Mazda produced the R360 from 1960 through 1966. It was a small vehicle with a 1,760mm wheelbase and an overall length of 2,980mm. Its diminutive size qualified it to be a 'Kei car', or Japanese microcar determined by its size and engine capacity. This allowed the owners to enjoy insurance and tax benefits, and in most rural areas they were exempted from the requirement to certify that adequate parking is available for the vehicle. Kei cars have become so successful and popular in Japan that over one-third of domestic near car sales in fiscal 2016 were Kei cars.
Powering the Mazda R360 2-door, 4-passenger vehicle was a rear-mounted air-cooled 356cc V-twin engine delivering 16 PS and 16 lb-ft of torque. The engine was backed by either a four-speed manual or two-speed automatic transmission. The top speed was achieved at just over 50 mph.
The 2-door Coupe was joined in 1962 by the Mazda P360 'Carol' 2+2 and a convertible version in 1964. A pickup truck body style based on parts of the R360 coupe also joined the lineup and was known as the B360. While the R360 used a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, the Mazda B360 had a front-engine, RWD layout. Power was from the Carol's 358cc inline 4.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2020
Production of the Mazda R360 continued until 1966, while the Mazda Carol (B360) Kei car continued in production until 1970, then re-introduced in 1989 and has remained in production ever since that time.