Heritage

You've probably never heard of these 11 Mazdas

Mazda has a rich 100 year history that includes a number of less well known models.

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

This year Mazda celebrates its 100-year anniversary, having produced some memorable models along the way (hello, Mazdaspeed3). However, there are a number worth forgetting, and maybe you have. Scroll down to take a walk down Mazda's memory lane.

Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. headquarters

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Mazda began as a cork products manufacturing company in 1920. A year later, Jujiro Matsuda took charge of Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. (shown above in 1929) and changed the business to make it a machine tool producer. The company wouldn't be known as Mazda until years later.

Mazda Go

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

A decade after the changeover, the company was transformed again, now making three-wheeled trikes like the 1931 Mazda Go (shown above) and a prototype motorcycle.

Motorcycle racing was a popular pastime in Japan in the late 1920s. However, most of the models were imported, or assembled in Japan from imported parts.

Mazda 1930 motorcycle

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

In 1929, Toyo Kogyo, as Mazda was then known, decided to build a domestic Japanese bike. They began development of a prototype in 1929 and from that a 250cc two-stroke prototype motorbike (shown above) was born. It was revealed in October 1930, winning its first race by beating an Ariel, one of the most-popular bike brands in the 1930s.

Following that success, the company produced 30 more motorcycles in 1930. The company priced the motorcycles at 350 to 380 Japanese yen, which is about $31,800- $34,500 in today's U.S. dollars.

But, a changes was, once again, afoot. The company decided to focus on developing the Mazda Go rather than the two-wheeler.

Then, it was time for a car.

Mazda PKW prototype

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

In 1940, Toyo Kogyo built a small two-door prototype car called the PKW prototype (shown above). By that time, however, the tides were turning. The world was waking up to news from the battlefields of World War II every day and it wouldn't be long before the war expanded to the Pacific Theater. The PKW prototype would never make it to production.

The company, like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, and Ford began creating products to help assist the war effort. Japan was on the side of Germany and Italy. Toyo Kogyo began producing series 30 through 35 Type 99 rifles instead of cars.

Post-war, Toyo Kogyo focused on their Type GA and Type GB three-wheeled Mazda Go-inspired three-wheeled trucks.

Mazda Type-CA

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Along with three-wheelers, Toyo Kogyo produced another prototype, one of the four-wheeled variety. The Type-CA (shown above) was a one-ton four-wheeled truck with a small, open-sided canvas roof and split-screen open deck. It was reminiscent of the Willys Jeep, which helped the Allies win WWII.

The truck pre-dated the company's first production car by 10 years.

A new era at Toyo Kogyo was ushered in with the 1960 Mazda R360 (shown below), the company's first car. The kei car was a two-door, four-seat coupé. Production of the model lasted for six years.

1960 Mazda R360

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

That same year, Toyo Kogyo sold its first bus. The 13-seater was based on the company's D1500 cab-over compact truck and was sold to the Japanese Defense Agency. The bus's interior had seats that folded so the model could be used to transport injured officers on stretchers.

The D1500 was exported to the Middle East where it was equipped with center-opening freestyle rear doors, which allowed it to be used as an ambulance.

1965 Light Bus Type-A Mazda

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Five years later, the 1965 Light Bus Type-A (shown above) was introduced, based on the concept the company showed at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show. It featured a curved laminated safety glass windshield and unique styling that set it apart from the traditional bus.

In the 1970s, the automaker continued to produce upscale mini-buses using the Parkway model name. It was in the 1974 Parkway 26 that the company introduced the world's first rotary engine-powered bus.

Mazda CVS Personal Car Concept

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

During that same timeframe, the CVS Personal Car Concept (shown above) debuted, moving the story of the Mazda brand along. CVS stood for computer-controlled vehicle system. The concept had a wheel at each corner box with sliding doors and a spacious interior that was designed for passenger comfort complete with big leather chairs and a telephone.

Mazda designed a rail track to "drive" the model on. The automaker says that, "this 70s self-driving pod looked like futuristic fantasy in 1973, but today strangely familiar to anyone who's ridden on the business parking pods at Heathrow airport terminal five."

Mazda Road Pacer AP

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

The roster of vehicles in the 1970s was rife with oddities. The company wanted to make a a large executive car to be used by Japanese government officials so the Mazda Road Pacer AP (shown above) was launched in 1975. The car wasn't entirely from the company's R&D team.

According to Mazda, " It used Holden HJ bodies, which were shipped to Japan without engines, whereupon Mazda fitted the 135ps 13B rotary engine. Designed to take on the grandly named Toyota Century, Nissan President and Isuzu Statesman De Ville, the Road Pacer AP featured luxuries such as speed related central locking and even an inbuilt dictation machine."

The car was only sold for three years - 1975 to 1977. Just 800 were sold, only in Japan.

Mazda Pathfinder

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Nissan wasn't the only automaker with a Pathfinder. The Mazda Pathfinder (shown above) was a 4x4 exclusively assembled and sold in Burma. It gained popularity with the military and police who appreciated its rugged off-road abilities. It was powered by a 90ps engine and came with a canvas roof or as a fully enclosed nine-seat model. A few can still be seen on the roads of Myanmar.

Mazda Suitcase Car

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

It wasn't just the 70s that gave the world unique Mazda cars. In 1984 the company officially changed its name to Mazda and in 1991 the Mazda Suitcase Car was born. The Australian-based limousine came about thanks to the 1991 "Fantasy yard" event - an inter-departmental contest to see which group of Mazda employees could come up with the most innovative and creative solution to produce a moving machine.

More go kart than passenger car, the model was the brainchild of seven Mazda engineers from Mazda's manual transmission testing and research group. They purchased the largest Samsonite suitcase they could find and a quarter size pocket motorbike and set to work.

To construct the model, engineers put the rear wheels into slots onto the outside of the case, while the front wheel popped through a removable hatch in the front. The suitcase car took mere minutes to assemble and had a top speed of 19 mph.

Sadly, the original prototype was accidentally destroyed just a few months after the "Fantasy Yard" event, however, one Mazda suitcase car still remains in existence.

London Royal College of Art taxi concept

Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corporation

Inn 1993, a collaboration with the London Royal College of Art resulted in a taxi concept (shown above) designed to operate in the future where space would restrict vehicle size. Though it wasn't an official Mazda concept, Mazda assisted by building the prototype, which was a futuristic looking narrow-track pod shaped mini-car.

Intersted in seeing more historical Mazdas? Click here to see 60 years of pretty/pretty ugly Mazda family cars and vans.

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder arrives on dealer lots this summer.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't have to be capable of rock crawling or deep water fording. What it has to do is service the needs of families in their daily life and give them the opportunity to competently go off-roading on rocky trails should they desire. The new, fifth-generation models does just that and adds in enough nifty features to make it among the most compelling choices for three-row SUV buyers.

The 2022 Pathfinder is thoroughly modern though not the boxy off-roader it once was. The SUV's styling harkens back to that time with a tilted, darkened C-pillar and a return to a more muscular body style. That styling makes straightforward visibility good but for shorter drivers seeing what is immediately in front of the grille is a challenge that necessitates using surround view camera technology (available only in upper trim levels) when navigating challenging terrain.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can easily handle the roads less traveled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that offers up 291 horsepower and torque - plenty to do the job without complaint. The SUV's nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the previous generation and delivers smooth shifts. Though low-end torque isn't as robust as I like it to be, once up over 35 mph, the Pathfinder's powertrain delivers smooth, powerful sailing.

The redesigned architecture and components underpinning the Pathfinder make it stable on the road and don't allow it to wallow on winding roads. Even off-road, the suspension provides the right blend of stability while the drive dynamics allowing the driver to feel engaged with their surroundings whether on freshly paved roads, city streets, or muddy trails.

Nissan has given the Pathfinder a 6,000-pound towing capacity and even when maxed out the engine's functionality is strong as ever. The transmission can get held up in a gear mid-range when performing this function, however, with 5,000-6,000 rpms registering on the tachometer but a quick release of the gas pedal recalibrates the offering bringing it down to a more traditional 2,000 rpm range.

The eight-seater Pathfinder clearly has the Toyota Highlander in its sights, with good reason. It's the top-selling three-row SUV in the country. Nissan boasts that three adults can fit across the rear bench seat of the Pathfinder and, as long as they're average size or smaller, the marketing talking point holds up. There is gobs more room back there than there is in the Highlander.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan has given the Pathfinder ample cargo space.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Getting in and out of the third row is easy thanks to one-touch buttons on the outboard side of the second-row chairs that move the SUV's captain's seats forward creating enough room to get through to the back. Smartly, Nissan's engineers have put duplicates of these buttons on the back side of the same seats allowing third-row passengers to simply press the button to move the seat up.

The third row can also be accessed via a split between the captain's chairs as well, a space traditionally occupied by a center stowage bin/cup holders/arm rest. Owners can quickly remove the center console by opening a panel on the front and pulling the release mechanism. The one-handed operation takes seconds and the console can be easily stored in the under-floor trunk space behind the third row seat for ease.

Speaking of cargo space... The Pathfinder is one of the most spacious midsize SUVs on the market today for both passengers and cargo. There is a substantial amount of room behind the third-row seat and the under-floor storage area is nearly twice the size of the one in the Highlander. Plus, it has a feature that allows the area cover to be automatically propped up when pushed up by a user. This is especially help when carrying groceries or plants home and keeps them from being crushed.

The first- and second-row seats are suitably comfortable, even for extended periods of time and standard trig-zone climate control makes finding the right in-cabin mix easy. Bottle holders in the pockets of the front doors are exceptionally large, fitting even bulky water bottles.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder's front row seats are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In front of the driver is a standard tachometer, speedometer, and 7.0-inch driver information display. Buyers can upgrade to a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and head-up display but they're not reason enough to upgrade to the top-tier Pathfinder Platinum on their own.

Nissan packs the new Pathfinder with a host of desirable features that make living with the Pathfinder easier including one-touch auto up/down windows, a wireless phone charger, grocery hooks in the rear cargo area, USB ports in all three rows, second-row sunshades, rear door keyless entry, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a motion-activated lift gate.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is priced to start at $33,410 for the two-wheel drive S base model and $35,310 for the four-wheel drive S base model. The model tops out around $50,000 with destination and delivery included, which seems fair when comparing the Pathfinder to other vehicles in the market.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If you're thinking of purchasing a Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, or Highlander, do yourself a favor and schedule a test drive of the new Pathfinder when it arrives at a dealer lot near you. You may just be surprised how seamlessly it fits into your daily life compared to the competition.

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Tesla claims that its Cybertruck will go into production this year.

Photo courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

In a presentation to investors this morning, Ford Motor Company revealed that it has received 70,000 reservations for its just-debuted F-150 Lightning electric truck. Its on-paper chief rival, the Tesla Cybertruck, has over one million according to data acquired by Finbold. Rivian, who is nearly ready to start production of its R1T all-electric truck, has over 30,000 reservations, according to reporting by InsideEVs.

Reservations are not orders or sales though they do serve as an indicator of the buying public's enthusiasm for a new model. More and more automakers are switching to online reservations to gauge buyer interest, determine proper product mix, and stay in touch with clients on a more personal level. Hyundai did this with the 2022 Tucson and Ford has successfully used it to launch the Mustang Mach-E.


2022 Ford F-150 Lightning The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning has an all-electric powertrain in its familiar body. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Tesla opened reservations for the Cybertruck immediately following its debut around the same time as the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show where the Mustang Mach-E also debuted. Last July, Finbold revealed that their data showed that there were around 650,000 reservations. In 2018 and 2019 Tesla produced 612,120 vehicles.

Finbold's fresh research indicates that as of May 25, 2021, estimated Cybertruck reservations had reached 1.08 million. That number is more than the 866,750 total vehicles delivered by Tesla in two years between 2019 and 2020.

Though construction at the future home of the Cybertruck, Tesla's Austin, Texas plant, is ongoing, Tesla no longer features the Cybertruck alongside its existing models. The truck's homepage is currently housed in a "see more" style hamburger menu as a singular link alongside the Roadster and Semi. The Cybertruck was originally slated to begin production later this year.

The F-150 Lightning is expected to reach consumers ahead of the Tesla Cybertruck despite the fact that the Cybertruck was unveiled years ahead of the F-Series model. Both have fully electric powertrains. Ford will also offer the electric truck in a fleet version.

Ford has given more specifics about the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning than Tesla has about the Cybertruck. It will look much like a traditional F-150 but have an electric powertrain that gives it a maximum of 563 horsepower and 773 pound-feet of torque. The truck is being built to be capable of towing though doing so will likely decrease the truck's 300-mile maximum range considerably.

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