1 Mar 1987
Mazda worked with shareholder Ford to produce its first modern light car class entry, the 121.
Built in Japan and slotting below the bigger 323, the 121 was offered in a single body, engine and gearbox configuration: a 3-door hatchback, powered by a 46kW 1.3L single-cam 4-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed manual.
Unique for its time was the 121’s sliding rear bench, which added up to 180mm to luggage space at the expense of rear legroom.
There was the base Deluxe, well-equipped Super Deluxe, and the Super Deluxe-based Fun Top, so called because of its large electric sliding canvas sunroof.
The mid-range Super Deluxe gave way to the Shades model from October ’88. De rigueur for the segment was the 121’s front-wheel drive, torsion beam rear suspension, and rack and pinion steering.