Theme: Japan – 1981 To 1989 Mazda 929 coupe

We may have dealt with this car before. Today it’s here as a photoseries courtesy of our good friends at Autoscout24 where the cars shown here are on sale.

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The images tell most of the story. The bit I want to write about here is the baffling habit the Japanese brands had of multiple names for the same cars. We know this one as the Mazda 929 coupe because that was its European name. In Japan it was either a Cosmo or a Luce. Why the difference? Mazda has a chain of dealerships (Mazda Auto) they owned directly. At Mazda Auto the car you see here had Cosmo badges and could be purchased as a coupe or saloon.

If the dealership was not directly owned (a franchise) this car had the Luce nameplate. Are you ready for more? Cars Mazda sold directly as Cosmos at Mazda Auto had 1.3 litre rotary engines. The franchise dealerships sold the Luce saloon with either piston or rotary engines. Does that make sense? You’d imagine that the rotary engine option would have been a good way to distinguish the Luce from the Cosmo: rotary for one nameplate and pistons for the other.

The piston engine range belies the car’s size: 1.8, and 2.0 litre petrol four-pots. A 2.2 litre diesel served the European market as well. The rotary engines had 1.1 and 1.3 volumes, with the latter turbo charged. You might consider those engines small: I expected a V6. The car has a modest 1100 kg curbweight so those engines had no problem hauling this car.

1988 Olds Cutlass Supreme for comparison
1988 Olds Cutlass Supreme for comparison: Curbside Classics

I have thrown in an image of the 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe. I think the Olds refines the idea of the all-glass C-pillar but the 1981 Mazda must have had some influence. The Olds image came from the unspeakably excellent Curbside Classics site.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

2 thoughts on “Theme: Japan – 1981 To 1989 Mazda 929 coupe”

  1. There’s also a strong resemblance to the 1990s Holden Caprice VQ/VR/VS.

    By then Mazda had moved on to the softer-lined Sentia which was popular in Australia, partly down to the ending of the Button Plan, and the relaxing of duties on imported cars.

  2. Another really nice rice car of the 80ies – Japan had an affection for quirky details (what i really like) in those days….
    Even a bit more quirky is the pre-facelift version of this car – with the senseless third window.

    Btw, the rear sets should have an armrest – or what else is missing there ?

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