The predecessor of the Porter, introduced in February 1961, the Mazda B360, was available as a pickup (KBBA33) or light van (KBBAV) version of the R360 kei passenger car. It had a 356 cc OHV V-twin producing 13 PS (10 kW) (BA) and weighed 535 kg (1,179 lb). The 1962, export only Mazda B600 was similar to the B360 except that it received an enlarged 577 cc version of the air-cooled V-twin. Later versions shared the P600 Carol's 586 cc RA engine. In September 1963 the B360 gained the 4-cylinder, 358 cc 20 PS (15 kW) DA OHV engine from the Carol. It also received a facelift and new modelcodes (KBDA33/KBDAV), and a DeLuxe Van version was added. Top speed went up from 67 to 79 km/h (49 mph). In October 1966 the B360 received another facelift, giving it a much more modern look.
Available either as a pickup truck (KBDB33) or a small van (KBDBV), the first Porter (E360 in export markets) was produced from November 1968 to April 1976. The car was closely based on the B360 predecessor, but with all-new body panels.
The initial engine was the carry-over four-stroke, 20 hp (15 kW) 358 cc I4 from the B360. The engine was changed to the Chantez' 35 hp (26 kW) 359 cc water-cooled, two-stroke two-cylinder in April 1973, which required some cosmetic changes (KBAA/KBAAV). In 1975 the Porter was modified to fit new, larger license plates and the engine downgraded to 32 hp (24 kW) to match new, stricter emissions regulations.
The wheelbase was 1,995 mm (78.5 in) with leaf springs in the rear, weight was 475 kg (1,047 lb) and maximum cargo capacity was 300 kg (661 lb) when first introduced.
Porter Cab (1st Generation)
The Porter Cab (KECA53) was introduced in March 1969. It was a small, cabover pickup truck on a 1,835 mm (72.2 in) wheelbase, equipped with a live rear axle and a 23 PS (17 kW) at 5500 rpm, 359 cc water-cooled, two-stroke two-cylinder. This, the CC, was Mazda's first two-stroke engine. Top speed was 90 km/h (56 mph).
In 1970 new doors were developed, with sliding windows were exchanged for roll-down items, incorporating a quarter window. A ventilation vent was also added to the front. Like the Porter, the Porter Cab received the Chantez-derived AA engine in April 1973, which offered 30 PS (22 kW) at 6000 rpm, five less than in the Chantez. In January 1975, the Porter Cab too was lightly modified to fit the new larger license plates - hitherto, kei cars had carried smaller license plates than regular cars (230 mm (9.1 in) x 125 mm (4.9 in) rather than 330 x 165 mm). The Porter Cab, with its peculiar cowlings around the headlights carried an instantly recognizable "surprised" appearance.
Like the Porter before it, the Porter Cab was labelled E360 in export markets.
Porter Cab (2nd Generation)
When Kei car regulations were changed for 1976, due to shrinking sales in the category, Mazda did not think it a worthwhile expenditure to develop a new, clean 550 cc engine. Instead, they discontinued the Chantez passenger car and the Porter pickup, and began buying Mitsubishi's 2G23 engines to equip the Porter Cab. The Porter Cab was stretched by 200 mm (almost entirely behind the rear axle, with the 1,835 mm (72.2 in) wheelbase remaining) and widened by 100 mm (3.9 in). Dimensions were now 3,195 mm (125.8 in) x 1,395 mm (54.9 in), and the 546 cc Vulcan S two-cylinder developed 31 PS (23 kW) at 5,500 rpm. The headlight bezels were squared off, lending the car a more conventional appearance.
The second generation Porter Cab was only available in a bright blue color with light grey trim (bumpers, headlight bezels) and black interior, until the 1983 facelift after which only white was available. The facelifted version gained the cleaner Vulcan II engine (G23B), although power output remained the same. Trim pieces were now in a darker grey, interior brown.
In 1985 there was another minor facelift, with trim pieces now in black and a black band between the headlights. The engine switched from a timing chain to a timing belt, and the interior changed to gray. Air conditioning was now available as an option. In 1987 the Mitsubishi Minicab received Mitsubishi's new three-cylinder engine, but the Porter Cab had to soldier on with the old two-cylinder. In June 1989, after twenty years of continuous production with nothing more than facelifts, the Porter Cab was finally retired. It was replaced by the Autozam Scrum, a mere badge-engineered Suzuki Carry.