Man, this really blew my britches off. I was being a second set of eyes while a friend of mine took a Honda Element for a test drive when this little pickup caught my attention. I couldn’t believe it when I saw “MAZDA” on the tailgate. This is one of about 2500 Mazda 1200 pickups imported into the U.S. in 1970 and ‘71. It was actually, at $1750, the cheapest car Mazda ever sold in America. And, it’s absolutely adorable. It really ticks every box on my checklist. Small, weird, truck, completely ignored by buyers. I knew what it was as soon as I saw it from the front, but I really had no idea they had been imported to us. I guess these were a placeholder before the B1600/Ford Courier was released in 1972. And, now I have something new on the “I must own one of these someday” list. At least I know where one is.
In its home country, it was the Mazda Familia Truck and was the only Familia, a big success in Japan and a really cool car, exported to North America.
Apparently 50 of the trucks also made their way to Canada.
They’re actually relatively common in Australia where they were a popular mini-ute.
Googling leads me to believe only a handful, maybe 10, American 1200 trucks have survived which makes this battered, but clearly still in service, little guy something of a miracle. The owner wasn’t around, but there were several Studebakers parked on the opposite side of the street which I imagine belong to the same person.
Those really are some of the best taillights Mazda ever installed on a vehicle. It’s powered by a 64 horsepower 1.2 liter pushrod that must be pretty sturdy based on all the work this thing appears to have completed. Long may you roam little truck.