The Mazda Classic Automobile Museum Frey is situated in a college town called Augsburg in the south of Germany. It is nestled in an old tram depot, and caretaker Walter Frey and his sons Joachim and Markus keep track of about 50 classic and running Japanese vehicles.
The museum doesn't only have the history of the rotary engine. It also has almost every significant car Mazda ever made.
These true gems are listed here:
1. The 1960 R360 Coupe (the red cutie) – a cute little vehicle was the first four-wheeled vehicle Mazda sold in Japan! Just under ten feet long, the car was out in the tax-exempt kei car category – bonus! Weighing only 838 pounds made it the lightest car ever produced in the country. In order to keep the weight so low, Mazda used aluminium and magnesium construction on the car. The 356-cc engine made just 16hp!
2. The 1972 Mazda Pathfinder XV-1 (green pick up) – Now known as Myanmar, Burma was the location where the Pathfinder XV-1 was produced. It came as a convertible soft top or an enclosed nine-seater. The XV-1 was bought and used mainly by the police, military and government agencies, but was also popular among everyday civilians. The car was produced from 1970-1973 with a 90hp four-cylinder.
3. The 1974 Mazda Rotary Pickup (yellow tow truck) – yes, you heard right. This car is a two-rotor, dual-rear-wheel Mazda tow truck! Over 16,000 of these pickups were sold between 1973 and 1977 in North America, and also built an impressive fan base of farmers, workers and racers. The off-road version of the car won the Mojave 24 Hour Rally in 1975!
4. The 1975 Mazda RX-3 (yellow coupe) – this 95hp, two-rotor RX-3 was available as a sedan, wagon and coupe. It took more than 100 touring car victories around the world! The car was produced from 1971-1977 with a 1.046-liter displacement. RX-3 was the international name, but Japan knew it as the Mazda Savanna.
5. The 1979 Mazda RX-7 (green coupe) – Over its six-year run, Mazda sold more than half a million first-generation RX-7s. The RX-7 came with a 150,000-km warranty and at times outperformed its Porsche 924 rival. The car won more than 100 races in American IMSA. The model made 105 hp from a 1.046-liter twin-rotor engine.
6. The 1991 Mazda 323 F GT (white coupe) – this model was called the world's first compact, five-door coupe (according to Mazda). It was produced between 1989 and 1994 and featured hidden headlights, 128hp and a top speed of 125mph. The 323 F was sold as the Lantis in Japan, The Astina in Australia and the Allegro in Columbia.
7. The 1992 Autozam AZ-1 (silver gullwing) – this gullwinged AZ-1 kei car debuted at the Tokyo auto show in 1992. The 'Zam had a top speed of 93mph with a mid-placed 657-cc engine making 64hp. Of course, the wind-door design was too expensive for the economic times in Japan. So only 2,392 were sold before production stopped in 1995.
8. The 2003 Mazda MX-5 Coupe (red coupe) – only 200 units of this car were built, making it more of a collector's item after its launch in 2002. The NB-generation coupe had a 1.8-liter four under the hood – good for a top speed of 127 mph and 158hp!
Some more modern models also feature in the museum!
Take a look at these gems in the photos!