Throwback Thursday: The 1996 Mazdaspeed MS-007

Mazdaspeed Ms007 Concept Front Three Quarters

Today is not Thursday. This day, the day before Friday, is now Throwback Thursday, as dictated by the social media powers that be. I typically don’t recognize this new day and prefer good ol’, trusty Thursday but this morning, as I sipped coffee and sifted through old photo slides in need of sorting—a far more fitting way to start off Throwback Thursday than sharing pics from a spring break trip to Cancun, I feel—I came across this, the Mazdaspeed MS-007.

Mazdaspeed Ms007 Concept Rear Three Quarters

I almost tossed it aside, thinking I’d come across yet another slide of a Lotus 7, the obvious inspiration for this front-engine, rear-wheel-drive two-seater that made its public debut in 1996. The MS-007 had the naturally aspirated 1.8-liter inline-four engine and 5-speed manual transmission from the Mazda MX-5 Miata of its day, and bug-eye headlights were molded into the yellow car’s fiberglass-reinforced plastic monocoque. The MS-007 had racing-derived pushrod front suspension, control arms in the rear, and a limited-slip differential. It weighed less than 1,500 lb, and the tip-top of the tiny car’s big roll bar sat less than 4 feet off the pavement. When I asked friends at Mazda to tell me more about the car, they couldn’t. They didn’t even know it existed. They asked colleagues in Japan for information on the MS-007 and got one crappy picture in return.

Mazdaspeed Ms007 Concept Interior

I reached out to the company that supposedly built the MS-007, Swift Engineering in San Clemente, California, which worked on the 2008 Mazda Furai, the rotary-powered race car concept with a fluidic, carbon-fiber body. (The Furai and the MS-007 weighed about the same, even though the Furai had a 20-inch-longer wheelbase and was a foot wider than the MS-007.) Still haven’t heard back, but I’ll keep digging. Throwback Thursday is actually kind of fun.

Mazdaspeed Ms007 Concept Front End

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