Two days in the past, my life was nothing—26 years of pure and utter vacancy. However yesterday, that each one modified after I set my eyes upon the hilariously quirky Mazda Pathfinder XV-1. It’s an off-roader constructed particularly for the Burmese market within the early 1970s, and my god is it great.
This inexperienced, unusual Land Cruiser-ish machine sits on show at Frey’s Mazda Basic Automotive Museum in Augsburg, Germany. It’s undoubtedly essentially the most random off-road automobile I’ve ever seen, displacing from the highest of the listing even that ARO 244 I drooled over in Romania final month. Yeah, this Mazda is that bizarre.
In line with the museum, Mazda constructed these Pathfinder XV-1s from 1970 to 1973 in an meeting plant in Burma (although Curbside Basic member Tatra87 thinks the “Mazda Jeep,” because it was known as domestically, could have remained in manufacturing till the 1990s).
The SUVs had been used principally by navy, police and authorities officers, got here as both soft-tops or hard-tops, and will seat as much as 9 folks due to a pair of large folding benches within the rear.
Beneath, I see a whole lot of similarities to World Warfare II-era Jeeps. There’s a leaf-sprung stable entrance axle with two closed-style knuckles on both facet hooked up to drum brakes. These knuckles flip a pair of nondirectional tires by way of a steering setup that—minus the damper—truly seems to be much like that of a Ford GP or Bantan BRC prototype (the drag hyperlink comes from the again and turns the left-side knuckle, which pushes and pulls the opposite knuckle by way of a tie rod).
Below the stomach, there’s a two-speed switch case (with a giant skid plate beneath it), a thick metal body, a gasoline tank, an exaust pipe, and a pair of driveshafts—simply normal old-truck stuff.
As for what’s underneath the hood, actually, I don’t know. Frey’s Mazda Basic Automotive Museum says it’s a 90 horsepower four-cylinder gasoline engine of unknown displacement. Curbside Basic says that four-banger might be a Mazda-sourced 2.Zero-liter, and diesel engine was additionally obtainable. The transmission, primarily based on what I might see via the window, regarded like a floor-mounted three-speed handbook.
The engine’s displacement isn’t the one thriller surrounding Pathfinder XV-1. Looking out on-line, I discovered reference to a mannequin known as the X2000. YouTuber okay360t600 makes use of this time period to reference a proper hand drive SUV that seems to be only a shorter model of the XV-1 Pathfinder I noticed on the museum. I’m undecided if X2000 may simply be the Mazda-internal designation (and Pathfinder the precise mannequin identify), however right here’s the clip:
The XV-1 Pathfinder was allegedly designed by Mazda in Hiroshima within the late 1960s, after which shipped to Burma within the type of knock-down kits. These knock down kits, in accordance with Curbside Basic, obtained put collectively on the “Ministry of Business’s No. 2 Car Manufacturing unit” in Htonbo, and the world turned a greater place.
A a lot better place. As a result of, I imply, simply take a look at the design on this factor. It’s far and wide—only a hodgepodge of random strains and curves. First, there’s that curve beginning on the fender “flare,” operating alongside the underside of the door, kicking up over the wheel, and ending on the heart of the again of the bedside.
Then there’s the shoulder line, which begins on the high of the big entrance fenders, modifications route simply above the entrance wheels, and rises as much as the door, the place it stays stage till the again of the bedside.
The entrance is its personal model of particular. There’s a break up entrance windshield (with opposing model wipers), a hood that—together with components of the fenders—seems to be like the highest a part of a cardboard field (however does, in actual fact, line up with the beltline). There’s additionally a weird-shaped grille with an old-style Mazda emblem on the heart, an ungainly chin that jots from that grille out to the bumper, and spherical indicators on the fenders that appear a little bit too spaced out from each other.
The entire thing is simply weird. An off-roader by Mazda? Constructed for Burma? With a mysterious engine (and maybe mannequin identify) and ridiculous—however superb—styling?
I’m completely, positively, head-over-heels in love.