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When Mazda came calling to Holden

Combining a Holden chassis with Mazda mechanicals sounds like a fair idea, however it turned out to be a shocker.

The Roadpacer AP was produced between 1975-1977, though the last example was sold in 1979 as low torque and a heavy weight resigned this model to be one of the slowest on offer.

Not having a large flagship sedan offering Mazda pursued a relationship with General Motors a few years before it famously tied up with Ford leading to the Roadpacer AP (for Anti-Pollution).

Using Holden’s marquee Premier bodyshell during the HJ and HX series, Mazda fitted a 1.3-litre 13B Wankel rotary engine as well as a Jatco 3N71B three-speed automatic transmission making this the first General Motors product to fitted with such a powerplant.

Producing 97kw, then 13B Wankel engine main weakness was its torque at just 138Nm as combined with the rather heavy 1575kg package it performed poorly compared to the other large Japanese flagships, which included an Isuzu badged Statesman De Ville.

The Toyota Century, Nissan President and Mitsubishi Debonair proved more popular as the Roadpacer AP’s drawbacks included terrible fuel consumption, poor acceleration and high cost.

Mazda also added features including a central locking system activated at 10km/h, a chime occurring at 90km/h, a dictation device and a stereo controlled from both front and rear.

Only 800 units were sold in Japan as mainly these were purchased by government departments and later crushed leading to the Roadpacer AP being quite a rare model, just like the Holden Premier it is based off.

A few have returned to Australia in this configuration and Mazda later returned to the large car market with the 929, which sold locally throughout the 1980s until 1991 later becoming part of Eunos’ line-up.

Of course, the Holden Premier was built in large numbers ending when the Commodore was introduced in 1978.