue Maus”, who was an exec at one of the larger foreign OEMs, but left the industry some years ago. Since Blue Maus is known to us personally, and has a whole library of stories akin to “The Autobiography of BS”, we have no reason to doubt the veracity of his claim
When I was at [redacted] they had a catalog (note: a catalog car is a somewhere between a hand-built prototype and a true pre-production car – DK) Amati that Mazda had lent them. I went out in it with a bunch of marketing guys. It was a beautiful car to look at but it inexplicably had a tiny trunk that made no sense in a car of that class. There was a rumor going around that Mazda had copied the design from Jaguar. Don’t know if there was any substance to that. It was Grey. I remember it had a quite nicely put together leather interior – I think it was a two-tone grey dashboard with black or grey leather seats and I think it had some walnut trim around the shifter. Driving experience was OK nothing memorable. The trunk sticks in my mind.
Believe it or not, this kind of horse trading is common amongst the OEMs. But catalog cars, lacking any sort of VIN number, are inevitably sent to the crusher, unless someone decides to send them off to a warehouse.