What is the Mazda GB 3-wheel truck, which withstood the damage caused by the atomic bombing and became a symbol of reconstruction? [モビー]

Mazda’s face is different from Rotary and SKYACTIV

Model GB 3-wheel truck on display at the Mazda Museum

Several auto 3-wheeled vehicles are exhibited at the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima Prefecture, and Mazda is a prestigious 3-wheeled auto maker that has been on par with Daihatsu since before the war, and it is a manufacturer that continued to make 3-wheeled trucks until the 1970s. It reminds me of a different “face”.

This time, we would like to introduce the Mazda Model GB, the first new model developed by Mazda during the post-war recovery period.

The post-war recovery period despite the devastation caused by the dropping of the atomic bomb

The basic layout is the same as the GA type from before the war, but the capacity has been improved by reducing weight, increasing power, and expanding the cargo bed.

On August 6, 1945, the city of Hiroshima was devastated by the use of nuclear weapons (atomic bombs) for the first time in human history.

However, its power is still far from the level that was later said, “If used on a large scale in World War III, it would destroy mankind.” Although Mazda (then Toyo Kogyo) head office was damaged by the blast, it escaped complete destruction.

It is the closest large company to the center of Hiroshima City and was spared the complete destruction. The war ended on August 15, while the functions and economic activities were being restored at a rapid pace.

Mazda had an unexpectedly large family on its premises, and many of its employees were survivors of the atomic bombing. , in order to resume the production of small three-wheeled trucks as it had been in the past, gathered materials.

After the war, the occupation forces of the Allies, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, were stationed in Japan, and production activities also became a permission system from GHQ (General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers). In order to restore the transportation capacity of the country, domestic manufacturers will be permitted to produce trucks.

Mazda also applied to GHQ to obtain approval for monthly production of 1,000 units, and resumed production of three-wheeled trucks in December 1945, just four months after the end of the war.

Production of the pre-war GA type “Green Panel” until 1949

Pressed steel plates were used extensively for the handle and frame to improve productivity and meet rapidly increasing demand.

Although production resumed after receiving permission from GHQ, the head office factory was still in a state of chaos with a group of households. Insufficient power and lack of materials, production does not increase easily in the midst of exhaustion.

By December 1945, only 10 units had been produced, and by November 1948, nearly three years later, monthly production had finally recovered to 500 units. “Green panel”, Mazda GA type.

It was called the “green panel” because the instrument panel was painted green, but compared to the previous KC model, the displacement and maximum output were slightly increased, the MT was changed from 3rd gear to 4th gear, fuel efficiency was improved, and the maximum payload was increased. It was the definitive version of Mazda’s pre-war auto 3-wheeler, which was also strengthened from 400kg to 500kg.

In World War II, all the major countries in the world at that time were devoted to military demand, and they were far from producing passenger cars for civilian use. However, in Japan, Mazda’s three-wheeled truck was such a position.

(Others include Toyota trucks, AC passenger cars, Datsun DA passenger cars, etc.)

Finally, the first post-war new truck, the Model GB, is here!

In 1951, a GB-based PB three-wheeled passenger car called the “90 Yen Taxi” waited for customers in front of Hiroshima Station. It is less well known than the Daihatsu Bee, but it is said that it produced about 690 units, more than three times as many.

Mazda’s 3-wheeled truck had become one of the symbols of Hiroshima’s reconstruction, but with the reconstruction of Japan, the demand for auto 3-wheeled vehicles increased, and not only groups returning from military demand but also conversion groups newly entered. The market is booming, and Mazda is finally launching a new model.

That was the GB model, which was released in April 1949. The general appearance and layout remained the same, and since it was the design before Jiro Kosugi, the industrial designer who later became the hallmark of the three-wheeled Mazda auto, was involved, the GA model was normal. Speaking of the evolved version, yes.

However, the weight was significantly reduced by integrally casting the engine and transmission out of aluminum alloy, and steel stamped parts were used extensively for the handle and frame, which were rugged on the GA model, making them smarter.

The engine has been upgraded from the 669cc 13.7 horsepower of the GA model to an all-aluminum die-cast 701cc 15.2 horsepower engine, although the air-cooled single-cylinder SV remains the same. unchanged at 500 kg).

Still, the price remained the same, and the nationwide sales network from before the war was still in place, so it was sufficiently competitive against emerging rivals, and exports to overseas will resume with this model.

Furthermore, based on this GB type, a type of batanko (three-wheeled) taxi equipped with a six-seater cabin, the three-wheeled passenger car “PB type” was also produced, and was used as a 90-yen taxi mainly in Hiroshima.

During the Korean War special procurement that began the following year, GA, GB, and PB models, as well as large three-wheeled trucks, traveled all over Japan, supporting Japan’s devastated post-war reconstruction period.

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

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