Meet the Adorable Autozam AZ-1: Mazda’s Pint-Sized Mid-Engine Sports Car With the Gull-Wing Doors of a Supercar
Have you ever thought: If only there micro-sized DeLorean? No? Well after I introduce you to the Autozam AZ-1, you may change your tune.
I was standing at a Cars & Coffee in the greater Detroit metro area, deciding whether or not it was time to leave. We’d already seen the Cadillac XLR and the Fiat Jolly, and doubted anything else cool would show up. Then I heard a small engine whine and a dark blue sports car rounded the corner. It was honestly like nothing I’d ever seen.
The driver tucked his little car into a row of muscle cars, then he opened the door to get out and I realized this thing had gull-wing doors! I asked him to pull up so I could take a picture. While I photographed the car we chatted.
The AZ-1 was a special Mazda project, a tiny sports car with a mid-mounted, turbocharged Suzuki engine. The engine only makes 63 horsepower and 63 lb-ft of torque. But the entire car weighs just 1,500 lbs.
That may seem small by North American standards, but tiny “Kei class” vehicles are common in the Japanese domestic market. They include mini trucks and micro vans, and sports cars such as the AZ-1.
Mazda sold the AZ-1 under its performance brand, “Autozam.” Every Autozam AZ-1 came with a five speed manual transmission. Mazda began building the AZ-1 in 1992. But by 1994, it had only sold 4,392 of them. So it pulled the plug on the project.
I asked the blue Autozam’s owner whether he had imported it himself. He said no. But he’d had to ask around at a few dealerships, then as for one of them to have an AZ-1 come up for sale. You can see more of his photos on Instagram under @gr8ongas. That’s Great On Gas, if you didn’t get the joke.
So are you dying to get into your own Autozam? They come up for sale on auction sites occasionally, although I don’t currently see any listed. On Cars & Bids, higher mileage examples will resell for $14k or less. More desirable ones sometimes bid up to over $25k, but none have gone over $30k.
Next, meet the Subaru micro bus modified to look like a VW van, or see a review of the Autozam AZ-1 in the video below: