One of the models that has secured this status in this factory is the elegant sedan Mazda 1500. During the 60s, Japan continued to heal its wounds sustained in World War II, however, despite the enormous losses and devastation, the post-war years brought a huge economic and industrial boom to the country. One of the most promising branches of the industry was the production of automobiles, which, although seriously started in the 50s, a year later, already claimed to be the largest and most profitable. The first cars made after the war in Japan were either copies under British licenses or micro models from domestic manufacturers and from this perspective, they seem very funny and deminitive. However, such miniature models not only matched the size and dimensions of the average Japanese, but also their purchasing power, while wealthier individuals could afford some of the European models, but with a Japanese name. However, as early as the early 60s, the Japanese industry matured and began to export.
Of course, the first export markets were close to Asian countries, but the plans of the factory bosses were immediately known…. Europe and America. Mazda was one of many Japanese car companies in the early 60s. Although the resumption of production and supply formation was very difficult for its domestic competition, Mazda was even more difficult, primarily because this factory was from Hiroshima, a famous industrial center, razed to the ground by an atomic bomb dropped from an American bomber in spring 1945. Therefore, if even one factory can be said to be a Fenix rising from the ashes, in Mazda's case, it is a direct and literal comparison… However, known in the domestic and Asian markets, Mazda did not have an adequate model for breaking through Over the ocean. Realizing that mechanics is not a problem, nor quality, Mazda experts went to Europe, looking for the third part of the puzzle, design.
If, in the 60s, you wanted to hire a design bureau to design, develop and design a car for you, there was only one place you had to go, and that was Italy. At that time packed with body shops, design bureaus that were more or less internationally known, Italy was (and remains) home to good design and automotive elegance. This is exactly how the Mazda delegation resonated when, in 1962, in Bertone, it signed a contract for the development of a family sedan, knowing that the shape it would receive could by no means be ugly. According to the agreement, the Italian designers, led by the young Giorgiet Giurgiar, who was then employed by Bertone, were given considerable time, for which Mazda's engineers in Japan were preparing the mechanics and construction of the new model.
The Tokyo Salon in 1966 was home to many domestic (and sometimes foreign) premieres, but from the sea of new forms, one stood out, especially beautiful and elegant, which astonished not only domestic visitors but also a small number of European journalists. It was the Mazda 1500 or as it was called in Japan (and some other markets), the Mazda Luce. Beneath the new, modern and harmonious body lines, a completely new mechanic was hiding, entirely the work of Mazda engineers. Under the hood was a longitudinally mounted in-line four-cylinder, with one camshaft in the head, volume 1.5 liters with 82 hp. Power was transmitted to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. The Mazda 1500 was designed to fill the gap between small Mazda models and large luxury sedans with six-cylinder engines. If we wanted to compare the 1500 with some of today's models, then we could comfortably say that the current Mazda 6 is a distant descendant…
Knowing that they have a potential bestseller in their hands, Mazda entered the European and American markets with great expectations. The main advantages were unmatched quality (a common feature of many early Japanese cars), beautiful design and lower price than the competition. In addition, every Mazda 1500 is distinguished by a high degree of comfort and usability. Buyers in America acknowledged the design and construction qualities, but resented the weak aggregate, so in 1967, the model 1800 arrived with a stronger engine up to 104 hp. On the other hand, customers on the "old continent" received the new model very well, recognizing all the qualities in the right way. Of course, knowing the traditionalism of buyers in this part of the world, Mazda could not have seriously compromised the sales of some established brands even though it was clearly a better car. Still, the placement was satisfactory and thanks to this car, Mazda was discussed on European soil in superlatives.
However, the market in which Mazda had the most success was the Australian, to which the bulk of the export versions went. In the late 60s, the Mazda 1500 was welcomed as an established model around the world, yet evolution did not end there. Specifically, for European and Australian buyers, the version of the 1500 SS with two carburettors and sporting details, which had about 90 hp, was introduced, as well as a station wagon that increased the level of practicality. Still, the most interesting premiere was the coupe version, called the Mazda Luce Coupe. In design, there was no doubt about the origin as the coupe upgraded the sleek sedan lines and refined them. However, the most interesting thing was under the hood and it was a 1.3 liter Wankel engine with a whopping 126 hp. This was not Mazda's first Wankel model, as this Japanese manufacturer was one of the pioneers of the rotary piston engine and Mazda Wankel had its premiere in the 110 Cosmo Sport. Yet, while revolutionary, powerful and beautiful, the Mazda Luce Coupe did not receive the support of a wider audience and was made in small numbers and turned off when other models, 1972.
In the early 70's, the Mazda 1500 was greeted as a successful but already outdated model. The sleek lines from the mid-60s have already started to show wrinkles in front of the challengers from the 70s, so Mazda wisely decided to withdraw the model after over 120,000 copies were made. Today, the Mazda 1500 is a recognized car, but without a great price. It is interesting to mention that a large number of copies made still travel the world, which is the best proof of the quality associated with these cars, and if you like the combination of Italian design and Japanese mechanics, it should be mentioned that these cars were (and still are) ) and on our roads and that the Mazda 1500, along with the Toyota Corolla, was one of the best-selling Japanese on the SFRY market. Therefore, all we can recommend to you is to find the best possible copy and enjoy the carefree kilometers with the Japanese beauty who speaks Italian….
Author: 426 Hemi
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