Capella Part 1: (First- to third-generation models)
Mazda launched the first-generation Capella, in May 1970. It was available in two configurations — a two-door coupe and four-door sedan. It also had two engine options — the newly developed 12A two-rotor rotary engine and a 1,600cc reciprocating engine.
With the Capella, Mazda aimed to surpass the manufacturing capabilities of Volkswagen and, to do so, put together a project team of 300 personnel. The use of aerodynamic analysis gave the Capella jet fighter-like sporty and dynamic performance combined with a stylish and fantastic appearance.The design was truly inspired by jet fighters: its front grille had a sharp, horizontal hexagonal shape that resembled a jet air duct.
The first-generation Capella took the world by storm with its outstanding power and innovative design. It became affectionately known to its many fans as 'Kaze no Capella' (Capella, the wind). Mazda introduced a rotary engine version with an automatic transmission (RE Matic) in October 1971. The second-generation Capella was launched in February 1974. Amid mounting environmental awareness, it came suitably equipped with Mazda's Anti Pollution engine.
An international car
The third-generation Capella was introduced in October 1978 as ‘a well-balanced high quality family car for the global market.’ The aerodynamic performance that had been so highly rated on the first-generation model was further refined by a hood that was set as low as possible and sloped right down to the front grille. The hardtop boasted a drag coefficient of just 0.38, which was groundbreaking at the time.
The third-generation Capella paved the way for Mazda's global expansion, and substantially enhanced awareness of the brand, especially in Europe.
The third-generation Capella
Development of the Capella drew heavily from the concept of ‘super engineering.’ This refers to the practice of taking multiple functions that are fundamentally difficult to combine, and developing each to a high level without sacrificing any of the others. This approach is still evident in Mazda's car building today.