Mazda MX5 Cars - From idea to production Part 1

Mazda MX5 Cars - From idea to production

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In 1976, Bob Hall, a journalist at Motor Trend magazine who was an expert in Japanese cars and fluent in the language, met Kenichi Yamamoto and Gai Arai head of Research and Development at Mazda.

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In 1981, Bob Hall moved to a product planning position with Mazda US and again met Kenichi Yamamoto, now chairman of Mazda Motors, who remembered their conversation about a roadster and gave Hall the go-ahead to research the idea further. At this time Bob Hall hired designer Mark Jordan to join the newly formed Mazda design studio in Southern California. There, He and Bob collaborated on the parameters of the initial image, proportion and visualization of the "light-weight sports" concept. In 1983, the idea turned concept was approved under the "Offline 55" program, an internal Mazda initiative that sought to change the way new models were developed. Thus, under head of project Masakatsu, the concept development was turned into a competition between the Mazda design teams in Tokyo and California.

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The California team proposed a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, codenamed Duo 101, in line with the British roadster ancestry, but their Japanese counterparts favored the more common front-engine, front-wheel drive layout or the rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout.