The MAZDA 929 COUPÉ – With the flagship model to Europe
Mazda celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Such a round jubilee is always an opportunity to revisit some past brand treasures, such as the Mazda 929 coupé from the first LA2 series. The 323 or the MX-5 is well known through all generations, even the later 929 models could be spotted on the street sometimes. The first generation is rarely seen though. For argument’s sake it should be mentioned that the 100 years of Mazda do not feel like a full century in these climes, since Mazda only made the leap to Germany in the early 70s.
MAZDA 929 – COURAGEOUS LEAP TO EUROPE
With the middle class model Mazda 929, which had actually been on the market since 1972, the first attempt to tap into the European market was only launched in 1977. The 929 was available as a saloon, spacious estate and coupé. However, the estate car was not supposed to make its way to Europe, the other two variants were reserved for opening up new markets.
Other manufacturers also had to experience how difficult it is to find footing in a new market – especially in Europe. In this context, the upper middle class is perhaps even more demanding than the compact car class. To get an Italian customer off his Lancia Flavia, to get French people to switch from their Citroën SM or Germans from their Mercedes-Benz S-Class, you have to do a lot of convincing – and also need quite a bit of luck.
MAZDA 929 COUPÉ – JAPANESE TECHNOLOGY, ITALIAN DESIGN
The Mazda 929 LA2 also brought a few charms with it, especially the coupé designed by Bertone. Elegant, sporty lines that were able to meet both European and American tastes. In addition Mazda was not as stingy with the standard equipment as some German manufacturers for example.
The engine certainly could have used a little more steam, but altogether the rock solid 1.8 liter four-cylinder in-line engine does its job under the 929’s elongated bonnet. Although the 83hp do not ensure a top sporting performance, the 1.140kg coupé still reaches 60mph in 8.5 seconds. At 100mph, however, propulsion comes to an end.
The Mazda 929 coupé from 1974 was kindly made available by Mazda Classic – Automobil Museum Frey.
Photos and video Christian Böhm / Mazda Motor Europe GmbH
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