Story of an unconventional carmaker
Bringing alive the illustrious history of an unconventional carmaker from Hiroshima, the first Mazda museum in Europe – and indeed the only one outside Japan – opened its doors this May in Augsburg, Germany. Frey’s Mazda Classic Car Museum, a project from local Mazda dealer Auto Frey with the support of Mazda Germany, spotlights the carmaker’s almost 100 years of defying convention. The centrepiece is an exhibit of 45 vehicles – vintage Mazdas officially sold in Europe as well as models only available elsewhere, including a number of rarities from the Frey family’s extensive private collection. The facility, fittingly located in a refurbished Augsburg tram depot dating from 1897, is also equipped with an expansive event area, restaurant facilities and a gift shop. ‘Uniquely impressive, the first Mazda museum outside Japan represents a dream come true for the Frey family to share with the public its one-of-a-kind collection of vintage Mazdas from around the world,’ commented Mazda Motor Corporation Executive Vice President Akira Marumoto.
The models on display, which include a 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport, 1969 Mazda Luce RX87 and 1992 Mazda RX-7, the top-selling rotary powered model in history, demonstrate how long Mazda has been combining innovative technology with stunning designs in the name of driving joy. Other highlights include a 1960 Mazda R360, the company’s first mass-produced passenger car, a 1962 Mazda K360 three-wheeled light truck, a 1966 Mazda Familia 1000 coupé, a 1976 Mazda 616, the first model officially offered in Germany starting in 1973, and the Mazda AZ-1, a distinctive mid-engined lightweight sports car from 1992. The selection will change continually, too, with additional gems from the Frey’s collection of 120-plus vehicles destined for rotation into the exhibit. Operators also hope the venue will become a hub for vintage Mazda club meetings and classic car events in general.