Friday, August 22, 2014

The cars from Eunos you (REALLY) don't know

When JDM enthusiasts heard the word "Eunos", the only car they come out from their mind is the Roadster, known in the world market as the MX-5 Miata, but that's a load of rubbish because some people don't understand the true history of Japanese cars. Call themselves a JDM enthusiast? To be a true JDM enthusiast, they have to first know about the history of Japanese cars.

Eunos is not all about Mazda Roadsters and some JDM enthusiasts are making mistakes calling second-generation NB and third-generation NC Miatas a Eunos. Hey! Eunos Roadster refers to the first-generation Roadster/MX-5 Miata!

Eunos Roadster
Yes. That's the one. So, if you're tagging pics of NB or NC Miatas as "Eunos", I can't believe you're A) Can't understand Japanese very well, B) You don't know more about the history of Mazda, or C) You don't know more about the history of Japanese cars at all...

In order to fully understand what Eunos is, let's get to know the cars from Mazda's Eunos brand, a brand that was once a luxury brand until it was disappeared from history from the mid-90's. But first, a quick history lesson...

At the end of the 1980's, Mazda tries to diversify the Japanese car market by introducing three different marques. This is just like Toyota, Honda (with their Primo, Verno, and Clio marques), Mitsubishi, and Nissan from their heydays. The three marques are; Autozam (comprised of affordable entry-level cars), Efini (the exclusive luxury brand where the FD RX-7 is sold), and Eunos. Eunos is an upscale brand from Mazda and it's naming comes from the Greek word "eu" meaning "good" and "nos" referring to the abbreviation to the word "numbers".

Anyway, let's get to know the Eunos cars you'd never know...

Eunos 300 - Launched in late 1989, this 5-number size 4-door saloon served as the "volume zone" for Mazda's Eunos brand. It was basically a Mazda Persona in Eunos' clothing. Available engine types are a 1.8L F8 l4 and 2.0L FE l4 petrol engines, both can be mated with either a 4-speed auto or a 5-speed gearbox.

Eunos 300

Eunos 100 - Although this is just a Mazda Familia Astina hatchback sold at Eunos dealerships in late 1989, the 100 served as the entry-level model for the Eunos brand. It is available with either a 1.5L or a 1.8L petrol engine, each can be fitted with either a 4-speed auto or a 5-speed manual.

Eunos 100

Eunos Cargo - The Eunos Cargo is basically a third-generation Mazda Bongo passenger van, otherwise known as the Mazda E2000, the van that was once sold in the Philippines in the 90's, I think. This 1BOX-type van has 4330mm of length, 1645mm of width, and it can seat up to about 8 people. The 2.0L engine comes with two different flavors; petrol and diesel, and transmission offerings are either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. The diesel model only comes with an optional part-time 4WD system.

Eunos Cargo

Eunos Cosmo - Most Gran Turismo fans will probably remember this forgotten JDM masterpiece and so do I. The Cosmo is a luxury grand tourer which resurrected the legendary Cosmo name, the first rotary-engine powered Mazda from 1967. The entry-level models come with the 13B rotary engine which delivers 230PS of power but the top-of-the-line models come with the 20B rotary engine which develops a governed power output of 280PS. The Type-S model comes with a limited-slip diff, front double wishbone and rear multilink suspension, making it the sportier model that competes against Euro luxury coupes. On the inside, it's all about business in every angle and this is the first model to come with a GPS sat-nav system in the industry. The only gearbox available is a 4-speed automatic gearbox and no manual on sight, like a Subaru Alcyone SVX. It may not be a fun car to drive but for storing up memories, the Cosmo is worth remembering. It's one of my childhood memories when I played with one of these on Gran Turismo...

Eunos Cosmo

Eunos Presso - Available in other countries as the MX-3, the Presso is a kammback coupe and since I never heard of this, a kammback is a body style of a car with smooth contours that continues to the back that is abruptly cut off. It was derived from a German aerodynamicist Wunibald Kamm in the 1930's but this is how the Americans call it for those kind of shooting brakes. It went on sale in Japan on summer 1991 and the only offering for this 3-door coupe is a 1.8L K8 V6 engine which delivers 140PS of power. It can be fitted with either a 4-speed AT or a 5-speed MT. Then in 1993, 1.5L B5-ZE l4 engine was offered and even though it produces less than the 1.8L V6 model, it's more fuel efficient as this variant comes with 14.4km/L of fuel economy when fitted with a 5-speed MT.

Eunos Presso

Eunos 500 - Previewed at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show and went on sale in Japan since 1992, the Eunos 500 is based on the Mazda Capella and it comes with a 2.0L V6 engine that develops 160PS of power and 18.3kg-m of torque and a 1.8L V6 engine developing 140PS of power. They can be fitted with a 4-speed auto or a 5-speed manual as usual. For the 1994 update, the 1.8L V6 was thrown away and replaced with a smaller 1.8L l4 engine developing a lesser 115PS of power output. It was soldiered on until production ended in 1999. The Eunos 500 was sold in Europe as the Xedos 6 and it was involved in the British Touring Car Championship in 1993 and 1994.

Eunos 500

Eunos 800 - Launched in Autumn 1993, the Eunos 800 is the flagship of Mazda's Eunos brand. Originally, it was part of the plan for launching Mazda's Amati brand but due to financial strife, the plan to launch the Amati luxury brand was cancelled and the Eunos 800 was sold to Europe as the Xedos 9 and in America as the Millenia. It was the only saloon in the world to be fitted with a Miller cycle engine in history and yes, we're talking about a 2.3L Miller cycle V6 engine that powers it aside from the 2.5L V6 engine offered on top-of-the-line models. The Eunos 800 was renamed as the Mazda Millenia in Japan in 1997 after Mazda's decision to axe the Eunos brand. This is the last Eunos brand car ever launched in history and while it was renamed as the Mazda Millenia, it gained a minor change that includes a downgrade from aluminum to steel due to cost-cutting measures. Ouch... The Millenia flagship soldiered on until production discontinued in 2003 with no successor in sight.

Eunos 800

So, now you finally know about the Eunos cars you REALLY don't know. Next time when you think about the forgotten Eunos brand from Mazda, think about these rather than just the MX-5 Miata. They maybe consigned from the history books but those unsung cars truly have a place in JDM history.

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