The Tokyo Motor Show has always been a place full of zany surprises. But 50 years ago this week, the company that would become Mazda dropped a zany surprise on the whole world that remains beloved by speed fans all over the world: the rotary engine.
Of course, Mazda didn't invent the rotary engine. Felix Wankel did, and scores of other automakers spent decades experimenting with how to implement it in passenger cars, including Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Rolls-Royce. Some, like NSU, even pulled it off for a while.