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    58 301 km / 36 227 mi
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Chassis No. PG6SA101694

In the late 1980s, Mazda's diversification of its sales channels in the Japanese domestic market encompassed the launch of three new marques: Ɛ̃fini, Eunos, and Autozam. Amidst Autozam's lineup of inexpensive and compact "Kei" cars – a low road tax vehicle category with restrictions on displacement and dimensions – was a mid-engined, turbocharged, gullwing-doored sports car. The Autozam AZ-1, which had begun life as a Suzuki concept car in the mid-1980s, was reimagined by Toshihiko Hirai, father of the Mazda MX-5, and entered production in October 1992.

The AZ-1's cheerful styling was a scaled-down amalgamation of the most exotic sports car designs of the day, featuring the Ferrari Testarossa's straked side intakes and gullwing doors resembling those of the DeLorean DMC-12. Its sporting character was carried inside with vibrant upholstery, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and white-faced instruments. Facing competition from Honda's Beat and Suzuki's Cappuccino, the AZ-1 was the most advanced and expensive of the three, featuring a tube frame chassis with aluminum honeycomb bulkheads dressed in fiberglass body panels. With a diminutive curb weight of just 1,587 pounds, its mid-mounted 63 horsepower three-cylinder turbo engine provided just enough punch for a delightful, tire-screeching driving experience. However, its ¥1.49 million Japanese yen price tag (approximately $12,000) made the AZ-1 a hard sell over the slightly more expensive, but nearly twice as powerful MX-5. Compounded by a severe economic recession in Japan prior to its launch, Mazda sold fewer than 4,500 examples over a two-year period.

This Autozam AZ-1, was reportedly purchased from an importer by Keith Martin, editor of Sports Car Market in early 2018, who said of his time with the car, "During its time with SCM, it became everyone's favorite car, both for its striking gullwing doors and its high fun-factor as a driver." The uncommon Kei car was acquired to be part of a memorable drive down the Pacific Coast from Portland, Oregon to Monterey, California for that year's Monterey Motorsports Reunion. While underway the car suffered a head gasket issue during the trip. It has since been repaired with a new head gasket, spark plugs, and aftermarket blowoff valve, later changing hands in April 2019.

Today, the AZ-1 is presented with numerous performance-inspired modifications including white-painted RAYS alloy wheels, aftermarket rocker panels, and a body-color rear spoiler. Service performed under previous ownership is said to have included bleeding the brake system, replacing the oil pan gasket, and installing larger sway bars, stainless steel brake lines, and an aftermarket exhaust system in January 2020. Showing 58,301 kilometers on the odometer at the time of cataloging, this uncommon Japanese-market sports car promises to deliver many mid-engined thrills to its next owner.

Addendum & Administrative Notes

Due to California emissions laws, please note that this vehicle may only be sold to an out-of-state resident for use outside of California or to a licensed automotive dealer.

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