Remember when Mazda made a suitcase you can drive? (Jacob Oliva)
·2-min read
1991 Mazda Suitcase Car
1991 Mazda Suitcase Car

There's just one important issue why it wasn't mass-produced.

Mazda prides itself in innovation – not just in modern times but also in the past wherein the automaker has been eluding the norm. Who would forget when the Japanese marque started selling a roadster at a time when the body type was dying?

Today, Mazda is offering a petrol engine that uses both spark and compression ignitions (like a diesel) in Mazda3 SkyActiv X – another innovation beyond the norm. But did you know that the company also created a suitcase that transforms into a three-wheeled vehicle in the '90s?

There wasn't a proper name for the said machine but it's called the "suitcase car." Made by a group consisting of seven engineers from Mazda’s manual transmission testing and research unit, the suitcase car concept won the automaker's Fantasyard in-house competition that aims to come up with the best creative mobility ideas. These engineers were given a small budget to create the vision to life.

The final product was a thrill. Using a pocket bike and a 57 x 75 centimetres (22.4 x 29.5 inches) Samsonite suitcase, the trike only takes one minute to assemble. It's powered by a 34-cubic-cm (0.034-litre) two-stroke petrol engine that makes 1.7 bhp, allowing speeds of up to 30 kilometres per hour (18.6 miles per hour).

Mazda's current innovation:

The suitcase car was touted with the Mazda DNA, mostly from its low centre of gravity like the MX-5. It also harks back to the three-wheeled Mazda-Go that was launched in 1931.

Sadly, the suitcase car never made it to mass production because it wasn't entirely practical because of its 32-kilogram (70.5-pound) weight. Imagine carrying that around on trips as second luggage. Then again, as it became a rolling advertisement for automaker, two more were made for U.S. and Europe. The European version was showcased at the 1991 Frankfurt International Motor Show.

Source: Mazda