02:08 PM 1 Aug, 2022
Mazda MX-81 Aria, by Bertone (1981)
40 years after it was first presented, Mazda Italy have restored the concept car that was the first Mazda to use the MX badge.The small wedge-shaped coupé was designed by Marc Dechamps for Turin based carrozzeria Bertone.
The concept was based on the second generation front wheel drive 323 platform. The car’s futuristic interior featured a belt for the steering wheel. It was presented at the Tokyo Motor Show, the car’s styling led to high-mounted tail lights and pop-up headlamps appearing in future Mazda production cars later in the eighties. In 2019 Nobuhiro Yamamoto – the former fourth-generation MX-5 programme manager and rotary engine developer – found the MX-81 in a warehouse at Mazda’s headquarters in Hiroshima.
From this discovery came the idea to restore the car and it was shipped to Mazda Italy, from where it has been returned to its original condition by SuperStile in Turin under the coordination of Flavio Gallizio. Fittingly, the completion of the restoration was celebrated by the recreation of the original press images of the MX-81 in front of Milan Cathedral.
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