Escape Reality with the Mazda RX-500

James Walker Mar 27, 2020
Rear three-quarter view of the Mazda RX-500 concept car.||||

Step back in time, if you will, away from pandemic and panic, isolation and toilet paper shortage. 

Back, back, back to 1970. 

Saturday Night Fever, the 1970s.
I know you can hear this GIF.

People are taking Quaaludes. Brown is the hottest colour in the world. Dark Side of the Moon’s coming out in three years. You don’t know that yet, but you can feel that something good’s on its way.

Until it arrives, you’ve got this four-wheeled wonder to trip out on: Mazda’s RX-500 concept car. Like the Floyd album it’s from a future not yet realised.

Front three-quarter view of the Mazda RX-500.

Created in part to celebrate 50 years of Mazda, the RX-500 stuns the world at its Tokyo Motor Show unveiling. 

If you ask a Mazda exec they’ll tell you it’s a rolling test-bed for safety tech. The designers, on the other hand, know in their hearts they’re building a car to compete with the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the world. 

Engine bay of the RX-500 showing its tiny yet powerful rotary engine.
None of your heavy, wasteful V12s here, Mr. Ferrari.

Motivation comes from a mid-mounted 1 litre rota mota which makes 247 horsepower and revs all the way to an ear-bleedingly rapid 15,000 rpm. Top speed is 150 mph thanks to lightweight materials that give a kerb weight of just 1800 lbs.

Rear view of the RX-500 showing the three-colour tail lights that inform cars behind of the driver's intentions.

As for the safety stuff, check out the rear lights. Green tells the cars behind that the RX-500’s accelerating (if their windows shattering from the screaming engine isn’t enough of a clue), yellow means it’s cruising at steady speed, and red of course signifies braking. See, testing safety!

This thing is too cool. A tiny yet powerful engine coupled with retro-future JDM Ferrari Breadvan looks and kitschy 70s tech. What’s not to love?

James Walker

James Walker is a freelance writer with a passion for four-wheeled things and twisty roads.

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