We were talking about the innovative Wankel rotary piston engine: the Germans installed it on the roadster. The model suffered a crushing failure, and as a result the enterprise crumbled. We agree: the unfortunate Spider convertible became the last “ingredient” in the vinaigrette of the company’s problems. But, one way or another, NSU lost its independence, becoming part of Audi.
Who wants a palm branch?
What is all the fuss about? Having taken the Mazda Cosmo for review, we find in various sources that this is supposedly the first production model in the history of mechanical engineering with RPD. What about NSU Spider? We thought it necessary to figure it out.
Mazda Cosmo RX-7 1976-1978. Photo: YouTube.com
Let's turn to history. Dr. Felix Wankel and Walter Freude completed the work and tested a new type of internal combustion engine in 1957. Since outstanding engineers were associated with the NSU company, it is logical to assume that the motor will be tested in action at this plant. Which is exactly what happened.
Let's trace the chronology. Mazda, with government approval, bought the license for the rotor in 1961. Both companies, German and Japanese, presented concepts with progressive engines at the 1964 auto shows. Only the Frankfurt exhibition, where the Spider was shown, took place earlier. And immediately after the event, the conveyors started working and sales of the convertible began.
The Japanese demonstrated “Cosmo” at the Tokyo show later, a month before the 1964 Summer Olympics. But production began only in 1967. The mass production was preceded by 80 pre-production units for Mazda testing departments (20 units) and testing by dealers (60 cars).
By the time Cosmo was released, the Spider roadster had already been discredited by users and discontinued. So, the palm branch rightfully belongs to the Germans.
1986, Mazda Cosmo HB series with 12A engine. Photo: YouTube.com
However, being the soft-hearted ones we are, we're willing to pluck another twig from the tree and hand it over to Mazda. Completely inspired by the wonderful Cosmo model, we leave the palm tree in an unpresentable state without regret. Nonsense: a whole bunch of these leaves will grow.
Having understood leadership, we wondered, does it matter? That first one, this second one... And if we say that it was not the Soviet cosmonaut who was the first to go into space, but the American one?..
"Mazda Cosmo": the beginning of the journey
Mazda, founded in 1920, produced its first passenger car in 1960. I joined the car race with Toyota, Nissan and Honda late. But she immediately took revenge, coming out with a new product - an outlandish rotary piston engine.
A desperate step. For your determination, you don’t feel sorry for not only the stem, but also the coconut from that palm tree. Moreover, things went well: the enterprise’s research department improved the “raw” unit. The Japanese managed to eliminate the main drawback of rotors - rapid wear. Instead of unevenly abraded 3-layer gaskets at the rotor apexes, Mazda engineers installed a single-layer element.
1990 Mazda Cosmo Eunos three-rotor engine. Photo: YouTube.com
In addition, the developers increased the engine capacity – 982 cm3 versus German 498 cm3. They also added peripheral side intake ports, increasing the number of revolutions. The result is a powerful and reliable thing.
The company acted wisely with the model. First of all, they gave him the correct name. Humanity was mastering the Universe: the name Cosmo came at the time.
Secondly, the car was made in a sports version. This attracted a young audience. The next step was to test the strength of the car on the steepest European track - the Nurburgring loops.
Inside the Mazda Yunos showroom. Photo: YouTube.com
The year was 1968. The factory entered two already stock cars into the grueling 84-hour circuit race. Out of 58 cars, ours were fifth or sixth. At the 82nd hour, one Cosmo, controlled by a Japanese pilot, left the race.
The reason is a broken rear axle. The engine survived. The company's second coconut, although the Belgian drove the car to the finish line fifth.
Review of the Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S sports car (1967-1972)
Let us nevertheless note the Japanese cunning in the choice of RPD. The manufacturer's intention was to provide tax discounts for cars with a volume of less than 1,5 liters. The power is high, the displacement is low, the price is $4100 – it’s hard for buyers to resist.
The official brochure distributed by the manufacturer stated:
Based on the size, weight and cost of the rotary engine, the 110S accelerates and moves faster than any other car on the planet.
The elegant rotary “space” made everyone talk about itself: the 2-seater coupe was made in the best traditions of the Italian and English schools. Compared to the long hood and trunk, the interior seemed miniature.
Series I machine dimensions:
✅ Length - 4140 mm
✅ Width - 1595 mm
✅ Height - 1165 mm
✅ Between axles – 2200 mm
✅ Wheels – 14 inches
✅ Weight - 940 kg
Claimed Wankel volume (982 cm3) consisted of two rotor sections. The engine was coded 0810. Maximum power of 110 km/h was achieved at 7,0 thousand rpm. The limit, however, was 8,0 thousand rpm. The speed was 185 km/h, acceleration to 10,2 km/h was XNUMX seconds.
The original first generation Mazda Cosmo Sport, rear view. Photo: YouTube.com
In the standard version, the engine was equipped with a 4-speed manual transmission. The suspension was sporty: front independent spring-link with anti-roll bar. The rear dependent suspension mechanism included a rigid De Dion axle with leaf springs.
The braking system consisted of discs at the front and drums at the rear. The engine was traditionally located under the hood, the drive went to the rear axle.
In the first generation there was also a 128-horsepower Series II with a wheelbase increased by 381 mm. The 0813 power plant operated here, allowing it to reach 193 km/h.
Next generations of Mazda Cosmo
Then, until 1996, successive incarnations of the improved Cosmo followed. The auto world knew them under the names Cosmo AP (Anti-Pollution), Mazda RX-4, RX-5 and Savanna RX-7, Cosmo 1800.
Magnificent Mazda 929 HB series. Photo: YouTube.com
✅ CD series (1975-1981). The second generation was composed of engines 12A and 13B. Powers of 100 and 110 hp were available. With. The car was positioned as a personal vehicle of increased comfort. The fastback body that emerged competed with the Toyota Crown, Nissan Cedric and Gloria. Among the competitors was the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda. 55 thousand fastbacks were sold in the domestic market
✅ HB series (1981-1989). In its third incarnation, the famous Mazda 929 appeared - an object of ardent desire for collectors. This car was truly the first in that it came with a diesel rotary propeller, in addition to gasoline. Company coconut! In export versions, however, a conventional internal combustion engine was installed. The engine range contained 12A-6PI, supercharged 12A and 13B-RESI. All engines used an electronic fuel injection system. Power 135 l. With. was the norm, and a 4-speed automatic was an option
✅ JC Series (1990-1996). And in this generation, the extravagant Cosmo Eunos model, stuffed with cool features, deserves all the wreaths and branches. In the cabin, users were amazed by the analog NTSC color television, radio, and climate control. There was an ELP touch screen that controlled, among other things, a cell phone. The database included a GPS satellite navigation system. Yunos is called Mazda's "most advanced" car. The car carried a 3-rotor engine under the hood. It was the culmination of the development of rotor technology
Mazda Cosmo lived a long life on the assembly line - almost 30 years. The manufacturer wanted to make a loud statement on all continents, and his wish came true. Buying models in Russia is not easy. But we found two advertisements: Mazda Eunos Cosmo, which at one time eclipsed Jaguar, BMW and Mercedes, is trading for 1,5 million rubles.