Mazda’s Autozam AZ-1 Was The Supercar Of Kei Cars

Japan is home to many weird cars and many of them are belong to the kei car segment. But weird isn’t always bad, as the Autozam AZ-1 mid-engine rear-wheel drive kei car proves.

Built between 1992 and 1994 under Mazda’s Autozam brand, the tiny coupe had all the attributes of a supercar: gullwing doors, side strakes, a turbocharged engine mounted behind the seats, a manual transmission that sent power to the rear wheels and a 9,000-rpm redline. Who cared that it only measured 3.3 meters (10.8 ft) bumper to bumper and had a 660-cc three-cylinder engine that made just 64 hp?

Thankfully, the power limit imposed by the Japanese government for kei cars didn’t ruin it, because the Autozam AZ-1 weighed almost nothing. Thanks to the fiber-reinforced plastic body, it tipped the scales at just 720 kg (1,587 lb).

That allowed it to reach an electronically-governed top speed of around 140 km/h (87 mph), but it could reach 160 km/h (100 mph) with the limiter removed. Nevertheless, the top speed isn’t what matters about the AZ-1, because you will have more fun doing 40 mph (65 km/h) in it that you will taking a supercar to 300 km/h on the Autobahn. It’s all about of the way the car makes you feel, and the Autozam seems quite good at this game.

There’s a lot more to learn about this quirky kei car from the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. The video features a 1992 Autozam AZ-1 brought to the United States under the 25-year rule for car imports by its very knowledgeable owner, mechanical engineer Ashley DeLuca.

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    Made by Suzuki who also made the Cara and different bodied Cappuccino.
    Cappo was great fun.

    • Yeah, Cappucino has more active tuning scene rather than Beat or rarer Cara/AZ-1.

  • Six_Tymes

    great video. thanks for posting



  • Krisnadi Imam

    Pretty car, pretty owner too… very nice 😀
    Its great that she drives it too!

  • adambravo

    “Fiat X-nineteen”? Ha, ha…

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