Mazda Motor Corporation began life as the Toyo Cork Kogyo Co, and formally adopted the Mazda name in 1984. After encountering financial problems, Mazda embarked on a relationship with the Ford Motor Company, which took a seven per cent stake in 1979, rising to 33.3 per cent by 1996. However, under the leadership of Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Ford divested its stake in Mazda, and cut production and development ties.
Tim Webb, the secretary of Britain's Land-Rover Series One Club, says the Lantau crock we have discussed in previous issues appears to be an ex-military 88 model, dating from between late 1956 and early 1958. 'I cannot comment on it's mechanical worthiness, but it is quite clear from the picture that both chassis and bulkhead are in a very poor condition,' Webb writes. 'If it were in the UK, it would probably be considered beyond economic repair. That is to not say that an enthusiast wouldn't want to refurbish it - indeed, most parts are available for restoration. But the cost of repair will much exceed its value. All that said, don't let me put you off.'
And talking of old cars, Foot Down reader Angus Hardern says: 'Just behind the Beach Hotel in Sai Kung there is a 1949 left-hand drive Mercedes-Benz which, though clearly abandoned, is still in surprisingly good condition. Does anyone know anything about it?'
Sai Kung readers, over to you.
Finally, Mazda Hong Kong recently opened a new showroom with a glamorous party at 102 Austin Rd, Kowloon (tel: 2714 9105). The 3,500 sq ft premises have more coloured neon per inch than most businesses in the area and challenges Mini's Gloucester Road outlet in hipness and wattage. Take a look, if only to see the red RX-8 for $399,000 (below) and the 1.5-litre Mazda3, from $138,900.