First-Generation Cosmo AP — Mazda's Premium Specialty Car
Mazda's first premium specialty car was named Cosmo AP after the first Mazda rotary-engine car, the Cosmo Sport. Designed with a strong American flavor, its two-door coupe styling and vertically-lined radiator grille were unconventional for a Japanese car. Highlighted by striking red body paint, the Cosmo AP immediately grabbed the spotlight when it went on sale. The Japanese fashionista and sophisticate, Keiko Usami, was hired to appear in the television commercials.
First-Generation Cosmo AP
The Cosmo AP arrived in 1975, just after the first oil shock. In response to the austere times, it offered low fuel consumption and high performance. It was also the first vehicle to pass Japan's 1976 exhaust emissions regulations. In recognition, the letters AP, meaning "anti-pollution," were added to its name.
Sales passed 20,000 units in less than six months, a high volume for a premium grade car. And in early 1976, just three months after its launch, the Cosmo AP was named Car of the Year by Motor Fan Magazine. Winning this award in so short a time highlighted its outstanding product value. The Cosmo L was added to the lineup in 1977. Its leather-covered landau roof further emphasized the premium feel.
Second-Generation Cosmo — Pursuit of Aerodynamic Design
In 1981, the second generation Cosmo was rolled out. It was available as either a sporty two-door or a more stately four-door coupe. In order to optimize aerodynamics, it featured retractable four-beam headlamps, a low bonnet and a thin radiator grille. The two-door model boasted a world-class coefficient of drag (Cd) value of just 0.32.
Third-Generation Cosmo — World Leading Technology
Three-rotor rotary engine
The Eunos Cosmo, the third-generation version of Mazda's Cosmo, was introduced in 1990. It was the world's first mass-production vehicle equipped with a three-rotor rotary engine and a sequential twin turbocharger*. This was the most powerful engine made at the time in Japan, with maximum power at 280ps and maximum torque at 41.0 kg-m. The Eunos Cosmo was well ahead of its time, employing the world's first mobile communication system that included a global positioning system (GPS).
* A combination of two turbos that supercharge the engine at both low and high rpm.