Classic Van Auction Talk

Friday 11 September 2015

1968 Mazda 110S Cosmo Sport Coupe - GOODWOOD REVIVAL SALE


1968 Mazda 110S Cosmo Sport Coupe  Chassis no. L10A-10419 Engine no. 10A-1581

1968 Mazda 110S Cosmo Sport Coupe

Registration no. Not UK registered
Chassis no. L10A-10419
Engine no. 10A-1581

*Very rare 'Series Middle' combining parts of Series I and II
*An original export model
*Actively used by penultimate owner in Japan
*One of the most desirable Japanese sports cars of all time


  • Although founded in the 1920s, the company that would become Mazda Motor Corporation did not commence series production of passenger cars until 1960. Only four years later the Japanese firm exhibited its first rotary-engined prototype, having acquired the rights to produce NSU's Wankel-designed engines. In 1966 Mazda launched its first rotary, the Cosmo L10A, which went into production the following year. Mazda's flagship model, the Cosmo was powered by a twin-rotor engine displacing 982cc and producing 110bhp, which was enough to endow the pretty two-seater coupé with a top speed of 185km/h (110mph). In July 1968 a more powerful and faster (128bhp, 193km/h) L10B version on a longer wheelbase was introduced. 

    While the Cosmo was a comfortable grand touring car in road-going trim, Mazda was keen to demonstrate its competition capabilities, and at the same time allay any fears about the reliability of their Wankel rotary engine. To this end, the factory entered two cars in the 1968 Marathon de la Route, an 84-hour test of endurance held at Germany's famed Nürburgring circuit. The Cosmos ran near the front of the field during the entire race, with one retiring in the 82nd hour and the other going on to finish 4th overall behind two works-entered Porsche 911s and a works Lancia Fulvia 1.3 HF. 

Production was limited, and when the Cosmo was phased out in 1972 only 1,519 had been made, of which 1,176 were the Series II L10B version. In the world of collectible Japanese cars, the Mazda Cosmo ranks in the top tier, alongside its high-performance Toyota and Nissan competitors, the 2000GT and the Skyline GT-R. This is therefore an exciting opportunity to acquire one of these futuristic looking, 'Jet Age' rotary-engined sports cars.

    This particular Mazda Cosmo 110S was originally built for export, as all '110S' badged cars were. The name was derived from the 110 horsepower of the Series I cars and was featured in script in place of the 'Cosmo' badge on the front of cars made for export markets. The 110S was only produced on the shorter 2200mm wheelbase of the Series I models.

Built around the end of Series I and the beginning of Series II production, this 110S combines features from both the much rarer Series I and more refined Series II cars. The drivetrain and short chassis are straight from the Series I, but the more aggressive and larger front air dam, as well as other styling features, are derived from the Series II. Right-hand drive, as all Cosmos are, this car was originally finished in white – the most popular colour – with black vinyl and hound's tooth cloth interior, but was repainted orange in January of this year. The new colour suits the car well and sets it apart from the rest of the pack.

    Sold new abroad, the car eventually found its way home to Japan. Prior to the current vendor's ownership, this Cosmo belonged to a member of the Cosmo Sport Club, who had the brakes, engine and carburettors overhauled to ensure reliability on the tours he enjoyed. Most recently, the front headlight lenses have been replaced and the steering wheel and bumpers re-chromed. The car is titled as a 1970.

    The mounting enthusiasm for Japanese cars is bringing cars like the Cosmo to the forefront of collecting. With its uniquely attractive good looks, technical prowess and sheer rarity, it is of little wonder that the Cosmo has become so sought after.


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