By on November 27, 2012

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.

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6 Comments on “Ur-Turn: I Drove An Amati...”

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Around the time of the Amati, Mazda sold a model called the 929, which very consciously captured the Jaguar look; and the Millenia did as well.

  • avatar

    The Millenia was sold here (UK) as the Mazda Xedos 9, and was supposed to have been an Amati. They also sold a smaller model called the Mazda Xedos 6 which ran an unusual 2.0 V6, and was to be the 3-series rival in the Amati range.

    pic here

    It was unexpectedly nice – and Jaguar-curvy – in the metal, and had a two-tone dash which was as good as that on any Lexus. Largely forgotten now, but a nice car.

  • avatar

    Didn’t Mazda have a large formal saloon in the 90s akin to a Nissan President or a Toyota Majesta they could’ve transformed into a Lexus competitor here?

  • avatar

    I always thought the name “Amati” was brilliant. Although it was probably intended to signify nothing more than a car brand, it is brilliant in that, according to a popular legend, Amati was the name of the man who taught Stradivarius how to make a violin.
    Oh, the marketing potential!

  • avatar

    I worked for a marketing company that had a long-term relationship with Mazda at the time they were considering launching the Amati brand. I had regular access to the president of their US operations. He said that the name was simply a reordering of the letters in a hugely successful Mazda model of that time-Miata.

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