King Of Rotary: A Gurachan Cosmo

Before the RX-7, Mazda was dropping its rotary engines into a variety of chassis including the Capella (RX-2), the slightly bigger Savanna (RX-3), and eventually the Luce (RX-4). The ’70s was arguably the Wankel’s defining decade, and Mazda used the unique engine to power everything from compact coupes to four door sedans, wagons, and even a pickup.

In 1975 came the daddy of them all, the CD generation of the Cosmo, combining the performance of the twin-rotor engine with the size and comfort of a large luxury sports coupe.


It was a very popular car in Japan as it allowed people to stay under the 1.5-liter classification for road tax, yet packed 130hp (13B version). Needless to say, Mazda sold quite a lot of them, but you don’t see many on the streets these days. When you do though, you can’t help but admire what they represented in their heyday.


This particular example I found in a dark corner of the outside parking area at Umihotaru PA is about as far as you can possibly get from a stock example. Slammed to the ground on massively wide wheels and proudly showing off a set of works-style overfenders, I couldn’t help but take a closer look.


The gurachan style never gets old; it’s probably one of the most ‘Japanese’ things you can do to a vintage car and this Cosmo was a welcome addition to the hundreds of other rotaries that showed up on 7’s Day this year.


You could probably take a seat inside the lips of the SSR MkIIs it’s running, such is their depth.


The sticker says it all really.


Compared to a lot of the exaggerated race replicas you see in Japan, this Cosmo was more on the restrained side of the scale; it did away with a long front lip but not an extended rear ducktail spoiler. Throw in a vintage Mazda livery and you’re onto a total winner.

You either get this style or you don’t, so which side of the fence are you guys on?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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I get it. It's cool BEYOND cool. Right on!


Seems to come straight out of a movie, especially with these rear lights.


I've never even heard of this gen Cosmo, let alone seen one! I totally dig the styling. The front end kinda reminds me slightly of an old V12 Jag XJS. Loving it! Quality find Dino.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Gem from the past indeed:D


Dino, any chance you'll shoot in films? Anyways, good content as always!! :)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

As in film camera? No, haven't in a very very long time!


For a fantastic if crude journey check out Aaroncake (not me) on youtube. He is slowly restoring and building a 75 cosmo.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Damn. I had to subscribe to that.


Dunno, the car and the concept is awsome but I dont really like the huge flares and tiny wheels, it's just, not for me.I don't like it but I respect it.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Like I said, it's a style that you either dig or don't


Cars from the 70s may have had utterly nonexistent quality control, zero power and terrible brakes & tires, but compared to modern cars they were cleanly styled and well proportioned.

Corrie Gillett

i agree with the lack of power part but these were built very well, had really good suspension from the factory, as well as 4 wheel discs that work very well and quite strong gearboxes and diffs. but i digress god they are slow! hence me putting a 500hp 13bt in mine:)


Shoulda clarified...I meant American cars.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

It was an era where cars still had a lot of character.


Yeah, and downsizing wasn't yet an exercise in absurdity because the cars were still big enough that you could chop several feet out of them and still have enough "canvas" left to pen a nice set of lines on.

Still, I'd rather have a 70s car than that Google koala pod... OF THE FUTURE!


While I don't particularly like how cars are becoming more computerized and hard to work on, or the fact that there is an increasing number of plastic parts being used in place of metal, I still believe cars today have plenty of character. It just depends on where you look. Just wait for the day when they finally come out with a totally autonomous car and lawmakers start lobbying for "manual operation" of vehicles to be outlawed. Then we'll ALL look back at this time with fond memories...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Hopefully I'll be dead by that time!


Love it all save for the tiny wheels. That front end is sculpture!


It's like somebody went and made a '78 Nova awesome!


this would look atrocious with anything over 15"
unless you're australian and you put a fuckhuge 1500hp+ 13b in there, i don't think it would be appropriate

Dino Dalle Carbonare

But the tiny wheels is the point of these cars!


She definetly is a beatuy, never knew they existed... How many examples are on the road nowdays? Never saw it, not sure ever will. Although rotary is usually presented with a lot of bad sides specially about maitnence, this one though shows the opposite, 40 years old rotary, one would say: one of a kind.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Well seems Mazda actually built a ton of them, 55,000 or there abouts. But they are very rare cars, I've only seen a handful myself and all were slammed or modified in some way. Definitely unique cars, there was also a notch back version, but maybe that was only for the US


55k? That isn't much, compared to nowdays productions of millions of cars, but definetly is worth more. It would be even more unique to rebuild one as a stock car, but I doubt it would be easy to find right parts for it, let alone original ones. Thinking of it, as japanese are crazy, they might even manufacture parts for them if someone ordered. Even if I like muscle a bit more, this one really caught my attention. It would be indeed one of a kind in my area. All I can say for now, thanks Dino for sharing this beauty, hope I'll be able to join sometime.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

55k, yeah might not be much if you compare it to Ford F150 sales, but the R34 GT-R for example, only 12k were made. So compared to that it was a lot! Anyway glad to see so many people dug this spotlight!


True indeed, did not have that in mind.
As for the spotlight, car's worth it, and the way you presented it made it even more interesting.


12,000 or so. Zoinks.

That's why I suspect that my R34 is going to be a 34 in the same way that a 1987 NASCAR Regal was a Buick Regal


Instantly brought back memories of my little brothers '75 Chevy SS Nova. Such strong similarities style wise. Tacky sport trim. Small by today's standard wheels. Decent lines but overly large front/rear treatments. And underpowered. Which was probably a good thing given how rusty the floor was... still it was is 16 yo dream and he loved it!
And that's what mattered.


These are also known as RX-5's right? Cool cars these are. Seeing these gracchan styled cars makes me wanna give my Datsun the yanky treatment


Mazda 121 here in Australia but I think they were the piston model


Correct. In Aust they were sold as the RX5 (rotary) and 121 (piston)

Corrie Gillett

i love mine:)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Looks like you're giving her some TLC!


Oh to have a CD like this in the UK! I wouldn't change a thing, Absolute Perfection!!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

You would confuse people!


Mazda RX5 here in Australia. Very rare sight even at rotary events. Ive never had one come through the doors at my work. They just dont appeal like a RX3.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

A true rarity (straight off to Car Sensor to see how many I can find for sale...!)


Love it. Reminds me a bit of a Doberman Pinscher the way the nose and hood are narrow and slender from the side. Pretty cool car and I've never heard of this until reading the article. Very unique looking vehicle.


I don't know why. The front remind me of old American Buicks.

A shame that there's no pic of the engine.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

There's no doubting that the Japanese in the sixties and seventies took a lot of inspiration from US manufacturers. Check this version of the the AP Cosmo


Holy crap.
That roof line and side quarter panel Windows looks like the 78-87 buick regal. My dad use to have one. I remember the car catching fire while on a family trip in the highway on Christmas day lol! We where very lucky my dad saw the flames coming out of the hood and pull over.


The Cosmo/121/RX-5 was meant to take on the American market "personal car", much like your big American pimp cars, hence the weird styling around the B pillar to incoporate an extra window etc. The "L" or Landau roof cars are a bit awkward looking too and have an opera window as well. They were another car that Mazda timed badly and only the fact that they met pollution targets in Japan meant they got bought by Japanese buyers rather than the intended US market. Most got wrecked for their 13b motor and 5spd gearbox. They also came with a TQX semi manual automatic! Oh and they also had a different stud pattern to nearly every other 4 stud Mazda out there. WTF Mazda... WTF.


they're mkIIIs dino awesome car non the less


I love Cosm's Rotary Cars I have 3 on my own 2/76 & 78. Here in Puerto Rico