Monday, August 17, 2009

Mazda Roadpacer: Worst Idea Ever

Rotary engines have a polarizing effect. You either love them or hate them. When stuffed into a Holden land barge weighing close to 2 tons, the verdict was unanimous.

Holden Premiers were shipped to Mazda in Japan, sans engine, from 1975 to 1977.

Someone thought that it would be a good idea to stick a 13B Wankel engine into the 3,500 pound car.

The 1.3 liter rotary engine could only muster a feeble 101 lb-ft of torque. The car was molasses slow and got 9 miles to the gallon.

The car was aimed at Japanese government ministers and captains of industry. A Zoom-Zoom version of the Toyota Century or Nissan President, if you will. It included such futuristic gadgets as a chime that sounded when the car exceeded 90 clicks per hour and a dictation machine. With an MSRP of $10,000, only about 800 were sold. The rest were crushed.

Future Concours d'Lemons winner

Photo credit: Lu-Gu

1 comment:

DMRH said...

It seemed like a good idea at the time as Mazda had traded pollution control info to GM-USA in a non monetary deal to avoid Wankel licencing issues.

Thus the whole "Roadpacer program" was cheap for Mazda as development was less than half a regular car.