Mazda R100 / Familia Presto Rotary

The Mazda R100 was 1 of the first cars to be powered by the Mazda Rotary Engine. Named the R100 after its engine displacement of only 1000CC the Mazda R100 was fitted with the 10A engine. Produced from 1968 - 1973 the R100 was known in the Japanese Domestic Market as the Familia. The home market version like many other vehicles had unique features not found on export market vehicles.

Mazda decided fairly quickly to take this small coupe out racing and in April 1969 the vehicle was entered in the Singapore Grand Prix. The idea would be to eventually enter into European racing, it would also be a good way to test the 10A motor in motorsport which was capable of a very healthy and respectable 195BHP at 9000rpm an almost unheard of performance figure for its day.

Originally a megaphone muffler set up was planned for the car, but this was soon changed after discovering that cracks appeared in practice as a result of the rotary engine's characteristic exhaust note, which is something any Mazda enthusiast is sure to be familiar with. The R100 stormed to Victory after changing to a stainless steel straight pipe set up.

Mazda also raced the R100 in the Suzuka All-Japan Grand Cup, where it easily beat the competition.

In Australia and New Zealand the R100 has become an icon for rotary enthusiasts and prices have been creeping up over the past few years. Whilst many examples were modified and fitted with later rotary engines such as 12A, 13B and even 20B motors, a few surviving original cars are still out there and their prices have been gaining traction. Finding a rust free example can be somewhat difficult and obtaining parts can be an expensive exercise.

In the United States the vehicle went on sale and was fairly popular at the time. At first however sales would be limited to North Western states.

Its also worth mentioning that the R100 also shared the same body shell as the Mazda 1200 Coupe and many "clones" now exist.

For its time the Mazda R100 was very well equipped, featuring a large 8000rpm tachometer with, wood grain steering wheel. Standard radial tyres, with large diammeter disc brakes up front. Its turning circle was only 27 feet with coil springs fitted to the front and leaf springs on the rear.

In Australia it sold for a mere $2,790 brand new, an absolute steel for the time.