Back in the late 60s, a mighty battle was brewing between Mazda, the Japanese automaker and the German NSU. The contest: who would produce the first purpose-built coupe or sedan meant for a Wankel rotary engine. Mazda was the winner by a scant two weeks, but in more ways than one: the NSU Wankel engine in the awkwardly-named Ro 80 was defective and would quickly die after about 15,000 miles, if you were lucky. The 1966 Mazda Cosmo 110S had none of these reliability issues, was a commercial success and remained in production, essentially unchanged, until 1972.
The 2-liter, twin-rotor Wankel rotary engine of the Cosmo 110S delivered 110 horsepower to the rear wheels, through a five-speed manual transmission. It was good for a 115 miles per hour top speed, and could accelerate to 60 mph in 10.2 seconds. Mazda even introduced technical improvements to the engine that boosted low-end torque, always a problem with Wankel engines, as well as reduce low-speed fuel consumption, which is the major problem of this type of engine.
Custom built for the engine, the 1966 Mazda Cosmo 110S was low and sleek, taking full advantage of the smaller engine size and reduced weight; it was a smooth driving, fast car with much to offer.