Mazda Roadpacer AP



Pictured above; The Mazda Roadpacer


The Mazda Roadpacer AP was a unique rotary powered car sold in Japan from 1975 to 1977. Many Australians would recognise this car as a Holden HJ Kingswood, this is because the body for the Roadpacer was fully imported from Australia.

How a rotary powered Australian car made it to the Japanese car market is an interesting story. By the mid 70s Mazda's Wankel rotary engine was now a very much reliable engine that Mazda has sunk millions into
developing. General Motors was looking at putting a rotary into their Corvette at the time and had contacted Mazda with views of obtaining some of their technology, at the time Mazda also wanted a larger luxury car to sell in Japan so GM offered Mazda their closest RHD Car available the Holden Kingswood Premier.

The Premiers design dated back to 1970 and it engine dated back to the early 60s, this is one reason why Mazda shoved their rotary under the bonnet, another good reason was there was tax advantages in putting a smaller capacity local engine in the car and on paper the 13B rotary would be an adequate replacement.

In reality the Roadpacer was a disaster, the Holden was a heavy car and the motor was not a suitable match for it and its 3 speed auto, also the Holden had poor build quality that was made worse by the extra gadgets that were tacked on by Mazda in order to turn it into a more luxurious car. The Japanese public saw straight through this overpriced poor performing luxury car in favor of more Japanese style cars. By 1977 the oil crisis had hit hard and less than 900 fuel thirsty Roadpacers were sold before the project was cancelled at around the same time GM lost interest in the rotary engine. Shortly after Ford bought a 25% share of Mazda in order to bail them out and the rotary was pulled from every Mazda model except for the RX/7 that was launched in 1979. Holden's 6 Cylinder premier remained in production until the early 1980s when a smaller replacement, the Commodore, took over as Holden's main family sized car.

The Premiers longer wheelbase luxury brother the V8 Statesman was modernized in 1981 and despite a new rear end treatment and new front lights and grill that really improved the look of the car, there was no hiding the fact that the car underneath was a 15 year old design with production ending in 1985.

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Did You Know?

Rudolf Diesel invented the Diesel engine in 1892. Diesel demonstrated it at the 1900 World's Fair using peanut oil. Today environmentally friendly fuels made from vegetable oils are called bio-diesel.



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