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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
By MATT BROGAN
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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