I am happy to discover that there are 2nd gen MX-6 enthusiasts out there. I worked at the Mazda California Design studio from 1983-2009 and was the primary designer on the 92 MX-6. The program began in 1986-87. During that time, we created the advanced theme and pre-production models of the MX-6. After this time Mazda Japan and California mutually cooperated to execute the final production design.
I have enclosed the link to my images out of my archives. I would be more than happy to answer any inquiries about the development including the cabrio.
I don't think I've seen those early design pics before, but the cabrio pics I've seen. How close did the cabrio come to being a production car? Was a cabrio actually produced, or just renderings? From the pics it looks like an actual car was produced...
The 92 MX-6 cabrio was an actual running and driving prototype designed in collaboration with Modern Engineering out of Detroit and our Mazda R&D group in California. Modern Engineering had expertise in soft folding top mechanisms and body structure analysis, the two major items we sought. Extensive digital structural analysis was initially performed to determine what areas on the body structure needed reinforcement. Structural reinforcement pieces were fabricated and installed within our body in white. We had structural stiffness targets that we wanted to meet to have the car best in class. Our main competitor was the 3-series BMW. Our Japanese and American teams performed many real world driving tests along side competitor vehicles to evaluate and tune the car for the best ride dynamics. It was a fully functioning and driving car including an electric folding top. The inner body was re-enforced in a 6 major areas especially around the cowling.
The team also considered a soft rear vs a hard glass rear window. With each brought a very different look to the side profile of the soft top due to packaging. We decided on the soft window. This choice gave us a very fast and handsome rear profile.
The plan was to work in conjunction with ASC to build the cabrio offline at the plant in Flat Rock Michigan. All work and logistics were completed within a 8 month period and the build plan was ready to implement. Alot of time, money and resources were placed into this program. Unfortunately at the eleventh hour the Japanese management killed the program. Our team could never fully understand the rationale behind the decision. Buy hey, thats the Auto-Biz.
I have many other images of the prototype process and the test trips. I would have to spend some time sifting through the files to find them.
What a surprise to find this here now ! And what a different look the convertible
gives to the car....
Can you share any thoughts how the design process for the hood and front fender area went ? It seems to come out of some of the old racing cars like Lotus or Ford. No other production car seems to have used this design, however.
I am a big car history buff, and I'm into collecting old snippets of history.
Back during my MX-3 days, I amassed a respectable collection of original brochures, marketing materials, magazine articles, clippings of old ads, and other assorted paraphernalia. It's such a fascinating thing when you read a magazine article from Aug. 1991 about a "new" car coming, and the early reviews of the brand new MX-3 and such! Haven't yet built up my collection for the MX-6 yet, but as soon as some disposable income frees itself up... *nod
Seeing those early sketches and design concepts is such a treat. But even better, you were physically part of the process! A living record! Please stick around, I'd simply revel in being able to pick your mind and ask you more about the history of our cars (of course, at your own leisure ^_^ )
By the way, my girlfriend continues to insist that she only started dating me because of my car (the mx-6) and so therefore, I guess I owe you one (at least partially).
1992 MX-3 ZE 2.5L V6 MTX (SOLD)
1995 MX-6 LS 2.5L V6 MTX
2004 6 S (Sport Hatch) 3.0L V6 MTX
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