Bringing alive the illustrious history of an unconventional carmaker from Hiroshima, the first Mazda museum in Europe – and indeed the only one outside Japan – has opened in Augsburg, Germany.
Mazda Classic – Automobil Museum Frey, a project led by local Mazda dealer Auto Frey with the support of Mazda Germany, spotlights Mazda’s almost 100 years of defying convention. The centrepiece is an exhibit of 45 vehicles, which includes classic Mazdas officially sold in Europe as well as exceptionally rare models only available in other parts of the globe.
Models currently on display include a 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport, a 1969 Mazda Luce R130 and several generations of RX-7, plus rarities such as a rotary Parkway bus and even a rotary pickup truck. Mazda’s rotary history is featured heavily in the museum.
The sheer breadth and variety of models on display demonstrate how Mazda has been combining innovative technology with stunning designs in the name of driving joy for nearly 100 years. Other highlights include a 1960 Mazda R360 (the company’s first mass-produced passenger car), a 1962 K360 three-wheeled light truck, a 1966 Familia 1000 coupe, a 1976 Mazda 616 and an AZ-1, a distinctive mid-engine k-class sports car from 1992.
Created from the personal passion of the owners of local Mazda dealer group Auto Frey, the museum is located in a stunningly refurbished tram depot dating from 1897. Located in the centre of the Bavarian town of Augsburg, it is also equipped with an expansive event area, restaurant facilities and a gift shop.
Amazingly, the 45 cars on display in the museum represent just a small proportion of the personal collection of the Frey family. Mazda dealers since the late 1970s, Walter Frey and his sons Markus and Joachim have personally restored many of the cars in the collection and travelled the world in search of rare classic Mazdas.
The selection will change continually, too, with additional gems from the Freys’ collection of 120-plus vehicles destined for rotation into the exhibit. The operators also hope the venue will become a hub for vintage Mazda club meetings and classic car events in general. Auto Frey has been a Mazda dealer since 1978 and currently operates three locations in the Augsburg area.
Check out the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima, Japan…