Mazda's Rotary 'Muscle Car' - JC Cosmo
The Cosmo was a high specification, high performance luxury coupe on par with Lexus, as you will see from the photos.
The 'JC' Cosmo was a model sold in Japan only, from March 1990 until January
1996 - the 13B model was sold after 1991. In 1993 there was a minor model
update, with mainly cosmetic changes, but
the actual model names were changed.
Here are some photos of the JC Cosmo.
The Cosmo had two engine options :
*13B 2 rotor Twin turbo (Designated 13B-REW), 230ps
??UNCONFIRMED?? I have seen the Cosmo 13B referred to
as 13B-RE, even though the Cosmo 13B engine was essentially the same as the 3rd generation RX7's 13B-REW engine.
The ECCS Cosmo is equipped with a single video panel in
place of where the radio/heating controls are normally. "CCS" means "Car Control System" and is in control
of all heating/air conditioning, the radio/tape/CD, GPS navigation, trip
computer functions, television and all car diagnostics for servicing. Apart
from this, the ECCS model is the same as the E (same mechanicals, interior,
The performance the 20B models is still competitive with some desirable 2001
Even against the M5 this is only 2 or 3 car lengths over the quarter mile. Of
course, handling in the Cosmo would not be to the standard of most in this
group. Nevertheless pretty fast company - not bad for a 10 year old luxury
car. It is also faster than it's RX7 stable mate (Australian delivered models
176 kW/1310 kg = 6.29 sec 0-100kmh / 14.56 sec 400m)
This brochure was sent to me by a friend in Japan. As it's too big to fit in my scanner I have taken some photos of it with a digital camera. I hope to add more pictures that I can from the brochure at a later stage.
Thanks to DMRH special vehicles I was able to
see and drive a Cosmo in April 1998.
The car was in storage in a workshop in a small town on
the outskirts of Melbourne. I visited fairly late in the afternoon and
when the roller door went up the Cosmo was sitting in the garage. It felt
like we were being shown a top secret prototype!
I must say that I liked the look of the car right from first glance. The quality of the whole car was very impressive - although the paint needed a good polish, it's finish was impeccable, as was the panel fit. Looking in the engine bay there is the 13B-REW engine, which is virtually identical to the 13B-REW in the 3rd generation RX7 except it has slightly less power (Cosmo 230hp vs RX7 255hp). I think this may be due to the Cosmo being launched a few months earlier than the RX7, so they wanted to ensure reliability by the lower power rating. The engine sits at the back of the engine bay, leaving a lot of room at the front of it as the 20B engine is used on other models.
The wheels are a six spoke design, with what is said to be styling cues to the 3 rotor twin turbo engine that powers the top line model. Being a 16 inch wheel with a 225 tyre they look quite impressive.
The interior was very nice. On this model, high quality cloth trim is used. The seats were very comfortable, but a little worn out. There are two seats in the back that looked like they would accommodate a full sized adult reasonably comfortably (much more room than in an RX7), with a high (well over hip height) transmission tunnel running the length of the cabin.
The dashboard was a wrap around design (similar to the
1992-1997 Honda Prelude). When the car is switched off none of the instruments
are visible. When turned on, the instruments are analogue with the speedometer
and tachometer having a blue electro luminescent scale and a standard mechanical
analogue pointer, with an illuminated red line down it's length. The water
temperature and fuel gauge were an analogue fluorescent display (no mechanical
pointer, but at first glance it looked like there was). There was also fluorescent
displays for the trip computer and clock, along with the usual warning lights.
When the time came for a test drive, the car was jump started (it had been in the workshop for several months) and it sprang into life without too much trouble. After warming it up for a few minutes we drove up the street to get some fuel as it was nearly empty. The reaction on people's faces was interesting - as I said before it was like we were driving a prototype car that doesn't really look like anything else sold in Australia. When we pulled in for fuel we had a few heart pounding moments when the police drove past, as the car had no number plates (driving it on a permit), however they were more interested to know what the car was rather than those minor details. I wish I had brought my camera at this stage! After fuelling up and checking the fluids once more we got stuck into the test drive.
Out on the highway we tried a few acceleration runs. As this, and all Cosmos, are automatics the low end performance was not too good. However, once the revs and the boost were up it got moving quite well. We reached 140 km/h with ease - From 110 to 140 only took about 5 seconds. As the car weighs 1490kg, some 280kg heavier than a 3rd generation RX7 and has 230hp vs the RX7's 255hp and an automatic it is obviously not as fast as the RX7. However, it did feel faster than a friend's mildly modified TurboII (2nd generation RX7). I'm advised that the 20B version has much more low down torque and it accelerates faster than the 3rd Generation RX7 (Although I think the RX7 has a better power-weight ratio thus is ultimately quicker over 400 meters).
When it was my turn to drive I felt right at home after
only a minute or two. All the controls were in the expected places. With
the large tyres the handling was quite good. I'm told that the 13B model
we were driving handles better than the 20B model, which weighs another
100kg more - most of this weight is in the engine.
Special thanks go to DMRH
Special Vehicles of Sydney, Australia
for organising the inspection and test drive. DMRH are currently undergoing
a project to make the Cosmo comply to Australian Design Rules, which is
principally the emissions (fuel tank, catalytic converter etc) and safety
equipment (Seat belts, side intrusion bars etc). The car in the photos
was half way through this compliance process, which is why it was a bit
unkempt. However, once the compliance process is completed the cars are
brought back to perfect condition through bodywork and reupholstering if
There are only a handful of JC Cosmos in Australia (under 30?). Rumour has it that a member of the Japanese Consulate bought one into the country brand new in the early 1990s. Most of the cars have been imported since about 1998, because it is only since then that they are 'affordable'. I think most of them are 20B models.
Further reading and acknowledgements:
Other relevant reading at Craig's Rotary Page (Please go via the INDEX
Other relevant sites on the Internet (Please go via the LINKS
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This page last updated 13/12/2001
13/12/2001 - Minor tidy up and fixed some broken photos
19/3/2001 - Changed More Information section to new format. Spell checked. All pictures used on this page now stored in PG09_XXY.ZZZ Converted all text to new standard (Headings as Heading1, Some sub-headings (e.g. tables) as 14 point normal bold italic, Most text as Normal, Internal page links at top not all uppercase). Changed from Netscape to FrontPage. Background image changed to PG00_02B.JPG
6/04/1998 - Previous known update (May have been some before this)
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