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Mazda Cosmo and other Japanese classics at Monterey

RM Sotheby's will be selling some extremely interesting Japanese classics, including a Mazda Cosmo and Toyota 2000GT, at its Monterey auction

If confirmation were needed that the world’s collectors are beginning to take Japanese classics very seriously, it will come at RM’s Monterey sale in August, when a 1967 Toyota 2000GT will be offered alongside automotive bluebloods including a Ferrari 250LM as part of the so-called Pinnacle Portfolio. The auction will also feature a ’68 Land Cruiser FJ40, a very rare 73 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R ‘Kenmeri’, and, most intriguingly, a ’71 Mazda Cosmo.

While the 2000GT was an interpretation of the European Sports Car, the quirky Cosmo was as Japanese as karaoke, an answer to questions that simply weren’t being asked outside Japan. On its launch in 1967, it became the first production car to be powered by a twin-rotor rotary engine, and its unconventional, smooth 982cc powerplant was a genuine competitive advantage, since it offered the sort of oomph otherwise available only from much larger (and thus more heavily taxed) piston engines.

By the time the Series 2 car arrived in 1968, Mazda’s engineers had found a way to coax a full 128bhp from the Wankel unit, and with a five-speed gearbox, servo-assisted brakes, larger wheels and a longer wheelbase the Cosmo had become a genuinely capable touring machine. Very few of the 1519 cars built (that number doesn’t include the pre-production cars) ever tasted foreign tarmac, however, and indeed the car set to be sold by RM Sotheby’s only recently arrived in the USA following a beautifully executed restoration at home.

Following that overhaul, chassis L10B-11120 has been valued at $200,000-250,000, which might sound a lot if you’ve not been following the Cosmo’s progress over the last year. The top auction price for a Cosmo to date is $264,000, achieved last summer; only six months earlier a good car could be had for a fifth of that sum. The sun has well and truly risen on this Japanese classic.

View the original Mazda Cosmo listing here, or take a look at all of the cars offered at Monterey here.

Mazda Cosmo Classifieds

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