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1 Of 1,058! 1970 Mazda 1800 Sedan


You can be excused for glancing at this car and seeing Alfa, BMW or Lancia lines; the “Luce” was designed by Giugiaro when he was working for Bertone. Although the lines changed slightly (for example, the raised areas on the hood were to accommodate a larger engine than originally anticipated) the general clean appearance persisted, even through US federalization requirements. This particular 1800 is located in San Diego, California and is for sale here on craigslist. No price was given in the advertisement as the seller is looking for offers. In other words, they don’t know what it’s worth, either!


While the rear window is not currently installed, the seller has a replacement o ne along with a new window seal. With only 1,058 1800 sedans imported into the US in 1970, there can’t be many left. The lukewarm reception had to do with the sluggish performance, with 0-60 coming up in 17.5 seconds and a 20.5 second quarter-mile time. Unfortunately, the hotter rotary-engined version wasn’t available outside of Japan, and it appears the two-door coupe version wasn’t imported either.


The airy greenhouse (even after the rear window is reinstalled) and attractive appearance might make up for the lack of speed in today’s world where the desire for Japanese collector cars seems to be growing quickly. I know I could be interested given proximity and a low enough price. The seller is including a large amount of mechanical spares and claim that the car is completely rust free after having been garaged for the last 30 years.


The inside is pretty plain, and obviously the seat upholstery will need some localized patching if not replacement. I can still see the European influence on the design here with the two large gauges and fake wooden dash. The uncovered heater unit and ducts betray the intended family market for the car, though.


Although nothing is stated about the mechanical condition of the car at all, it does look very complete. I hope the engine is free, and it may well be difficult to find some parts you might need. Does this slice of early Mazda importation appeal to you? Let us know in the comments!



  1. Scotty G Staff

    Nice find! This is a wish-list car for me, or better yet, a wagon.

    Like 0
  2. bcavileer

    The Japanese were very good at copying other styling houses hard work. I find it hard to get excited about a 5 series look alike no matter how few were built.
    As for collectability, to each his own but I would rather have the original.

    Like 0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Curious–when was the styling work done for the 5-series (I agree about the appearance)? The Luce debuted in 1965, design contract was designed in 1962.

      Like 0
  3. Gerald

    The engine looks an awful lot like the 1.8l sohc engine in the 76 Courier that my Dad had.

    Like 1
    • Tari Renner

      I had one in the late 1970s – it IS the Ford Courier engine!!!!

      Like 0
  4. Bob S

    Nice upright greenhouse. Very BMW like.

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    • Dave Walsh

      That’s because it is. I am restoring a 1970 1800 and most of the parts that I have found are Courier parts. The entire suspension, steering and ball joints were all shared by the two vehicles. At the same time that 1800 sales struggling Mazda was asked to build a small pickup for Ford.

      Like 2
  5. h60memo

    My mom learned to drive from a professional driving school in one of these, as I tagged along. Even the prekindergarden me was very into cars.

    Like 0
  6. Derek F

    Nice- I see a lot of Iso in this nose, quite elegant.

    Like 0
  7. angliagt

    There’s something about these early ’70’s Japanese cars that’s
    strangely appealing to me,having a few of them back in the day.
    Sounds like this one could be picked up for cheap.Unfortunatly,
    it’s about 12 hours away from me.
    As Mazda was originally based in Kent,Washington,you’d have
    a better chance of finding a parts car in that state.

    Like 0
  8. Asen

    Its not that slow as you stated >:( 1800 model is 100hp in Europe and The car accelerates about 11 seconds to 100km/h. Its faster than average big block V8

    Like 0

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