Rotary madness! Mazda Cosmo, RX and more to star at Japanese Classic Car Show

Mazda MX-5 at Japanese Classic Car Show

Long Beach staple returns this weekend

Mazda will set up shop at the 11th annual Japanese Classic Car Show this Saturday, Sept. 19, in Long Beach, Calif. The company will bring five vintage cars, along with the new MX-5 Miata and the crossover CX-3. Mazda says it will be celebrating its heritage at the show with “Jinba Ittai” as its theme. That translates to “horse and rider as one,” and we guess that’s a fairly apt way of describing what it’s like to drive a Miata.

Mazda Cosmo Sport

Rotary-powered classics like the 1967 Cosmo Sport 110S will join (and almost certainly overshadow) the new cars. The Cosmo is one of just three examples brought to the U.S. by Curtiss-Wright for aviation research for rotary engines. It is one of two of these cars still known to exist.

A 1972 RX-2, raced by Patrick Bedard and Don Sherman in the 1970s, brought Mazda glory with the company’s first two wins on North American soil.

Mazda 323 GTX

The stubby (and non-rotary) 1988 323 GTX will also make an appearance. The hatch weighs in at about 2,600 pounds and features a turbocharged 1.6-liter making 132 hp from the factory. All-wheel drive and a five-speed manual came standard in all GTXs sold in the U.S.

It wouldn’t be a Mazda event without a classic MX-5 in the mix. For this show, the company is bringing the first model from 1990. It’s one of the three original red, white and blue models from the launch.

Finally, one of our favorites, the RX-7 Spirit R. Mazda built about 1,500 Spirit Rs for its domestic market after sales ended in the U.S. in 1995. Exactly one was produced with a left-hand-drive setup, with help from longtime program manager Takaharu Kobayakawa.

1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda notes that its presence at the show is also about giving back with “Drive for Good,” a program that donates money and service hours to charities around the U.S. Mazda says this year is has allocated $4.9 million and 66,000 service hours.

Go to japaneseclassiccarshow.com for more information and huge galleries of past shows.

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