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Mazda Rotary Engine Timeline: A Legacy of Innovation and Performance

In the annals of automotive history, Mazda has etched a remarkable narrative with its iconic Rotary Engine technology.

Since the initial foray into the world of rotary engines in July 1961 with a technical tie-up with NSU and Wankel, Mazda has consistently pushed the boundaries of engineering excellence.

Here’s an exclusive timeline of Mazda’s journey through the evolution of the Rotary Engine:

  • July 1961: Technical Tie-up with NSU and Wankel Mazda takes its first step into the realm of rotary engines, forming a technical tie-up with NSU and Wankel, setting the stage for a revolution in automotive propulsion.
  • May 1967: Completion of the Rotary Engine and Launch of Mazda Cosmo Sport The rotary engine becomes a reality, and Mazda introduces the world to the Mazda Cosmo Sport (Mazda 110S), marking the beginning of a new era in automotive engineering.
  • July 1968: Mazda Familia Rotary Coupe Launch Mazda expands its rotary lineup with the launch of the Mazda Familia Rotary Coupe (Mazda R100 coupe), showcasing the versatility of rotary technology.
  • October 1969: Introduction of Mazda Luce Rotary Coupe Continuing its innovation, Mazda unveils the Mazda Luce Rotary Coupe (Mazda R130 coupe), captivating enthusiasts with both style and performance.
  • May 1970: Launch of Mazda Capella Rotary Series (Mazda RX-2) Mazda introduces the Mazda Capella Rotary Series (Mazda RX-2), solidifying its commitment to rotary-powered vehicles.
  • September 1971: Debut of Mazda Savanna (Mazda RX-3) The Mazda Savanna (Mazda RX-3) hits the market, further establishing Mazda’s prowess in rotary engine technology.
  • November 1972: 2nd Generation Mazda Luce Rotary Series (Mazda RX-4) Launch Mazda unveils the 2nd Generation Mazda Luce Rotary Series (Mazda RX-4), demonstrating continuous refinement in rotary engine design.
  • June 1973: 500,000 Rotary Engine Vehicles Produced Milestone achieved! Mazda celebrates the production of 500,000 rotary engine vehicles, showcasing the widespread appeal of this groundbreaking technology.
  • February 1974: 2nd Generation Mazda Capella (Mazda RX-2) Launch Continuing the evolution, Mazda launches the 2nd Generation Mazda Capella (Mazda RX-2), combining performance and style.
  • April 1974: Mazda Rotary Pickup (REPU) Launches in North America Mazda takes the rotary revolution to North America with the launch of the Mazda Rotary Pickup (REPU), expanding the reach of rotary engines.
  • July 1974: Mazda Parkway Rotary 26 Launch The Mazda Parkway Rotary 26 debuts, showcasing Mazda’s commitment to diverse applications of rotary technology.
  • April 1975: Introduction of Mazda Roadpacer AP Mazda introduces the Mazda Roadpacer AP, emphasizing the adaptability of rotary engines in various vehicle types.
  • October 1975: 2nd Generation Mazda Cosmo AP (Mazda RX-5) Launch Mazda raises the bar with the 2nd Generation Mazda Cosmo AP (Mazda RX-5), showcasing both elegance and performance.
  • October 1977: 3rd Generation Mazda Luce (Mazda 929L) Launch Mazda continues to innovate with the 3rd Generation Mazda Luce (Mazda 929L), solidifying its position in the luxury segment.
  • March 1978: 1st Generation Mazda Savanna RX-7 (Mazda RX-7) Launch The iconic Mazda Savanna RX-7 (Mazda RX-7) is unveiled, setting a new standard for sports cars and becoming a fan favorite.
  • November 1978: 1 Million Rotary Engine Vehicles Produced A significant milestone! Mazda celebrates the production of 1 million rotary engine vehicles, highlighting the global impact of this groundbreaking technology.
  • November 1981: 3rd Generation Mazda Cosmo and 4th Generation Luce Rotary Series (Mazda 929) Launch Mazda introduces the 3rd Generation Mazda Cosmo and the 4th Generation Luce Rotary Series (Mazda 929), showcasing continuous refinement in design and technology.
  • October 1985: 2nd Generation Mazda Savanna RX-7 (Mazda RX-7) Launch Mazda reaffirms its commitment to sports cars with the launch of the 2nd Generation Mazda Savanna RX-7 (Mazda RX-7), captivating enthusiasts worldwide.
  • April 1986: 1.5 Million Rotary Engine Vehicles Produced Another milestone! Mazda celebrates the production of 1.5 million rotary engine vehicles, underlining the enduring popularity and success of rotary technology.
  • September 1986: 5th Generation Mazda Luce (Mazda 929) Launch Mazda introduces the 5th Generation Mazda Luce (Mazda 929), demonstrating continued innovation in luxury sedan design.
  • April 1990: 4th Generation Mazda Cosmo (Eunos Cosmo) Launch Mazda reaches new heights with the launch of the 4th Generation Mazda Cosmo (Eunos Cosmo), featuring a three-rotor rotary engine for unparalleled performance.
  • June 1991: Mazda 787B Wins the 59th 24 Hours of Le Mans A historic moment! The Mazda 787B makes history by winning the 59th 24 Hours of Le Mans, showcasing the prowess of rotary engines on the global stage.
  • December 1991: 3rd Generation Mazda RX-7 (ɛ̃fini RX-7) Launch Mazda continues to innovate with the launch of the 3rd Generation Mazda RX-7 (ɛ̃fini RX-7), combining style and performance.
  • April 2002: Last Mazda RX-7 Limited Edition Model, Spirit R Series, Launches Mazda bids farewell to the iconic RX-7 with the launch of the last limited edition model, the Spirit R Series, marking the end of an era.
  • April 2003: Mazda RX-8 Launch The rotary legacy lives on! Mazda introduces the Mazda RX-8, showcasing a new chapter in rotary engine technology.
  • November 2011: Last Mazda RX-8 Special Edition Vehicle, Spirit R, Launches Mazda pays homage to the RX-8 with the launch of the last special edition model, the Spirit R, marking the end of the RX-8 era.
  • June 2012: Production of Mazda RX-8 Ends A bittersweet moment as Mazda concludes the production of the RX-8, closing a chapter on the legacy of rotary engine sports cars.
  • June 2023: Production of Mazda MX-30 e-SKYACTIV R-EV Begins Mazda embraces the future with the production of the Mazda MX-30 e-SKYACTIV R-EV, marking a transition towards electric propulsion while maintaining the spirit of innovation.
  • October 2023: Mazda reaches another milestone, producing 2 million total rotary engine vehicles, showcasing the enduring popularity and impact of this revolutionary technology.
  • Mazda’s Legacy Takes a Turn: As the curtain falls on the era of traditional rotary engines, Mazda takes a significant step into the future.

Mazda’s rotary engine timeline is not just a chronicle of technological milestones; it is a narrative of innovation, performance, and the relentless pursuit of automotive excellence. As the rotary engine gracefully bows out, the MX-30 e-SKYACTIV R-EV steps onto the stage, ensuring that Mazda’s legacy of innovation continues to evolve in tune with the times.

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