Mazda Classic Museum Frey Augsburg

Christian Bittmann
Mazda Classic Museum Augsburg
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A On May 13, 2017 the only Mazda museum will open outside of Japan in downtown Augsburg. Mazda history comes to life at Wertachstrasse 29b. 45 historical models tell the story of the Japanese car manufacturer on more than 1,500 m². In addition to the historical Mazda models from the German market, the exhibition also includes numerous rare Mazda classics that were only sold in Japan or the USA, for example, as well as rare individual items from the Frey family's private Mazda collection, which comprises around 120 vehicles. In addition, Mazda Classic offers a 700 m² event area, a restaurant and a Mazda Classic Shop.

Opens its doors on May 13, 2017: Mazda Classic in Augsburg.

Opening times:
Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission prices:
Adults: 5.00 euros; Children 13-17 years: 2.50 euros; Children up to 12 years: free entry; Seniors /students: 2.50 euros. Groups of five or more: 4.00 euros /person; Group tour (up to 20 people): 50.00 euros

We were able to take a look around the exhibition in advance. Crazy. They are all totally crazy, says Marcus Frey. He means his family and himself. After all, he, father Walter and brother Joachim now own a car museum. With old Mazdas in there. Yes, you read that right. No Mercedes gullwing, no air-cooled Porsches, but Mazdas. The Japanese with the Wankel engine. Where the enthusiasm comes from is probably actually clear: 'Everyone can do Otto', Walter Frey justifies his decades-long passion in a nutshell. The technical sophistication of a rotary piston engine and the difference to conventional drive methods have been inspiring him since he was at schoolMazda is a pioneer. In 1978, the 78-year-old started selling the cars. He and his sons now run three Mazda dealerships in the greater Augsburg area.

They started the 'Mazda Classic' project back in 2015. They bought an old tram depot in the city center, had it repaired and then added and for their treasures. Or at least a select selection from their collection, which now has more than 120 Mazda models. 'We all have the most important ones,' says Marcus Frey, the family's 'hunter'. He is primarily for Responsible for spying, he says. Always keeps an eye on the Internet portals, constantly checks his 'connections' in Japan in search of new jewels. 'Yes, that's addicting,' describes the 46-year-old and his eyes sparkle.

It started with the Cosmo

He can still remember her first one very well. In the mid-eighties, the Freys started with the splendid Mazda Cosmo, of all things. The first Wankel with two windows. Chassis number '5'. 'It infected all of us with the collection virus,' said Frey. At that time they traveled to New Jersey to pick up the car at a port. It was not in top condition, 'we still had to do a lot like that Windshield. “Price? “You don't talk about that.” The Freys now have three Cosmos in their collection. So that they don't have to argue about who is allowed to drive the fancy two-seater. Number “5” has a place of honor in the museum and is enthroned on a pedestal. The family trophy. Marcus Frey estimates that it is also the most expensive Mazda standing around here. Value? There should be over a hundred thousand.

Father and sons are not only connected by collecting, but also by handicrafts. Apart from painting and bodywork, the Freys do everything themselves on their 'gold pieces'. Practically, father Walter is a trained car electrician, brother Joachim is a qualified car mechanic and Marcus Frey himself is a car mechanic. 'We have clearly defined our areas,' explains Frey the family hierarchy. So nobody gets in each other's way. On the weekends, they still enjoy working hours together with their Mazdas. 'Freyzeit' so to speak.

Christian Bittmann
Actually a secret project:the K360 tricycle.

With the container ship to Germany

There is always something to do. Because on the Internet they often buy 'the pig in a poke.' That means that they pay for the cars without having seen them in person beforehand. 'We get these things from Japan, Australia, New Zealand or anywhere else. You can't always go there beforehand. ”So they rely on the sellers to bring the cars to the port, from where they are then shipped to Europe. It is pure thrill every time. 'Every time the container door opens, it's Christmas for me,' says Frey, describing my first encounters with internet purchases. They would have experienced a lot there. From perfectly neat new cars like the Mazda 616 Capella, the one with 'zero' kilometers on the clock it said about models where the engine was removed from the front, like the R360 Coupé. 'But up to now there has never been any real junk. Fortunately.'

By the way, they also sell cars on the side - after all, the expensive hobby has to be financed somehow. The Freys are now better known in the scene as Oldtimer doctors specializing in 'Mazda and Wankel'. There is nowhere else such a comprehensive collection of the Japanese cult models. Even Japan does not offer greater selection, the family suspects. Otherwise they would surely have found out - they have already been there a few times, including with the Mazda bosses.

One encounter stuck in Markus Frey's mind: 'There we have the fickle god Kenichi Yamamoto The Japanese engineer was in charge of rotary research at Mazda in the seventies, when the company was still called Toyo Kogyo. Frey showed the Japanese, who is now well over 80 years old, a photo of her freshly restored K360, a pink-painted tricycle with a cargo area closed at the front. Yamamoto allegedly winced when he saw it, his eyes widened: 'He told us that it was some kind of secret project,' Frey continues. Yamamoto secretly developed the model with his team. It was supposed to be the successor to the first mass-produced Mazda vehicle, a GB three-wheeler from 1950. 'Customers asked for a more advanced three-wheeler with a roof, but the board refused.' So Yamamoto and his bosses designed the K360 without further ado Faced with a fait accompli. 'When he saw the photo of our tricycle, it was a very overwhelming moment because he put so much heart and soul into this Mazda,' recalls Frey.

Christian Bittmann
Marcus Frey, father Walter and brother Joachim now own a car museum.

Part of a unique Wankel bus from the collection

His personal favorite in the collection is a RX7 from 1979. The competitor of the 'Volksporsche' 924 at the time is not a particularly valuable car, but personal memories are attached to it: 'I started with the Moved to England in the eighties. “After completing his apprenticeship, he wanted to“ see something different ”and decided to emigrate with bag and baggage. He drove to the British island in the RX7, his first Mazda, where he e hit an auto repair shop in a few months. But after almost a year he went back: 'I liked it better in Germany.' Frey's father, on the other hand, raves about the Parkway bus, a real exotic car. 'It's the only bus with a rotary piston engine,' he says excitedly. It is unclear how many models of the 42 former school buses that were originally produced still exist. Either way, the Wankel bus is a rarity.

In this way, the Freys could go on talking for hours. Finally there is the tiny gullwing called 'Autozam AZ1', a micro-car with a supercharged three-cylinder that never came to Germany. Or the Pathfinder XV1, an off-road vehicle that was built in Burma and suspiciously resembles an old Land Rover. Or the prestigious Luce, which after the Cosmo is certainly the second most valuable car that stands around here. They don't even want to start with the legendary MX5, they are currently missing one in yellow. They speak quickly and grin, complete each other's sentences.

The spacious museum hall is now slightly darkened, the nose has long got used to the tinny, heavy smell of old cars. The official opening is planned for October. The exhibitions alternate thematically, so that different Mazdas are always presented As soon as the 'Mazda Classic' is equipped with a restaurant, it should not only attract visitors, but also as an event area serve. The family is supported in the planning by Mazda Germany and by Klassikprojekt manager Marc Baumüller, who also looks after the Klassikstadt in Frankfurt or the Ewald colliery in Recklinghausen.

The Freys are currently considering how many advertising posters they will send Walls should hang. They also want to add a few racing cars to their collection. They have just bought a 727C that was used in the 1984 24-hour race byLe Mans came into play: 'We're still missing a few,' admits Frey and rolls up his sleeves. He keeps his eyes open. Brother Joachim nods in agreement. They are a well-rehearsed team. Mazda maniacs. And totally crazy.


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