Weekend Edition – The Affectionate Punch: 1970 Mazda RX500 Concept


This weekend’s Weekend Edition showcases my favorite Japanese concept cars from past decades. I’m writing my posts on a train to Tampere, Finland, and since the Finnish train service is slow and unreliable, I need to look at some desirable rare metal to keep my wits about me.

Note: the titles on these posts are from the Scottish new wave band The Associates‘ line of work, as their ’80s albums have been on heavy rotation in my car recently. Don’t let them confuse you.

The rotary-engined Mazda RX500 concept was originally displayed in 1970, at the 17th Tokyo Motor Show. It’s too cool for words, but I’ll do my best.


The RX500 could’ve come straight from my school-time doodles. The rakish front, the level breadvan rear, the 1970s spaceship design: it’s immensely cool. Add two-tone paint and chrome wheels, and it’s a winner.

The doors on the RX500 were a forward-swinging butterfly design.



Yeah, it is rather proud of the power plant choice. The rear lights are an interesting treatment, and I quote conceptcarz:

“Capable of hitting 125mph, the RX 500 featured a rotary engine that was mounted forward of the rear axles. The car also had multi colored lights at the back end which indicated whether the car was speeding up, braking or even running at a constant speed. The green lights at the top would be lit up when you were accelerating, and when you were cruising, the yellow lights would come on and the red brake lights came on progressively depending on how hard you braked.”



The Mazda also reminds me of the diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz speed record cars, like the C111, but this is somewhat cooler in my opinion. Have I made that completely clear?

[Photos: Tennen-Gas/Morio, Wikimedia]

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15 responses to “Weekend Edition – The Affectionate Punch: 1970 Mazda RX500 Concept”

  1. HSA Avatar

    Cool beyond words.

  2. longrooffan Avatar

    I agree with you and HSA. This is the first time I have been aware of this concept and damn, it is sweet. Hell, it's a longroof. What more can I say?

  3. Number_Six Avatar

    Amused as always, Antti.

  4. dukeisduke Avatar

    Oh boy, do I remember that – I always thought it was cooler than the C111.

  5. craigsu Avatar

    That windshield wiper assembly could have been sourced from my school bus.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      I was thinking more Airbus than school bus, but it's an impressive unit.

  6. smokyburnout Avatar

    They could be prouder of their engine.
    <img src="http://bitcast-a.v1.dfw1.bitgravity.com/nightmobile/cars/images2/110000/0/900/110952.jpg&quot; />

    1. Alff Avatar

      It isn't surprising to me that Subaru drivers tend to be Democrats.

  7. wisc47 Avatar

    This car reminds me of a real-life Hotwheels. Why can't we have more stuff like this in the world?

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Thinking back, I think I had a Matchbox 'Fastwheels' of one of these in orange.

      1. KoshNaranek Avatar

        I remember it as well. I actually bought this particular matchbox three times because I scratched the paint on them and wanted a pristine one. It was model number 66, and yes it was orange.
        I no longer have one. (Sniff)

  8. Alff Avatar

    Wow, I had forgotten all about this. As a kid, I thought this was the best idea ever.

  9. Maymar Avatar

    I had no idea this existed, so I do thank you for introducing it to my life. Rotary Breadvan is undeniably cool.
    Also, those taillights are a pretty fantastic idea – I wouldn't mind seeing that sort of thing implemented on production cars.

  10. BobWellington Avatar

    That is simply an incredible design. Just imagine driving that around. Life would be complete.

  11. TDI_FTW Avatar

    I only see one problem with this car and that is that I won't be able to see those awesome lights light up when I accelerate.
    So much win in this car!

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