On May 30, 1967, Mazda began its legacy of innovation, bringing to marked it first Wankel rotary engine and first sports car. The rotary was in an engine design that many had tried to build for production, but only Mazda could make it viable – because it had to. In the 1960s the Japanese automotive industry was on the cusp of globalization, Mazda needed to harness a technology that would differentiate it in the marketplace to avoid consolidation. Upon licensing the Wankel rotary in 1961 from German firms NSU and Wankel GmbH, Mazda went to work, with its best and brightest engineers tasked with bringing the technology to market.
With the launch of the Cosmo Sport 110S – Mazda found solutions for the considerable issues that had plagued the rotary, from internal scoring to loss of compression. As lore has it, Yamamoto had used graphite as a lubricant on apex seals after noticing how easily his pencil slid across his sketches. From there, the Cosmo Sport would kick off the legacy of successes, from sales to circuits, with the Cosmo unseating some of the best sports cars of the day.
This particular 1967 Cosmo Sport 1110S L10A (short wheelbase) was one of possibly three 1967 Cosmos that were officially exported to the U.S. This one was registered to Curtiss-Wright Corporation, the North American right-holder of the Wankel rotary engine for aerospace development application research. I subsequently changed hands three more time before coming back “home” to Mazda. The odometer reading is original and correct at a little over 16,000 km.
This car is owned by Mazda North American Operations as part of the Mazda Heritage Collection.