Japanese automotive manufacturer Mazda celebrates its centenary this year, and has released details of its early vehicle manufacturing – a 250cc two-stroke motorcycle.
The company was initially a cork maker, named Toyo Cork Kogyo, but in 1929 started work on a prototype motorcycle.
In Japan at the time, motorcycle racing was popular and in Hiroshima (where Mazda’s headquarters are), the sport was a regular attraction at a memorial service called Chinkon-no Matsuri, commemorating war dead. Most of the motorcycles raced were imported.
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Mazda (then still Toyo Kogyo Co Ltd) began development of its prototype in 1929. In October 1930, Toyo Kogyo’s motorcycle, powered by a 250cc two-stroke engine, entered the races at Chinkon-no Matsuri. To everyone’s surprise, it won.
Mazda produced 30 motorcycles in 1930, sold with a trademark designed by combining the company emblem and ‘Toyo Kogyo’ letterings.
In 1931, Toyo Kogyo soon shifted its focus to production of three-wheel, motorcycle-based (think Harley-Davidson Servicar) truck, the Mazda-go, though it seems perhaps there were some two-wheeled examples of that too, as the second picture shows.
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