picture postThere’s something very odd about this dashboard

1981 Mazda MX-81 Aria concept


1981 Mazda MX-81 Aria concept

In 1981, Mazda teamed with Bertone to develop the MX-81 Aria. Mazda’s end of the bargain, however, was merely to supply the underlying mechanicals which had to be sourced from their production fleet — a condition of the collaboration.

1981 Mazda MX-81 Aria concept

Bertone elected Mazda’s 323 (a.k.a. GLC which, incidentally, stood for Great Little Car). Rather than just a body replacement, Bertone reportedly took the platform apart and rebuilt it to suit their needs, all while using production Mazda parts.

1981 Mazda MX-81 Aria concept interior

In an effort to offer ease to the driver, the MX-81 Aria included a rather peculiar feature. Careful observers will note that’s not a reference to the swiveling checkered seat.

1981 Mazda MX-81 Aria concept instrument panel

Notice it lacks a steering wheel — at least one in the literal sense. Instead, the MX-81 Aria was equipped with more of a steering belt. It appears slitted so that it could bend around the curved, CRT-dominated instrument panel. No word on how it worked in practice but it doesn’t look very easy or even comfortable to handle.