Mazda's MX Models Go Far Beyond The Miata

Concept / Comments

Some of them were never put into production.

Mazda's naming scheme has changed pretty significantly over its 100-year history. In more recent memory, sedans have a number with a 'Mazda' prefix, the SUVs are dubbed CX, rotary models are called RX, and MX is reserved for sporty halo models like the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata. In the United States, at least, the Miata has been the only MX-branded model for quite some time now but Mazda recently expanded the MX portfolio with a new range-extender electric car called the MX-30.

Deliveries of the Mazda MX-30 will begin in the UK starting in early 2021 with pre-orders for the 500 First Edition examples open now. As Mazda's MX portfolio is set to double, the company wanted to take an opportunity to remind fans of the nameplate's history by releasing some cool photos from its archives. There are a few MX-branded models in there that even we forgot about.

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Mazda

Mazda says that the MX prefix is only given to a vehicle that "takes on a challenge to create and deliver new values without being confined by convention regardless of vehicle type." The original Miata back in 1989 certainly met these criteria as it defied industry norms by reviving the idea of a classic rear-wheel-drive roadster. The entire fourth-generation Miata family is obviously shown in the images along with several concepts like the MX-5 Speedster, MX-5 Spyder, and MX-5 Superlight.

There are also plenty of concepts that were never put into production, some of which look pretty amazing. The first car to ever wear the MX badge was a 1981 concept car called the MX-81 Aria (pictured below in orange). It was created by Italian design house Bertone, who used Mazda 323 running gear to build a futuristic wedge-shaped hatchback.

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Mazda followed the MX-81 with the 1983 MX-02, a flat-sided five-door hatchback. Then there was our favorite of the bunch, the 1985 Mazda MX-03 (pictured above in silver). This was a two-door sports coupe powered by a 310-horsepower triple rotor engine. The 1987 rotary-powered MX-04 was a bit different than its predecessors because it offered two sets of removable fiberglass panels, allowing it to transform from a glass dome roofed coupe to a beach buggy roadster.

None of these concepts ever reached production but only a few years later, the MX-5 debuted and shocked the world. For a few short years, Mazda also offered the Mazda MX-3, a four-seat coupe hatchback, and the MX-6, a premium coupe. Both of these cars were powered by tiny, sweet-sounding V6 engines.

But some of the company's most recent MX concepts did go on to reach production in other forms. The 2001 MX-Sport Tourer eventually became the Mazda5, the 2002 MX-Sport Runabout and 2003 MX-Sportif became the Mazda 2 and Mazda3 respectively, and the 2005 MX-Crossport eventually became the CX-7.

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