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Mazda's first rotary sports car


International collectors are showing interest in a rare and fully-restored 1969 Mazda Cosmo 110B Coupe being auctioned in Australia this month.

The elegant coupe, built in the days when Japanese cars were heavily influenced by Italian styling is a lot in the Shannons sale at the Melbourne International Motor Show on Monday, March 12. Mazda made just over 1500 examples of the virtually hand-built Cosmo Series II between 1967 and 1972.

It holds a special place in Japanese automotive history as Mazda’s first true high performance rotary-engined coupe and the forefather of the RX7 and RX8. The first Cosmo launched at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show was the 110S, powered by a twin-rotor engine developing around 110hp and driving through a four-speed gearbox.

The Series II introduced in July 1968 came with a longer wheelbase, a more powerful 130hp engine and five-speed gearbox and was a serious performance car, capable of 190km/h and covering the standing 400 metres in around 15.8 seconds.

With adjustable bucket seats, full instrumentation and Nardi-type steering wheel, the interior of the Cosmo was designed to appeal to the serious driver and Mazda was so proud of its sporting credentials that it raced one in the 1968 Marathon de la Route at the Nurburgring in Germany.

Today, the Cosmo has a huge following around the world and examples form part of some major collections, including that of TV talk show host Jay Leno. Along with the Toyota 2000GT, the Cosmo 110 is one of the most sought-after Japanese cars of the 1960s. Delivered new in Japan, the late series Cosmo 110B being auctioned by Shannons has undergone a recent ground-up body and mechanical restoration. It is presented in its original colour scheme of white paintwork with black houndstooth trim and comes with an owner’s manual (in English).

Because of its collectability and rarity, Shannons expect the Cosmo to sell for between $Au96,000 and $Au116,000. n

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