Back in the early 1990s, Mazda was flush with money. Their Mazda Miata model had recently taken the world by storm. So, the extra inflow of dollars encouraged the company to explore other possibilities. A suitcase car was one of the ideas that came to life. Yeah, you read that correctly. The Mazda Amazing Suitcase Car was created.
The Mazda Amazing Suitcase Car
The Amazing Suitcase Car is just like it sounds. It is a vehicle built into luggage. It was created in the lead up to Mazda a 1991 “Fantasyard” event. For the event, groups of employees from different departments would put for their ideas of an innovative and creative moving machine. According to Mazda’s website,…
“A select group of seven engineers from the Manual Transmission Testing and Research Group convened and set to work on their creation. They purchased the largest Samsonite suitcase they could find and a Pocket Bike motorbike.”
The small motorcycle that the Mazda team used for the project had a 33.6cc two-stroke engine that managed 1.7 hp. It also had handlebars and both 4 and 6-inch diameter tires. As you can imagine, the suitcase unfolded to reveal the motorcycle. To make it work, the rear tires were then attached to the outside of the case and the handlebars swung up. It even included brake and turn signal lights. Mazda says the entire conversion process only took one minute to go from suitcase to driveable vehicle that could reach 30 kph or about 18 mph.
Sadly, after the Fantastyard event, the prototype Amazing Suitcase Car was mistakenly destroyed. However, a second unit still exists. According to Mazda, that second one, “works as well as it did 24 years ago.”
Oprah Winfrey had a demonstration of the Mazda Amazing Suitcase Car
Oprah Winfrey had the opportunity to have the Mazda suitcase car demonstrated for her television show. The autocycle (three wheeler) was actually started and driven across the stage. So, the suitcase car was more than just a theoretical concept made to look good. It was an actual working machine. You can see the video of the presentation on her show in the clip below.
The suitcase car was revived for the Grand Tour show
This suitcase car concept was recently revived for part of an episode of the Grand Tour. In season 3, episode twelve, the hosts, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond had to go through an airport and brought their best ideas on how to do that without taking a long walk. Jeremy Clarkson made a suitcase car while Richard Hammond made a motorized laptop skateboard. Then they turned them over to professional drivers. A clip of the episode is below.
A suitcase car can have many uses. It would be easy to see this at a campground or in a park. However, I could not see this as safe on roadways or in airports. Its low profile would make it hard to see by motorists, even with headlights. And, the liability of running into someone walking in a crowded airport would not be good. So, it seems more of a trail, path, sidewalk kind of vehicle. Even still, it is a neat idea, and even neater to see it in actuality.