New museum dedicated to Mazda, celebrating everything from the rotary-powered icons to the much-loved family cars of the 1990s, has opened in Germany.
The classic car world is all too often dominated by European and US manufacturers, but in an attempt to balance the scales, a new museum has opened in Germany – dedicated to the Japanese marque Mazda.
Perhaps an unconventional choice, this museum happens to be the first Mazda museum in Europe and indeed the only one outside Japan. And now, as of this month, it’s open to the public.
Frey’s Mazda Classic Car Museum, a project from local Mazda dealer Auto Frey with the support of Mazda Germany, spotlights the carmaker’s near-100 years of defying convention. The centrepiece is an exhibit of 45 vehicles – vintage Mazdas officially sold in Europe.
These are displayed alongside rarities from the Frey family’s extensive private collection. The facility, fittingly located in a refurbished Augsburg tram depot dating from 1897, is also equipped with an expansive event area, restaurant facilities and a gift shop.
Mazda’s Vice President Akira Marumoto commented: ‘Uniquely impressive, the first Mazda museum outside Japan represents a dream come true for the Frey family to share with the public its one-of-a-kind collection of vintage Mazdas from around the world.
‘Everyone at Mazda headquarters is very proud that the Freys are a part of our organisation and have created something so extraordinary.’
The models on display, which include a 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport, 1969 Mazda Luce RX87 and 1992 Mazda RX-7, the top-selling rotary powered model in history, demonstrate how long Mazda has been innovating with different technologies, especially persevering with rotary engines for a great amount of time.
Other highlights include a 1960 Mazda R360, the company’s first mass-produced passenger car, a 1962 Mazda K360 three-wheeled light truck, a 1966 Mazda Familia 1000 coupé, a 1976 Mazda 616, the first model officially offered in Germany starting in 1973, and the Mazda AZ-1, a distinctive mid-engined lightweight sports car from 1992.
But this isn’t a fixed display. The selection will change continually, with additional gems from the Frey’s collection of 120-plus vehicles destined for rotation into the exhibit. The museum will also, no doubt, become a hub for vintage Mazda club meetings and classic car events throughout Europe. And rightly so, this is a display that definitely stands out from the crowd.