June 24, 2009

Mazda Carol

A little history

The Mazda Carol appeared in its initial P360 version for the 1962 model year, offering a four-seat alternative to the minimal R360 coupe, Mazda’s very first automobile. Though of similar displacement, the Carol’s 358 cc engine was of a totally different design, being an overhead valves, water-cooled inline four while the R360 used a V-twin closer to motorcycles technology. This engine was placed at the rear, and drove the rear wheels.

The Carol also enjoyed a more reasonable styling than the peculiar R360, though Mazda was probably the only manufacturer of the era, apart from Ford and Citroën, to incorporate an inverted rear window into its design – a necessity to increase the size of the passenger compartment while keeping the overall length of the car below three metres.

The R360 and the Carol soon made Mazda the major player on the typically Japanese “kei car” market. One year after its introduction, the Carol was joined by a new variant, the P600 fitted, as its name implies, with a 586 cc four. This more potent engine allowed Mazda to start exporting its production to a few foreign markets. For model year 1964, an increased wheelbase allowed the presentation of a four-door variant of the P600. Afterwards, the Carol remained basically unchanged until it was superseded by the V2, two-stroke Chantez in 1972.

About the model

Model: Mazda Carol P360
Year: 1962
Maker: Norev
Scale: 1/43
Distributed by: Hachette Fujingaho as no.22 of its Japanese Car Collection press series
Acquired: probably a quality-control reject with neither stand nor box, in February 2007, in Hong Kong, S.A.R.

Norev set on competing with Ebbro, offering an equivalent range of vintage Japanese cars for a cheaper price, but somewhat at the sacrifice of quality. Indeed, the French company has been selected to provide the models released through a press series on sale in Japan – as it has recently been decided to extend this series, expect a few tens of Japanese Norevs more.

Though it’s better not to place this Norev right next to a similar Ebbro, it looks nice enough when any comparison is avoided. Most of the tiny details are well-rendered, and Norev chose a typical Mazda colour combination of white body/turquoise roof. I’d give a rating of 12/20 to this model.



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