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MX-5 designer Shunji Tanaka passes away

Mazda MX-5 founding father and former Kawasaki design head dies age 75

21 Dec 2021

SHUNJI TAKANA, one of the founding fathers of the Mazda MX-5, has passed away in Japan this week. He was 75. 


Takana-san worked alongside Tsutomu “Tom” Matano (of Holden Torana fame) to sculpt the NA-series MX-5. The first-generation of Mazda’s iconic roadster was developed under the then-secret Offline 55 program, which aimed to create an affordable two-seat convertible with strong ties to earlier British roadsters suh as the Lotus Elan and MG B.


The announcement of Tanaka-san’s passing was made on social media with a simple statement that read: “I am so sorry to announce that Mr Tanaka, the chief designer of the NA MX-5, has passed away on December 12 at the age of 75”.



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