Mazda Cosmo Sport was first unveiled as a Concept in 1964 at Tokyo Motor Show, then in 1965 60 pre-productions units was tested and on 30 May 1967 it entered into full production. The Cosmo Sport was the world’s first dual-rotor rotary engine car. All the Cosmos were hand made and as a result only one unit was made per day.
Mazda begun working on the Cosmo in December 1962 and the first two rotor engine prototype was shown in July 1963. In August Mazda built the first prototype (known as the L8A) powered by this two rotor engine, unveiled the next year at Tokyo Motor Show. The prototype was powered by a 2x398cc engine.
The first dual-rotor rotary engine was installed in the Mazda R16A prototype mid-engine sports car, and extensive testing was conducted on the high-speed test track at the Miyoshi Proving Ground.
The prototype later evolved into the L10A. For the production version the engine size was increased to 2 x 491cc. Like any other Mazda rotary engine vehicle, the L10A used side intake ports. The design was finished in 1966, just in time for it’s unveiling in May 1967.
Cosmo Sport type L10A
The first Cosmo Sport was powered by a Type 10A engine (2 x 491cc) equipped with newly developed high-strength carbon-based apex seals, made by permeating pyrographite with aluminum molecules through a special sintering process. It had an output of 110 hp and featured a 4-speed manual transmission.
The intake system featured a side-port configuration coupled with a two-stage four-barrel carburetor, to keep combustion stable at all speeds. For the ignition system, each rotor was equipped with two spark plugs so that stable combustion could be maintained in cold and hot weather conditions alike, and on both highways and city streets.
The Cosmo Sport recorded more than 3 million kilometers of road tests over six years. Its futuristic styling and superb driving performance delighted sports car enthusiasts throughout the world.
The L10A (or the Series I Cosmo) had a top speed of 115 mph. The L10A was only sold in Japan at a price of $4100.
Cosmo Sport type L10B
Only one year later, July 1968, Mazda unveiled the second generation Cosmo: the L10B. The Cosmo had now an output of 128 hp and featured a 5-speed manual transmission. Its performance was also improved; the L10B reached a top speed of 120 mph.
The new Cosmo featured just a few updates: the wheel base was lengthened by 5.9 inches, which tended to make the car look more balanced. Its option included: power assisted brakes and optional air conditioning fitted behind the seats on the rear parcel shelf.
The L10B was built only in 1519 units, most of them sold in Japan at a price of $4390 and only six units were exported to USA. Mazda ended the production for the Cosmo Sport in 1972. The only remaining Series II Cosmo from US is owned by Jay Leno (1970 model).
Even if the Cosmo Sport was not a success at its time, its first dual-rotor rotary engine marked the beginning of a success period for Mazda. In 40 years the company sold approximately 1,970,000 rotary vehicles. In the years of its launch the Cosmo Sport was overshadowed by the Toyota 2000 GT, featured in the 1967 James Bond movie. It was believed to be an expensive car for its power and dimensions, and had no success outside Japan. You can now buy a Cosmo Sport for $20.000-$30.000, depending on condition.