The Mazda 929 (also sold as the Ẽfini MS-9) was originally a mid-size car from 1973 to 1987 and as a full-size car thereafter. Marketed over three decades, the 929 was originally the export name for the Mazda Luce. When equipped with a rotary engine, it was called the Mazda RX-4 in export markets. Later, after the "Luce" name disappeared in Japan, the "929" badge was applied to the succeeding Sentia for the few export markets which received the last two generations. The 929 has always been a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive vehicle, and usually the largest sedan sold by Mazda. Station wagon versions of the first and second generations were available.
The first Mazda 929 was introduced in 1973, as an export name for the piston-engined second generation Mazda Luce, (itself introduced in autumn 1972). When equipped with a rotary engine, the car was called the Mazda RX-4. The first generation Luce had been called the "Mazda 1500" or "Mazda 1800" in export markets, but as engines of different displacement were beginning to be used across lines, such a naming philosophy would have soon become confusing. The 929/Luce was a large (for Japan) coupé, sedan, and station wagon powered by a 1.8 L (1,769 cc) inline-4 Mazda VB engine. Output was 94 hp (69 kW) and 101 N·m (137 N·m).
The Luce/929 was updated in 1975 with an optional 2.0 L (1970 cc) engine which produced 103 hp (76 kW) and 123 N·m (167 N·m) from a 2-barrel carburetor.
- 1973–1977 1.8 L (1,769 cc) VB I4, 2-barrel, 94 hp (69 kW)/101 lb·ft (137 N·m)
- 1975- 2.0 L (1,970 cc) MA I4, 2-barrel, 103 hp (76 kW)/123 lb·ft (167 N·m)
The rebodied Mazda Luce Legato was introduced late in 1977 and became the second generation 929 for export markets, often called the 929L. There was no coupé version developed of this generation, although a four-door hardtop body was available in Japan and some other markets. A station wagon was added in February 1979. The design was American inspired, with stacked rectangular headlights and a large chrome grille. A more efficient 2.0 L I4, producing 90 hp (66 kW) with a single-barrel carb replaced the existing engines. First presented in Japan in October 1979 was a facelifted version with large, rectangular headlights and a more orthodox appearance. The final addition was a 2.2 L Diesel engine in September 1980. Its output was 66 hp (49 kW) and 104 N·m (142 N·m). The 929 was replaced after 1981 by the next generation Luce/929, although the second generation station wagon continued in production until the March 1988 as no estate replacement of subsequent generations was ever developed.
- 1977–1981 2.0 L MA (1970 cc) I4, 1-barrel, 90 hp (66 kW)
- 1980–1981 2.2 L Diesel, 66 hp (49 kW)/104 lb·ft (142 N·m)
Mazda 929 coupe, ca. 1985The next generation 929 was introduced to Japan in October 1981 as the Mazda Luce. It was a large front-engine rear-wheel drive sedan or coupé on the new HB platform, which was now shared with the Mazda Cosmo. This version was introduced as the 929 in 1982 in most export markets and produced until 1986, though Japan got a new Luce a year earlier. Luces and Cosmos received several differing front end treatments, with export 929s receiving the very staidest front end designs for 929 sedans and the sportiest flip-up headlight "Cosmo" design for 929 Coupés.
In Europe the 929 was badged 2000 or 2000E (E denoting "estate car"; applied to a facelifted version of the previous generation). The turbo version was never offered in Europe, and neither was the four-door hardtop, although parts of Europe bordering on Eastern Europe and the Middle East did receive it. In Cyprus both the sedan and estate car versions were offered.
- 1981–1986 2.0 L (1,970 cc) MA I4, 1-barrel, 90 hp (66 kW)/118 lb·ft (160 N·m)
- 1981–1986 2.0 L (1,998 cc) FE I4, 2-barrel, 101 hp (74 kW)/115 lb·ft (156 N·m)
- 1981–1986 2.0 L (1,998 cc) FE I4, FI, 118 hp (87 kW)/126 lb·ft (171 N·m)
- 1986–1987 2.0 L (1,998 cc) FET I4, FI, turbo, 120 hp (89 kW)/150 lb·ft (203 N·m)
The 929 was updated in 1986 (1987 in some markets) with the HC platform and a 3.0 Liter V6 engine. The car was produced through 1991, again lagging behind its Japan-market twin, the Mazda Luce, by one year. The 929 began U.S. and Canadian sales in 1988; although predominantly available as a 3.0 Liter V6, there were a rare few that made it to the North American market as a 4-cylinder 2.2 F2 in a RWD configuration. After 1990, when Chrysler dropped its Fifth Avenue and Dodge Diplomat (both of which had 318-cubic-inch V8 engines) it would exclusively rival the Toyota Cressida until Toyota dropped the car after 1992.
The HC platform came out in two variations during its five year span that had identical engines and interior but with two distinct body shapes; a pillared four-door sedan as well as a slightly larger pillarless four-door hardtop. While the pillared model was common in all countries that allowed the importation of the 929 (including the US and Canada), the pillarless model was predominantly seen in the Asian, and Australian markets.
The Luce Royal Classic (and lesser-spec Limited) was more expensive than its 929 counterpart, featuring greater technical innovation — both were pillarless hardtops. The Royal Classic was factory fitted with a turbocharged 13B Rotary or 2.0 Litre V6 engines, electric leather seats, digital speedometer, a cool-box for canned beverages, prominent emblems, electronically adjustable suspension and power options throughout. In order to satisfy Japanese regulations concerning exterior dimensions and engine displacement, this generation vehicle was built in two versions; the 3.0 V6 was installed in the longer and wider hardtop bodystyle, and the smaller engines, including the rotary engine, were installed in the shorter and narrower sedan bodystyle.
The Canadian 929 came with a 'Winter Package' option and included heated seats, a higher grade alternator, winter tires and non-recessed windshield wipers. A five-speed manual gearbox was an option, but most North American 929s were two-mode ('power' and 'economy') electronic 4-speed automatics. Top speed was 121 mph (195 km/h). A 0-60 mph time of 9.2 seconds was recorded using the manual gearbox; the automatics were somewhat slower at 10 seconds.
The first 3.0-litre V6 engine seen in the 1986–1989 929 was a Single Overhead Cam type with 18 valves. When Mazda released the higher-spec 929S model for the 1990–1991 period, the engine was upgraded to a Double Overhead Cam type with 24 valves, slightly increasing fuel economy, performance and reliability. Also in the revised edition came the presence of an anti-lock braking system, ventilated rear disc brakes and a few inconspicuous changes to the exterior. The standard 18-valve SOHC remained in the base model 929.
- 1986–1990 2.0 L (1,998 cc) FE I4, 1-barrel, 82 hp (60 kW)/152 Nm
- 1986–1990 2.0 L (1,998 cc) FE I4, FI, 116 hp (85 kW)/121 lb·ft (164 Nm)
- 1986–1990 2.2 L (2,184 cc) F2 I4, 1-barrel, 115 hp (85 kW)/129 lb·ft (175 Nm)
- 1986–1990 2.2 L (2,184 cc) F2 I4, FI, 127 hp (93 kW)/141 lb·ft (192 Nm)
- 2.0 L JFT V6, FI, 110 hp (81 kW)/171 Nm
- 2.0 L JFT V6, FI turbocharged, 146 hp (107 kW)/235 Nm
- 1986–1991 3.0 L (2,954 cc) JE V6, FI, 158 hp (121 kW)/182 lb·ft (247 Nm)
- 3.0 L JE V6, FI, 190 hp, 191 lb·ft (259 N·m)