While it might be hard to believe today, there was a time when Japanese economy car (and commercial vehicle) manufacturers such as Isuzu and Mitsubishi all competed in the full-size sedan market as well. Isuzu was unleashing the Statesman de Ville (!) against the Mitsubishi Debonair, the Nissan President and the perhaps most well known governmental cruiser of them all, the Toyota Century.
Meanwhile in 1974, Mazda had nothing to show for itself. Except for some binoculars for looking across the water.
Soon enough, a deal was made with GM’s Australian cousins at Holden, who supplied Mazda with HJ and HX series Premiers, sans their engines. Mazda then stuck its 1.3-liter 13B Wankel where Holden would have put a 3.3 inline-six, and the Mazda Roadpacer AP was born for 1975.
AP stood for Anti Pollution, which is weird since the 3472 lbs. Roadpacer returned 9 miles to the gallon while burning lots of oil in its 130 horsepower rotary engine. Either way, Mazda’s AP system was basically an afterburner, designed to get rid of some of the unburnt fuel in the exhaust to improve emissions.
To make up for the terrible performance, Mazda filled its rebadged Premiers with some extra equipment, including automatic central locking and a stereo with multiple control points both in the front and the rear.
Hit hard by the first Oil Crisis since day one, Mazda’s zero torque executive company car sold in some 800 units before production came to a halt in 1977.
Afterburners or not, since many of them were sold to government departments or company fleets, most Roadpacer APs got crushed sooner than later, which makes Mazda’s GM-built but Wankel-powered full-sized sedans especially rare today.
H/T to Cars that never made it!