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1967 Mazda RX 87 Concept

However, in the practice of the global auto industry, there were also exceptions to the unspoken rules. Often, versions of cars with a coupe body, "spun off" from the base models, have a large percentage of unification of the main components and assemblies. More rarely, two-door variations get a unique, expressive appearance combined with a special line of installed engines. It also happened that the general similarity of the exteriors of the coupe and sedan was fraught with fundamental differences in the layout, along with an innovative aggregate part.

In October 1967, The Mazda RX-87 two-door coupe concept was unveiled at the 14th Tokyo Motor Show. In the novelty design, the features of the Mazda Luce 1500 by Bertone were guessed, but factory specialists redesigned the general style. A distinctive feature of the model was a solid radiator grill that covered four round headlights. But the car was interesting not only for its memorable appearance but from the technical component did not lag. Without exaggeration, we can say that the Mazda RX-87 has become a stronghold of avant-garde solutions of the time. These included a torsion bar suspension of the front wheels, a two-section Wankel rotary piston engine, and, most importantly, the rejection of the classic layout in favor of front-wheel drive. The latter was clearly inspired by the 1967 European Car of the Year, the ambitious and progressive NSU Ro-80.

Two years later, the public saw the serial Mazda Luce Rotary Coupe. It was distinguished from prototypes by a more traditional design of the radiator lining, other rear lights, a unique interior, solid door glass without triangular vents, and larger tires. The sidewalls of the body were decorated with "RX-87" emblems. Thus, the company emphasized the connection of the new model with the previously known concept. Under the elongated hood, a 13A rotary piston engine was hidden, giving out 126 hp "uphill." This made it possible to reach a maximum speed of 190 km / h with a curb weight of 1255 kg. For an additional fee, buyers were offered a wide range of options: power steering, power windows, air conditioning, a stereo system, and exterior leather roof trim.

Despite the spectacular appearance and outstanding technical characteristics, the Luce Rotary Coupe did not happen to become a mass model. During the three years of production, only 976 copies were collected. Such a small volume was due to technological difficulties and, as a result, the high cost of finished products. Naturally, out of the incomplete thousand cars produced, only a few have survived. These circumstances made the Mazda Luce Rotary Coupe an unrealizable dream for motorists of the 60s/70s and for current admirers of the brand's history.


Image: Mazda Motor Corporation