This retro-inspired Cosmo 21 is a rotary-powered Roadster based on the Mazda Miata NBby Dim Angelov, on LISTEN 04:28
The idea of a new car that looks like a classic is not a new one, as many carmakers and design studios have been romanticizing it for a long time. However, it became most obvious around the early 2000s, with cars like the muscle car trio – the Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, and cars like the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500, only to name a few. That said, while many of these concepts went into production, others did not. Such is the case with the 2002 Mazda Cosmo 21, which took the Miata NB and turned it into a faithful representation of the first Mazda to use a Wankel (rotary) engine.
A bit of Cosmo history
The original Mazda Cosmo was a roadster produced between 1967 and 1972. This first-generation model was the brand’s flagship car in Japan and was sold under the name Eunos Cosmo. It was also the model that launched the famous Mazda rotary engine. The Cosmo had two versions – L10A (Series I) and L10B (Series II).
Both versions used a 982 cc rotary engine that produced 110 horsepower in the Series I and 128 horsepower and 103 pound-feet (140 Nm) in the Series II. Earlier cars had a four-speed manual, while later ones got a five-speed unit. In addition, the Series II cars got power brakes and 15-inch wheels. The top speed was 115 mph (185 km/h) and 120 mph (193 km/h) respectively.
|Engine||982 cc rotary|
|Power||110 HP/128 HP|
|Top Speed||115 mph/120 mph|
Production of the first-generation Mazda (Eunos) Cosmo ended in September 1972. By that point, a total of 1,176 production vehicles were made.
Fast-forward to 2002
Nearly two decades ago, Mazda decided to entertain the idea of a spiritual successor to the original Eunos Cosmo. At the 2002 Tokyo Motor Show, they unveiled the Mazda Cosmo 21. The study’s inspiration from the 1967 Roadster was obvious, as the retro-futuristic looks were nearly identical to the original. The car also commemorated 35 years of the original Cosmo.
The Cosmo 21 was built by Mazda subsidiary M’zIF, which actually started as a body kit manufacturer.
As for the aesthetics, the classic proportions have been cleaned up a bit. The 2002 interpretation of the Cosmo features much less chrome. In fact, the only place we see chrome accents is on the door handles. The split taillight design is retained, as it’s an iconic design element, exclusive to the Cosmo. The NB Miata hardtop is the only thing that’s left unchanged.
The interior layout is identical to the donor car. However, it has been entirely reupholstered in high-end materials. The two-tone, black and white interior features quilted seats, as well as a good amount of leather and suede. Unlike the NB Miata, you are will not be touching any plastics, unless you use some of the buttons on the dashboard that is. The instrument cluster has been given a more classic design and the gauges have been rearranged, in order to better mimic those of the original Cosmo.
Why it didn’t happen
No one knows exactly why the Mazda Cosmo 21 never made it to production. Some say it’s because many others have made an attempt to capture the retro-cool and Mazda did not want to be a part of the flock.
However, the more logical reason may have been that they didn’t want to hinder the sales of the Miata, which by that time had already proven to be a popular compact roadster. Nevertheless, with the recent reports that Mazda is working on a flagship sports car, the Cosmo name may be revived for real this time.