2020 is a watershed year for Mazda — it’s the year in which the Japanese automaker celebrates its 100 year anniversary. To that end, the company revealed a range of special edition models to mark the occasion, and they’ll at least be available in Japan. Mazda did not announce whether all these models would make it to the U.S. yet, but we could see the MX-5 sport a “100 Years” badge, if nothing else.
If you’re not a Mazda enthusiast like some of the TFL staff — not naming any names — you’ll know there aren’t any 1920s Mazda cars to speak of. In fact, the company didn’t start off as an automaker. Instead, Mazda’s saga began in the work of cork manufacturing, and the Toyo Cork Kogyo Company (yes, it wasn’t called “Mazda” back then either) was founded in Hiroshima, Japan in 1920. Eleven years later, in 1931, the company moved into manufacturing vehicles with the “Mazda-Go”. That was what’s called an auto rockshaw, a three-wheel motorcycle-based vehicle you might otherwise recognize as a tuk-tuk.
Finally, Mazda’s first car emerged in 1960 — the R360 pictured above. This is the tiny kei car that kicked off a legacy for some of the most iconic sports cars in history, and it’s the car from which all the 100-year anniversary models draw their inspiration.
To celebrate 100 years, Mazda is offering special-edition models across its entire lineup. That includes the MX-5 Miata as the best spiritual successor to the R360, naturally. However, you can also get a special edition Mazda3, Mazda6, CX-3, CX-30, CX-5 and CX-9. Since the launch focuses on the Japanese market, at least at first, the treatment also extends to the market-specific “CX-8” and it appears the electric MX-30 crossover as well. Now, we won’t see either of those last two models here in the U.S. anytime soon. Sticking with the 100-year anniversary shtick, though, any of the other models could be fair game for a U.S. launch.
Naturally, if that happens any 100th Anniversary Special Edition models would be available in limited quantities. The limited-run models are on sale in Japan through March 2021.