Sunday, November 28, 2010

Talk About Artandcolour! 1972 Mazda Catalogs

Mazda's 1972 catalogs were inspired by the Pop Art of the day, and in today's light, are really evocative of that psychodelic period. The general catalog is to the left, including the "larger" RX-2, and one specifically for the smaller RX-3/808 models, is on the right, The RX- designation denoted the Rotary powered versions. The RX-3 also came as the 808, a lower-priced, higher economy piston-powered version. Aren't these covers fantastic?

The catalogs open with a spread touting its rotary engine, manufactured by Mazda under license from Germany's NSU/Wankel—which would be bought by Audi—which was then bought by VW. The forecast that by "1980 85% of all cars would be Rotary-powered," would prove to be a bit optimisitic, lol. After developing their own rotary engines for years, both GM and Mercedes Benz gave up in the mid 1970s, never overcoming their thirst for fuel in those days of OPEC-sponsored gas shortages. Mazda is still the only company offering a rotary engine, and only in one sports car, the RX-8.

Not much to look at, the RX-2 was the darling of car enthusiast magazines of the day. They were well built, well equipped, light weight, and powerful beyond their class. They were raced by Car and Driver in their magazine sponsored Reader-Challenges in the early 1970s. I attended one of those with my parents at Lime Rock in 1973. I still have a bumpersticker giveaway, and an issue of their magazine with a special sticker on it, but can't put my fingers on them right now. The cover was GM's new-for-'73 Oldsmobile Cutlass in its new colonnade coupe guise.

The RX-3 was the smaller and less expensive rotary-powered line. Again, not a looker by any stretch of the imagination, really not much more than the fussy generic Japanese lines of the day, and they weren't economical on gas at all, but they were sweet little high-revving sports sedans. I haven't seen one in years and years. I wonder if anyone has restored one?

• For the Wiki on the RX-2, click here.
• For the Wiki on the RX-3, click here.
• A cool remembrance of early '70s imported sports coupes, including the RX-3, at this blogsite.


  1. I never knew there were several RX's before the RX7, cool!

  2. Saw the following on The Daily Dish - since we share this internet world thought you might find it interesting:

    "To be on the internet is to never be alone. ... Sophomore year of college was the last time I remember attending a party I didn’t want to go to in spite of myself, the last time I remember choosing people I didn’t really like over solitude. How dumb of me to think that I don’t do this online every day now," - Alice Gregory.

    Sweet dreams everyone...

  3. funny you should write that tonight, Annie. I just went almost 3 1/2 hours without internet. I have all my services with Comcast, 'net, phone, TV, and my phone and cable were fine but the internet just stopped working. I did my usual, deleting history, and emptying the cache. No good. I restarted my mac a couple of times, no good. I called 411 several times and got six different Comcast phone numbers. I called SEVERAL times, and either was cut off, it was busy or just dead air. I was really freaking out. I know everything is going off soon if I don't find some cash, but I have a week or two, lol. FINALLY, at 11:15pm on the local news, they announce that Comcast High-speed internet was out from Washington DC to Boston. OMG, i sat down and did a shot of tequila to calm my frayed nerves. I HATE when things don't go "right" and I can't figure out why. Now I have to finish calming down. Now that I'm back online I think I'll log off, voluntarily this time. G'Night folks!

  4. Woody—I'm glad you learned something here today! that makes me feel good. There was also an RX-4 a little bit later than the RX-2 and 3, also a compact sedan and coupe, but then they skipped to RX-7 for the sports car.

  5. In a previous life I worked for a consumer newsletter and we occasionally got offered cars to test. One of the first was a Mazda RX-2 coupe, red with a black vinyl roof. This must have been 1971 or early 1972. It was very peppy and a lot of fun to drive. I hadn't thought about that in a long time so thanks for the reminder!

    Paul, NYC