100 years of memorable Mazdas: from tiny Kei cars to Group B rally stars

Tucked away in the centre of Augsburg in Germany sits an architecturally-imposing building. Striking as it is, there’s very little signage to inform passers-by the life this former tram depot now lives. But for the inquisitive, or those who know what they’re looking, for there is a small sign: Mazda Classic Automobil Museum Frey.

For anyone with even the remotest interest in Mazda, this is heaven. There are now close to 300 rare and clever vehicles representing every model and series launched by the manufacturer since the 1930s. Given this year is the Japanese carmaker’s centenary, It was the perfect time to go knocking on the door of Walter Frey’s Aladdin’s cave.

Walter — a most genial 70-something — loves Mazdas and has been a Mazda dealer since 1978, drawn to the brand by its unconventional approach to technology. His passion has evolved into the creation of the biggest and most comprehensive selection of heritage Mazdas in world, assisted by his equally obsessed sons Joachim and Markus. There are cars here that even Mazda doesn’t have in its own collection in Japan! Star of the show is the first car in Walter’s collection – a 1968 Cosmo Sport 110S – but on own private whistle-stop tour we discover some other absolute gems.

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Lancaster Guardian