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

  • CUTE LITTLE BUGGER.

    THE WINDSHIELD LOOKS LIKE SOMETHING FROM AN EXOTIC.

  • Krisnadi Imam

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

  • adambravo

    “Fiat X-nineteen”? Ha, ha…

Mid-Engine 2020 Corvette C8 Looks Good From All Angles In New Renders

Get an animated look at how the new Corvette C8 looks next to today’s Corvette C7.

Buick Might Look To China To Develop And Expand U.S. Lineup

With Opel vehicles gradually becoming unavailable, Buick needs to look elsewhere for its U.S. lineup.

Rolls-Royce Can’t Keep Up With Demand For The Cullinan SUV

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is attracting new customers, as well as more female buyers to the brand.

2019 Audi Q8 Now Available With Two More Engine Options

Audi is adding one petrol and one diesel mild-hybrid powertrain in the Q8’s range in Europe.

Toyota Reveals New Hiace Van Range In Philippines

Toyota’s new Hiace will be available in emerging markets but not the US, Europe or Japan.

Mercedes S-Class By Hofele Is A Unique Maybach Wannabe

The Ultimate S, as Hofele calls this Mercedes-Benz S-Class, is a one-off project.

Red Bull Racing Takes No Chances With Official 2019 F1 Livery

The look of the all-new RB15 is nearly identical to that of last year’s race car.

Life-Size LEGO VW T2 Bulli Camper Unveiled With Pop-Up Roof

The new LEGO VW T2 will be on display at the F.RE.E Leisure and Travel Fair in Munich.

Alfa Romeo Debuts 2019 F1 Livery With Giulia And Stelvio Branding

The car features both traditional Sauber white and blue colors as well as Alfa’s iconic red.

McLaren’s U.S. Sales Could Be Crippled By Other Markets’ Demand

If China and Europe bounce back, then McLaren may be forced to cut its yearly U.S. allocation.