By on April 3, 2020


While buying a new car has recently fallen in popularity in the Western world, taking a backseat to things like experimenting with rice in the kitchen, watching your neighbor’s dog through a sealed window, and repairing that antique pencil sharpener you bought 8 years ago, the business of selling cars continues.

In Japan, where social distancing measures (and the coronavirus itself) have thus far proven not as severe as in the U.S., there’s a lineup of special editions incoming from Mazda. U.S. customers, however, will have to wait in their homes for updates.

Mazda Motor Corporation blew out the candles on its 100th birthday cake back in the happier month of January, spawning a range of 100th Anniversary Special Edition models revealed Friday. Upper-level trims all, the models were developed “with an aspiration to look ahead, while also remembering and respecting the rich Japanese heritage that has guided the brand,” Mazda claims.

They were also developed with an eye on a particular car: the tiny R360 Coupe, a two-cylinder vehicle that bowed in 1960 with 16 raging horses under hood (that hood being where one would normally find a trunk). Modest in size and output, the R360 was the company’s first true passenger car.


As such, elements of the R360 appear on the 100th Anniversary vehicles — a group that seems to span the entire gamut of Mazda’s range. Among the additions are Snowflake White Pearl Mica paint and red accents that recall the R360’s original two-tone paint scheme. On the front fender of each ride, you’ll find a “100 Years 1920 – 2020” badge, while the wheel center caps carry the red-and-black anniversary logo.

Inside, both seats and carpet come in Mazda’s favorite color (red), contrasting nicely with the black dash, console, and doors. Headrests, floormats, and even the key fob carry the anniversary logo.

As for pricing or a timeline on when customers can get their hands on one, Mazda was tight-lipped. The automaker issued a disclaimer stating, “In the midst of the global crisis, U.S. availability of the 100th Anniversary Special Edition models has not been announced.”

[Images: Mazda]

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16 Comments on “Happy Hundredth: Mazda Rolls Out Commemorative Models...”

  • avatar

    1960 was 60 years ago, not 100 years ago.

    Mazda’s first vehicle was produced in 1931, 89 years ago (much closer to “100”).

    Put an open bed on the Anniversary models, à la Mazda-Go, and then we’ll talk.

    • 0 avatar

      Per Wikipedia

      Mazda began as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd, founded in Hiroshima, Japan, 30 January 1920.

    • 0 avatar

      They were selling rickshaws in 1920, though not under the Mazda name. Though Hudson began in 1909 and Nash in 1916, American Motors dated it’s origin to the Jeffrey company in Kenosha in 1902.

      Ford honestly dates its origin to Henry Ford’s third company in 1903. His first company, Detroit Automobile Company, dates to 1899 and was dissolved. His second, The Henry Ford Company, dates to 1901, and was reorganized by bankers when he walked out and it was renamed Cadillac.

      The mastermind of the reorganization, Henry Leland, later started the Lincoln Motor Company and ran into financial trouble. Henry Ford bought it and took it over, maybe as some sort of payback.

      In short, cut Mazda some slack. Companies do this all the time. Even Studebaker had its 100 year anniversary in 1952, though Studebaker Brothers wasn’t incorporated until 1868, and made horse-drawn wagons until 1902. Their one horse power buckboards were among the original pickup trucks.

      • 0 avatar

        @Lorenzo and Toolguy, you guys are pretty smart about this stuff and I really appreciate your input.

      • 0 avatar

        Lorenzo, good info, thanks.

        More background:

        “Ahura Mazda, the god of harmony, intelligence and wisdom”…
        Pretty sure this role has been taken over in 2020 by JimZ?

        Ford’s companies:
        • DAC – dissolved
        • HFC/Cadillac – dissolution in process (but slowly)
        • FMC – TBD

        Peak Mazda logo was the “1936-1959” version (second one down).

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I hope Mazda USA can come up with something better. While it may seem like a significant milestone to Japanese Mazda enthusiasts, it’s a big nothingburger, with no cheese, in USA.

  • avatar

    The color scheme would be kinda cool on a Miata, a 6, or a CX-5.

  • avatar

    I am sure, their first models had a manual transmission. So, these are fake

  • avatar

    I bought ‘94 Miata new off a dealer lot (still have it) but I ALMOST bought a ‘93 special edition with black paint and hardtop and blood red leather interior. It was pricey and I waited a year to get the bigger engine. As over the top as it was, I really liked the red interior and black paint combo. I’ll take one like that!

  • avatar

    I like how they combined their corporate badge from the 1920s (back when they made corks and machining equipments) with their current ones for this.

    The red (or burgandy) and white two-tone leather interior is neat too, especially the Mazda3 and MX-30.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Just give us an honest to God Miata Coupe that we’ve been asking for for the last 30 years of the company’s existence and slap some anniversary badges on it. Win.

  • avatar

    I have a feeling that Mazda will be eventually owned by Toyota, like most other Japanese automakers. I hope it does not end up in hands of Nissan.

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