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The First Mazda Vehicle Was… A Tricycle Truck?

Mazda is a Japanese car company that has gained some serious traction here in the states. The production cars are zippy and affordable. Plus, they are comfortable and on the luxurious side for the price point. This year, the brand also won more Top Safety Pick+ awards than any other auto brand. A Mazda comes in all shapes and sizes, from convertible sports car to the family-sized crossover SUV. But did you know that once upon a time, the first Mazda vehicle was a tricycle truck?

Yeah, we’ll let that sink in for a second… Not just a motorcycle, but a three-wheeler is Mazda’s ancient flagship. There’s a bit of Mazda history that’s a little more interesting than you’d expect.

The Mazda-Go, Mazda’s first vehicle

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The Mazda-Go is steeped in post-war history. The video above goes into detail about how the Mazda-Go pickup truck trike helped rebuild Hiroshima after the atomic bomb. In many ways, this tiny tricycle truck is a national hero of Japan.

Just over 10 years following the company’s founding in 1920––back then it was called Toyo Cork Kogyo––the Mazda-Go debuted in October 1931. At the time, the company’s primary revenue stream came from corks. In 1927, it shifted to machine tool manufacturing. Then, it became Toyo Kogyo.

“According to Japanese Nostalgic Car, this little beast was so quick, it was beating Ariels in races.”

Ride Apart
a green and yellow Mazda-Go tricycle truck on display at a museum
Mazda-Go (1935 TCS type) | Wikipedia

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According to Ride Apart, the company produced a single 250cc two-stroke motorcycle. Next, after the motorcycle saw massive success on the track and as a production bike, the company continued to evolve. Enter the Mazda-Go tricycle pickup truck.

The Mazda-Go was the first vehicle with the “Mazda” name. Coincidentally––or not––this name came from the president of the company, Jujiro Matsuda. Mazda is what Ride Apart calls the “Anglicized” version of the company president’s family name. It was the first official Mazda ever.

A popular pickup truck tricycle

After that, the tricycle slowly gained traction. A little bit bike and a little bit a passenger car, this utilitarian pickup truck trike did a good job of carrying people and stuff. In fact, it’s the perfect historic predecessor of what the Mazda name ultimately became. The truck bed set this tricycle apart. Although only 66 of these three-wheelers sold in the first year, back then these numbers were hopeful for a growing company.

Mazda-Go type DC exhibit in a museum
Mazda-Go Type DC | Wikipedia

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However, the trikes really earned the respect they deserved when a herd of Mazda-Gos pickup truck tricycles set off on––and successfully completed––a nearly 1,678-mile journey. The tricycles traveled all the way from Tokyo to Kagoshima in 25 or 26 days––depending on who you ask.

After that, the Mazda-Go rose in popularity. Because of its useful pickup bed and simple mechanic arrangement, it became a staple in Japan. It was also exported to China in 1932. In Japan, the Mazda tricycle truck was sold by the Mitsubishi Corporation dealer network. Then, in 1936, Mazda started working on its own dealer network. The rest is Mazda history.

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The Mazda T200

“The Asian market dug the three-wheeled truck, so the Mazda-Go went through a natural evolution in the decades to come, long before the company ever built a proper car.”

Petrolicious.com
A Mazda T200 press photo in a field
Mazda T200 | Petrolicious.com

Because obviously one tricycle truck is not enough, Mazda produced an evolved line of these trucks. The Mazda pickup truck trike was a thing. It’s a huge part of what brought Mazda into the global automotive scene. Decades later, in 1972, we see the birth of the Mazda T200. This Mazda T200, according to Petrolicious.com, exemplified a steady and flawless progression from that first Mazda-Go Type DA.

First, a tricycle truck ran across japan. Then, after a little evolutionary engineering and few more motorcycles, Mazda stepped up its game. Now, you are loading up your crew in the Mazda CX-9 three-row crossover SUV.