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.
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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