Who knew? – It’s the 50th anniversary of the Mazda rotary engine. Mazda is the only carmaker to mass-produce and bring to market the rotary engine. Had it not been for the uniqueness of the rotary engine, there would probably be no Mazda. In the 1950s and 1960s, Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry wanted to streamline the number of carmakers. Thinking that bigger manufacturers would be more likely to compete with US and European heavyweights, Mazda was afraid they would be vulnerable to a forced merger.
But a carmaker pioneering a bold new type of engine would be much more likely to maintain its independence. The unconventional rotary engine appealed to fans and offered a distinct reason to buy a Mazda. The successful introduction of the rotary-powered Cosmo Sport in 1967 launched Mazda as an influential carmaker.