After dipping their toes into a revolutionary new concept in automotive engine design with the Cosmo Sport 110S, Mazda quickly generated a desire to see their development of Felix Wankel’s engine supplanting all traditional, reciprocating-piston power plants. As a result, use of the new engine spread rapidly through Mazda’s existing model range. Alas, this big push towards a rotary-driven future received a major blow in 1973 with that year’s international oil crisis. Of course, the problems brought to the surface by the oil producing countries affected all motor manufacturers, but Mazda were particularly vulnerable due to the rotary engine’s notable thirst for petrol.

However, the company were not prepared to let go of their rotary ambitions and during the peak of the fuel crisis, a small group of Mazda engineers put their heads together with a view to updating the original initiative behind the development of the Cosmo Sport 110S in the late 1960s. Although production of that car had ceased in 1972, the idea of using the rotary engine to power a lightweight two-seater coupé appeared to be the way ahead as far as those engineers were concerned.

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