Tadanori Yokoo’s 1968 Mazda Cosmo Brochure

Japanese pop artist Tadanori Yokoo penned the sales brochure for the 1968 Mazda 110s, also known as the Cosmo, and here it is in all of its pop art majesty.


Let’s start at the beginning and just work our way through the whole thing. The Cosmo itself is just a beautiful car, one of the prettiest designs to be built in Japan, and this little brochure for an unknown English-language market (Australia maybe?) takes the car in an unexpected direction to say the least.

From the very first page, there isn’t a great idolization of the lines of the Mazda, but rather of the car in the abstract – a pretty, flashy, fast, sports car.

This one is definitely my favorite graphic of the whole brochure. WHAMMOO! Rather than try to legitimize a high-performance car with gravely serious statistics and images, as one might find in a Porsche or Lamborghini brochure today, the Tadanori Yokoo embraces the child-like feelings of a sports car. I guess it was the sixties.

The Mazda’s rotary engine certainly doesn’t get left out, and gets some beautiful splashy chartjunt, pictures, and illustrations to cover it all of its engineer-ey weirdness. I don’t know how Edward Tufte would feel about the graphic on the left, but it’s certainly stick with me since I first ran into this brochure here some years back.

Car brochures really don’t have that much to say in the first place. Why not say it with disembodied pop art mouths? Actually, I really like the copy on this thing, which is at times just period-perfect, “What speed! What power! What thrust! The 110s delivers (you guessed it) 110 horsepower and puts out up to 7000 rpm’s without sweating it,” and at times just awesome; “This may be the biggest flabbergaster of all. Question; O.K., so it’s a snappy sports car, but who can afford a wondercar like this?” Answer: probably you.”

Will I ever write this well? “Swing off the highway, go bump-de-bump down a rocky goats path. The Mazda 110S has wishbone suspension in front. De Dion suspension in back. Radial tires underneath. Bumps won’t bug it.”

As to why I can’t go uptown and see this at the MoMA is beyond me.

Again, Tadanori Yokoo lays on the chartjunk, but I don’t mind. Sure I can’t really read any of the stats on these graphs, but who cares? I’ve never been so occupied with gear ratios as on these pages.

I have no idea what moons interstellar views have to do with pretty rotary sports cars, seen here as a tiny, insignificant blotch on the cosmos, but it all kind of makes sense -Mazda: we have New ideas! Even our sales brochures look like a crazy person thought them up!

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2 Responses to Tadanori Yokoo’s 1968 Mazda Cosmo Brochure

  1. Pres' says:

    Re: “…this little brochure for an unknown English-language market….”

    The 1967 TokyoMotorShow took place at Harumi Pier. International tourists (there weren’t many) were beckoned from the entry queues and chaperoned by an English speaking hostess. Entry was free and came with a special complimentary ‘show bag’ stuffed with goodies – the beautiful hostess guided us throughout the whole show. The show bag included brochures and a wonderful ’67 Motor Show badge (multi-metal naive art style). The Cosmo Brochure illustrated above was included – it was dated 6709 and in English.
    The Honda stand, in an effort to stand out from the Cosmo and the Toyota 2000GT, had ‘topless’ hostess’. This marketing ploy was so successful, that on the next day, most stands had topless ladies on hand. What can I say….it WAS the ’60s.

  2. Pingback: DESIGNERS UNION » 横尾忠則デザインの1968年のMAZDAのカタログ

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