The ICEPU – 1972 Mazda B1600

In North America, talking about early 1970s Mazda pickups will include an assumption on the part of most car nuts that you are talking about the Rotary-Engined Pickup, known as REPU among its fans. Due to their competition history, and being the only rotary-engined pickup ever built, they have a relatively high survival rate (for an old compact truck) and are prized by fans. But what many of those people may not know is that Mazda also sold a standard internal-combustion engined pickup, the B-series, which lasted until 2009 as a badge-engineered Ford Ranger. The second generation model was introduced in 1965, and this 1972 Mazda B1600 is available in Clackamas, OR, with the opening bid at $1200, no bites yet, and 5 1/2 days to go.

1972 Mazda B1600 left front

The period Japanese styling is neat – perhaps not seeing them on the road anymore makes the remaining examples more appealing. Many tears have been shed over the demise of the compact pickup in the North American market, so that also works to make survivors attractive – they’re light, simple, and small. The seller says there’s some minor surface rust above and below the windshield.

1972 Mazda B1600 right

This was Mazda’s first year selling a pickup in the US market. It looks fairly primitive in terms of both its design and its specification – rubber floor mats, drum brakes all around, hub caps and a simple grille, and a basic metal and plastic dashboard. The black spoke/white rim steel wheels, faded white paint and hooks around the bed make it look rugged, but maybe a little bland. What would you do to make it shine? Vintage Honda bike in the bed? Pseudo-vintage hand painted sign on the door? Something else?

1972 Mazda B1600 engine

Engine looks pretty tidy, and access to everything on this pre-smog powertrain should be easy, which is good since the brake master slowly loses pressure. It has a recent clutch, resurfaced flywheel and associated bits, tune-up parts, carburetor, and hoses. Seller says it drives like the timing is off a tooth or two, so a compression test is definitely in order.

1972 Mazda B1600 interior

Wow! Did Homeland Security think you were bring in a brick of heroin, or did your dog find your secret stash of kibbles? The Mazda logo on the wheel is really cool, and along with the auxiliary tachometer on the dash, it seems to have an oil pressure gauge below the dashboard. Do ask the seller if he has the original door panels and the other window winder (not the one in the ashtray), since these pickups aren’t readily found in every junkyard. Sort this one out mechanically and do a little something to make it pop, and you’ll have a rare, fun truck.

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