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1970 Mazda Cosmo

By: Alex Bellus
It’s not every day you get to see a Mazda Cosmo. In fact, with only 1,176 Cosmos ever built, most people go their entire lives without ever seeing one. Making it rarer still, the Cosmo was never officially imported into the US and it’s estimated that there are less than a dozen or so of these iconic Japanese sports cars in the country today. It’s no surprise that despite its initial price of $4,390 USD in 1968, well-maintained Cosmos regularly sell for over $100,000 when they do occasionally come up for sale today.

But aside from its rarity, there are plenty of other things that make the Cosmo unique: most notably, the fact that it was the first rotary-engined “production” car. The small, smooth-revving engine suited the 2,000-lb car well, producing 128 horsepower from a paltry 1.0-liter engine. It immediately became Mazda’s flagship vehicle, the spirit of which laid the groundwork for the renowned RX7 that really put Mazda on the map.

This particular example, came into Minnesota by way of Morrie’s Heritage Car Connection after purchasing the car in an auction on bringatrailer.com. Although this recently restored example won’t be joining the other 32 vehicles in MHCC’s rental fleet, it will serve as a halo vehicle for the collection, bringing attention to the program wherever it goes. Unlike the majority of Mazda Cosmos out there that are stored year-round in climate controlled warehouses and rarely driven, this car arrived with almost 47,000 miles on the odometer, a number that will surely creep up as the car gets driven to various events this summer.

So in order to protect the beautiful condition that the vehicle arrived in, it was Glisten Detailing’s job to perform a full paint correction followed by a Ceramic Pro coating. Now the car glistens like never before and is able to withstand years of enjoyment. The car arrived fully functional and in proper form, except for one major detail: the Cosmo had excessive paint all across the car. This often happens when a car receives a new paint job, in this case, during its restoration. The excessive paint can bunch up in places and create what looks like “orange peel” all across the surface. The texture refracts the light in all of the wrong ways, significantly reducing the amount of gloss on the vehicle. Needless to say, Glisten Detailing resorted to the meticulous task of wet sanding the entire vehicle by hand. This process is the most aggressive, most time consuming, most “end all be all” of detailing services. After a proper wet sand, every removable defect in the Cosmo’s paint was gone. The paint was brought to perfection, as well as a full polish of all the bright work. In the end, nearly eighty man hours were spent taking this already gorgeous car from a 10 to an 11. The Cosmo with its non-factory paint, received a 5 Year Ceramic Pro Silver Package to give it the best chance to remain in museum quality condition for years. The Cosmo is currently on display at Morrie’s Mazda in Minnetonka, Minnesota.