It seems that every issue of Cosmo magazine contains an article about how women can improve their orgasms. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Mazda Cosmo is gender neutral, but will hearing its price have you asking, come again?

Volvos today look like weeks-old bars or soap, or something the cat extruded from its ass. But, back in the day they didn't, and they proudly wore their anti-aerodynamic-tarianism like a badge of honor. And we respected that. Sadly for what was really a box that looked to be a barrel of monkeys, eighteen grand felt to high a hurdle for 89% of you, and yesterday's natty 240 GLT Turbo went home with both a Crack Pipe loss and its tailpipe between its tires.

Today's 1976 Mazda Cosmo is as ostentatious as that Volvo was austere, and comes with the added bonus of having a hummer under the hood. If you want to let your automotive baroque freak flag fly, you can do no better than a mid-‘70s Japanese car. Back then the Rising Sun auto makers' designers must have been putting extra wasabi on their fugu rolls because almost without exception every Japanese car of the era comes with styling that goes above and beyond. Maybe it would be an extra window with an odd border trim. Or maybe it would be tail lights with paisley patterns, or door handles ornate enough to be a samurai warrior's codpiece adornment. Whatever the detail, it was like an all-you can eat of pastiche, and the penners all had sumo appetites. The reason, as explained to me, was that Japanese traffic was so heinous that the car designers wanted there to be an interesting styling element to be visible and iconic, even if only part of the car was visible behind the guy on the Ichiban Pizza delivery bike - one bite and we Ginza!

I cannot attest to the veracity of that explanation, as it has never been corroborated for me, but today's '76 Cosmo sure has delirious detailing. Taking its name from the Return of Ultraman-staring Cosmo sport coupe of '67-'73, the RX-4-based Cosmo Grand Touring 2+2 was positioned as a mini-Thunderbird, or Monte Carlo. Made available here in the States from '76 through '78, the Cosmo was offered with Mazda's 12A, 100-pony Wankel. A five-link rear suspension, along with added luxury accouterments added to the burden of that little torqueless wonder.

This one is claimed to rock 170-bhp due to a Holley carb, Holley fuel pump, and recent tuning - probably by somebody named Holly. Whatever. Mazda rotaries are pretty ubiquitous these days and dropping in a new one - maybe even a nasty turbo edition - wouldn't cause the average wrencher to so much as break a sweat. With a five-speed stick backing up its triangular piston'd motor, this Cosmo is ready to party.

Inside, the party has already started, and ‘70s Japanese car insides rival their exteriors in baroque styling excesses. This one comes in lurid red velor - making driving it like riding in a pimp's pocket. The dash is faux woodgrain, very similar to that of the contemporary Toyota Celica, and is topped by the world's crappiest dash cover. Sown below there are metal pedal caps for brake and clutch that are so ginormous that even Herman Munster could heel and toe this thing. Extra gauges abound, with a chrome three-pack sprouting under the glovebox like an informative bout of herpes, and a single a-pillar-mounted one to let the haters know how it rolls. Perhaps most egregiously, the e-brake creepily looks like it was late to its bris. Personally, I'd rather just leave it in gear than touch that thing.

Outside, well, as I noted, there's a lot going on here. The Cosmo is a six light coupe meaning it has three windows in each side, and the odd middle one - sort of like an opera window, but surrounded by more glass - does crank up and down. Up front the four headlight nose also houses a grille that would have made Buick proud, and out back the tail lights roll up at the ends like they were meant for a bigger car and didn't exactly fit here. Establishing a solidarity with the original designers, the seller here has DUB'd up the wheel wells, and slapped on some fake fender vents. However, those blights could be easily rectified.

The Cosmo was introduced at a time when gas availability was being constrained and Mazda's rotary was seen as both less reliable and more consumptive than its piston-powered rivals. For those reasons, among others, the Cosmo did not sell well, and hence today you're unlikely to find them cluttering up the lot at your local CarMax.

This one's a rare bird, being as it is in pretty good shape and sporting only 70K on its clock. Plus, it comes with FL plates that say COSMO 76 - how lame cool is that? For all that freaky ‘70s styling and mazda rotary goodness, this seller is asking a cool eight grand. That's more than when it was new, but then again it is rare, and would likely be a crowd pleaser at any Mazda meet or opium den.


But what's your take on that price. Is $8,000 a price that's fair for a Mazda so rare? Or, does this Cosmo's price offer not a tip for getting your toes to curl?

You decide!

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