The one-off Mazda made famous by Matchbox


Sumary of The one-off Mazda made famous by Matchbox:

  • In October 1970 Mazda unveiled the radically angular and streamlined RX500 concept car at the 17th Tokyo Motor Show..
  • The start of the new decade also marked the company’s 50th Anniversary and the RX500 was a bold statement of Mazda’s engineering and design ambition..
  • It looked like a car from a different planet to the Cosmo, Luce and R100 rotary production cars on sale at the time – the wedge shaped supercar had forward opening butterfly swing doors, while its 250ps 10A rotary engine was accessed by gullwing opening engine covers..
  • Given its head-turning design it was hardly surprising that the space-age RX500 generated strong media interest worldwide..
  • Famous British toy car makers Matchbox recognized the potential of the RX500 and included it in its ‘Superfast program’ – a response to the 1968 introduction of Hot Wheels by Mattel, which featured thin axles and new wheels that made them faster and more fun to play with..
  • Matchbox’s largest sales market at the time was the United States and Matchbox was looking for futuristic fantasy and concept cars that would appeal to children in America..
  • The RX500 perfectly matched these requirements, and with a lot of interest in Mazda and the rotary engine in Europe as well, it was no wonder that the orange Matchbox RX500, introduced in 1971 as the MB66, immediately became a global bestseller..
  • The development of a prototype designed to research the behavior of plastic vehicle bodies and driving dynamics at speeds of over 125mph had been initiated as early as 1968 under the codename X810….

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