The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum

15-16 February 2013

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Lot 308

1962 Mazda R-360 Coupe

  • ID No. 1082

Sold for $28,750

An exceptionally well-documented example.

Manufacturer: Toyo Kogyo Co.
Origin: Hiroshima, Japan
Production: 23,417
Motor: Mazda 2-cyl., 4-stroke
Displacement: 356 cc
Power: 11 hp
Length: 9 ft. 10 in.
Identification No. 1082

By 1960, Japan was on the upward swing of an economic recovery. Car manufacture had been reinstated in 1949, and this increased competition meant that wholesalers and retailers had to speed up delivery by using private trucks of all sizes. Three-wheeler work trucks and delivery vehicles had become particularly symbolic of the nation’s recovery. Incomes were increasing, the tourist bus business flourished, and ownership of a private car became a national dream. Car production was strictly government-regulated through a series of engine displacement categories, which encouraged manufacturers to get the maximum performance within each category. The small-displacement categories were particularly well suited to Japan’s narrow roads and high-density urban areas. Yet, cars were expensive and hard to come by.

Mazda launched its R-360 on May 28, 1960, to great acclaim. First of all, the price was within reach. At 300,000 yen, this sophisticated little car could not remotely compare with the scooter-like Fuji Cabin, for which 230,000 yen was being asked. Technically very advanced, it featured a monocoque body with light alloy parts, making it, at 840 pounds, the lightest car on the market. Suspension was independent rubber-in-torsion on all corners. The engine was the first four-stroke to be used by a car in this micro-class, meaning better fuel economy than the two-strokes. It used a number of magnesium alloy parts for weight-saving. The gearbox was a four-speed with an unheard-of optional automatic transmission. In fact, it was the first car ever produced in the country with a torque converter. The styling was superb, a jaunty, stylish mix of form and function. Proportions are extremely well handled for such a small car, with a subtle tilt-back of the coupe section giving it a somewhat perky attitude.

It was so highly regarded that a week before its launch there were orders for 4,500 cars in hand, and as a result, the R-360 would be in production for six years. Its advanced design and careful attention to refinement and detail provided a solid base for all of Mazda’s future car production and pointed the way for the entire Japanese auto industry.

This car is a very good, original, unrestored example finished in the body/roof two-tone characteristic of the model. Interesting details appear everywhere, from the triangular buried taillights through to the flat lie-down parking lamps contrasting with the stand-up larger lamps and the speedometer pod above the steering column. It is indeed a very significant car and was purchased from a well-respected collector in Germany. As a one-owner car, he had the original photos of the car upon delivery, as well as its original owner’s manuals, service books, and other impeccable, extraordinary documentation. There is most certainly no other Mazda R-360 as well documented as this one.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Sotheby's in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in Histo... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby's in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born ... read more

Annette Abaci

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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California, United States

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Max Girardo

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Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more