Hiroshima’s world-famous automobile manufacturer, Mazda… Before the war, it was one of the big three small auto 3-wheeled cars[Recommended car]| MOBY [モビー]

Mazda, a prestigious auto 3-wheeler that started with cork production

The 400kg model TCS (air-cooled single-cylinder side valve 654cc, 13.2 horsepower) released by Toyo Kogyo (currently Mazda) in 1935 is the oldest self-manufactured small 3-wheel truck owned by Mazda. On display.

Currently, it actively adopts epoch-making new technology with “SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY” and is known for the practical application of the rotary engine, which was once hailed as the “engine of the future.” manufacturer”, Mazda.

Unlike the post-war entrants such as Suzuki and Honda, it is also an automobile manufacturer with a long history dating back to the pre-war 1930s. Entered the business and changed the company name to “Toyo Kogyo”.

This time, we will introduce the Mazda TCS type 3-wheel truck, which is currently open to the public at the Mazda Museum (Fuchu-cho, Aki-gun, Hiroshima Prefecture) and has been designated as a modern industrial heritage by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. 3 wheels.

After working on experimental motorcycles, entered the market for compact 3-wheeled vehicles, where steady growth is expected

At that time, small-sized three-wheeled trucks that could be ridden with a small-sized car license, which was only an application and no test, played an important role in the spread of automobiles.

Initially, the main focus was military demand for the navy, but with the aim of expanding into civilian demand where mass sales could reduce costs and increase profits, then president Jujiro Matsuda, who could be called the founder of the revitalization of the company, decided to enter the automobile business, a dream he had dreamed of since he was young. I made a decision.

It started with a prototype of a 250cc engine for motorcycles, and then sold a small number of motorcycles on an experimental basis. After gaining confidence after winning an auto race, in 1931, it launched a three-wheeled truck, the “Mazda Model DA,” as a full-fledged automobile manufacturer. start.

In prewar Japan, in the latter half of the 1920s, they succeeded in developing a practical air-cooled single-cylinder or twin-cylinder side-valve engine for three-wheeled trucks. When I was in the market.

Small-displacement 3-wheeled trucks, which did not require a license (a permit system that did not require passing a test), were ideal for widespread use. It will dance to a corner of the Three Wheels Gosanke.

Full-fledged model incorporating “differential gear”

At the time of its release, Mitsubishi Corporation was still selling the TCS model, a full-fledged small 3-wheel truck with a shaft drive and differential gear, and the Mitsubishi mark on the fuel tank is proof of that.

At first glance, a small three-wheeled vehicle looks like “a carrier with left and right wheels attached to the rear half of a motorcycle”, and in fact many of the small manufacturers are cheaply made to drive the rear axle with a chain drive similar to that of a motorcycle. However, the pre-war hits first made a difference there.

In other words, following the engine manufacturing that preceded the “Daihatsu” (later “Daihatsu Kogyo”), the drive transmission to the rear wheels was performed by the propeller shaft, and the drive was distributed to the left and right wheels so that it could turn smoothly on curves. It adopts a differential device (differential gear) that performs.

In addition, the production technology for industrial products that had been honed by the military until then and the large-scale production factory made mass production possible, and there were standard revisions similar to post-war minicars, such as increasing the displacement to match the loading capacity. , From the initial 482cc DA model, the 1934 KA model expanded to 654cc.

The TCS model, released in 1935, was equipped with the KA model’s 654cc air-cooled single-cylinder side-valve engine (13.2 horsepower) on a sturdy double frame adopted from the DB model (1932), and was stipulated by current mini vehicle standards. It was a low-floor small auto 3-wheeler with a maximum load capacity of 400kg, exceeding 350kg.

It seems that the green body color was the image color of Mazda 3-wheeled trucks at the time. This is because Mazda has entrusted sales to Mitsubishi Corporation.

Before the war, Mitsubishi had a track record of developing and producing the first domestically produced mass-produced car, the Mitsubishi Model A, at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding in 1917. Mazda has not entered the market, and there is no problem for Mitsubishi Corporation to sell Mazda vehicles.

However, in 1936, the alliance with Mitsubishi Corporation was dissolved and the company shifted to its own sales, becoming a form similar to the current Mazda.

The dream of becoming a four-wheeled vehicle manufacturer was carried over to the postwar period

Even with the TCS model, the area around the driver’s seat was not much different from that of a two-wheeled vehicle, and even in the immediate post-war era, the three-wheeled truck made a fresh start, leading to the current Mazda.

By the time Mazda started direct sales of three-wheeled vehicles, it had begun developing four-wheeled vehicles as the next step. After that, there was a possibility that it would become one of the “three small car brands” along with the current Nissan Koki.

However, the conflict that had been intensifying in mainland China even before that escalated into the Sino-Japanese War in 1939, and Toyo Kogyo was designated as a factory jointly managed by the Army and Navy under the 1938 Munitions Industrial Mobilization Law.

Even so, in 1940, we produced a small four-wheeled passenger car, but of course the situation did not allow it to be marketed, and we were forced to operate as a military industry, but even after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) It survived and restarted as a three-wheeled auto manufacturer after the war.

* The author information of the images used in this article is as of the publication date.

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