Long before the Japanese car industry became a global player, local manufacturers displayed amazing levels of engineering ingenuity and forward thinking. In post-war Japan, technology and materials were scarce, so engineers needed to find innovative ways of producing automobiles. When Japan became one of the global players in the automotive field, the spirit of innovation became even more apparent.
Japanese manufacturers encouraged their designers to produce advanced concepts to gain an advantage in the highly competitive car industry. Over the years, the Japanese car industry produced numerous interesting and even quirky cars. In most cases, the cars were examples of the different approaches. But sometimes those models were crazy, funny and insane vehicles. To illustrate that fact, here is a list of the best Japanese production cars to show you just how outrageous Japanese car companies can be sometimes.
Interestingly, all these cars are regular production models. In fact, they produced some of these beauties in big numbers, officially selling them in the U.S. So, keep reading to learn fascinating facts about some Japanese offerings like Kei Cars, those micro automobiles that deliver a massive amount of fun.
Mazda 1100 S Cosmo
Back in the ’60s, the biggest news among car engineers was the Wankel rotary engine. It was an innovative concept of a single piston engine lighter and smaller than conventional units. However, it came with more power and revving capacity, captivating the imaginations of the major car manufacturers. So in 1967, one of the first companies to introduce the engine in mass production was Mazda.
And they did so with their little sports coupe, the 110 S Cosmo. This was a sharp looking two-seater with a modern design. It came with a tiny 982cc engine with 110 or 130 HP in later versions. Since the car was extremely small and light, the performance was vivid, especially for the standards of the day.
They imported the Mazda 110 S Cosmo to America, but the reception was nonexistent. Mazda was a new name to American consumers. Also, the Wankel-powered two-seater at a Corvette price was a hard thing to sell. That is why they only made around 1,300 cars. And those left-hand Cosmos are rare today. However, this little sports car showed how those Japanese engineers pulled off such an advanced, innovative concept.