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Rare Rides: The Autozam AZ-1 From 1992 Is Either Suzuki or Mazda

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Tiny, mid-engined, and that includes these all-necessary gullwing doorways, the Autozam AZ-1 has all of it. And now you, too, can benefit from the issues Japan was uninterested in within the Nineteen Nineties.

This isn’t the primary time we’ve had a Suzuki kei car on Rare Rides; that honor goes to this Mighty Boy pickup truck. As we speak’s experience is one other entrant within the Japanese home market-particular kei class. And the AZ-1 was a very long time coming.

Again in 1985, Suzuki began issues off with a mid-engine sports activities kei design referred to as the RS/1. Introduced on the Tokyo Motor Present, the design was greater than only a idea: it was a working instance with a balanced weight distribution and a 1.three-liter engine. Nevertheless it was to not be.

Plans dashed, the corporate adopted up with one other RS idea, the RS/three. This one was prepared for the 1987 Tokyo Motor Present. Preserving styling just like the unique RS model, the brand new mannequin was up to date to satisfy current JDM safety laws. However Suzuki had restricted funds within the financial institution on the time — and one other roadster on the desk. As soon as extra, the RS discovered itself sidelined because the Cappuccino went to vendor tons as an alternative.

Suzuki placed on a tragic face and someday after handed the undertaking over to Mazda. That automaker referred to as upon the identical man who designed the unique MX-5. Renaming the venture “AZ-550,” Mazda introduced the roadster to the Tokyo present in 1989. Three totally different variations have been proven in three totally different physique types. The crowd favored all three, and Mazda picked one for manufacturing.

An extended street to finalization and manufacturing ensued, with a full three years elapsing between the time of the ’89 present and the automobiles truly leaving the manufacturing unit. Suzuki comes again into play right here, as the corporate was the producer of the car it had designed two (and a half) occasions. Automobiles got here straight out of the Suzuki meeting plant, delivery to Mazda’s Autozam dealerships. A little bit of irony there — Suzuki picks one design over one other, and finally ends up manufacturing the design it didn’t need for Mazda, so they might supply it towards the Suzuki.

Out there in third-quarter 1992, consumers confronted two shade choices. Each of have been two-tone — gray on the underside, and both pink or blue on the highest portion. Simply because the AZ-1 was launched, Japan entered a pleasant, massive recession. The gullwing doorways and mid-engine design meant an asking price of over $12,000 — a bit lower than a Japanese MX-5, however greater than both of its rivals (Honda Beat and Suzuki Cappuccino).

All AZ-1s had a Suzuki inline-three engine of 657 cc displacement. A 5-velocity guide was the one transmission on supply, complimenting the mid-engine format and rear-wheel drive. Giving in to the financial local weather and its accompanying sluggish gross sales, the AZ-1 ended up cancelled after 1995. Complete manufacturing was simply in need of 5,000 automobiles.

At the moment’s instance is a 1992 mannequin, in blue. In wonderful situation and with sixty three,000 miles on the clock, it asks $17,995 at an import supplier in Virginia.

[Images: seller]

– Rare Rides: The Autozam AZ-1 From 1992 Is Either Suzuki or Mazda –

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