Mazda’s entry to the automobile industry in Japan began with a motorcycle
In case you did not know, Mazda was founded as a cork manufacturing company in Japan in 1920. What made Mazda enter the automobile industry? A prototype motorcycle that the company began development back in 1929!
(250cc 2-stroke engine proto-type bike produced in 1929)
In Japan, motorcycle racing at that time was at the height of its popularity. In Hiroshima, the motor racing was a regular attraction at a memorial service called “Chinkon-no Matsuri” for the war dead. Most of the motorcycles were either an import or built in Japan with imported parts.
Mazda or Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. as the company was known back then, wanted to make a domestic motorcycle, and the company really meant it. Toyo Kogyo began development of prototype in 1929. In October 1930, Toyo Kogyo’s own motorcycle powered by the 250cc 2-stroke engine entered the motor racing at “Chinkon-no Matsuri”. To everyone’s surprise, the Toyo Kogyo motorcycle beat the British-made Ariel, which was a firm favorite, and won the race at its very first attempt. The Ariel was one of the most popular motorcycle manufacturers in the world and was commonly seen in Japan.
Mazda went on to produce thirty motorcycle units in the same year, sold with a trademark designed by combining the company emblem and “TOYO KOGYO” letterings. Each motorcycle was priced at 350 to 380 Japanese yen at that time (In the current value, it would be around US$ 31.8K to 34.5K, assuming that 1JPY at the time corresponds to 10,000JPY today)
(Trademark used for motorcycle)
Following the success it had with motorcycle, Toyo Kogyo soon shifted its focus to production of three-wheel truck. So Mazda’s history of motorcycle began and ended with those thirty units. You could say, entering the race with a just-completed motorcycle and winning the race marked a glorious beginning of Mazda’s motor sports heritage.
And then, the sea breaks through. Here we are at last: Cabo de la Vela, or the Cape of Sails, where the conquistadors first made landfall in 1499, and where the Wayuu believe the souls of their ancestors still live on. There’s a sense of peace as we stare out over the open water, with the golden sun slowly dipping into the horizon – and triumph, too: we’ve made it to the top of the continent. The Mazda6 has been a real champ, taking everything we threw at it, while Colombia has been spectacular — a beautiful land and people that deserve all the joy they can get.
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