Artifact Mazda’s Suitcase Car from the ’90s Is the Luggage We Need in 2022Some updates would be required.
- Words Zack Zeigler
- Images Mazda
In 1991, Mazda ran an event within its organization to see which group of employees could whip up an innovative “moving machine.” In a year the Ford Taurus would be the best-selling car, Nirvana would burn up the charts with its iconic Nevermind album, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day would clean house at the domestic box office, we’d also get a glimpse into innovation that was way ahead of its time.
At the time, people cruised on simple (non-motorized) skateboards and rollerblades. The idea of turning a Samsonite suitcase into a vehicle? Pfft, that’s ridiculous!
But the competition was on, and a group of seven engineers sparked the idea and got to work. From Mazda.com:
They purchased the largest Samsonite suitcase they could find and a Pocket Bike motorbike. The 33.6cc, 1.7hp two-stroke engine, handlebars and 4-6 inch-diameter tires from the Pocket Bike were then fitted into the suitcase. The rear wheels could be slotted onto the outside of the case while the front wheel would pop through a removable hatch in the front. The suitcase car took just a minute to assemble and had a top speed of 30km/h. While the original prototype was accidentally destroyed just a few months after the Fantasyard event, one suitcase car still remains in existence.
No doubt these would’ve have made airport trips far more enjoyable. Screw those moving walkways, we’re zipping to the duty-free booze mart at 18 mph!
Of course, nowadays, it’d be quite the hassle. For starters, you’d have to pack light, considering the mobile luggage was just under 71 pounds. And odds are high that you’d be flagged at security when the device ran through bag check.
But why let the facts get in the way of a good shower thought?
In the decades since we’ve seen some luggage upgrades, including adding USB ports, wheels that move 360 degrees, and hardshell cases that keep your socks and underpants nice and cozy. There are even some more advanced carry-on rides available. But c’mon, Mazda. You’re the OG in this arena and you’re just going to let brands like Rydebot steal your thunder!
You can ride the retro wave and release a revamped original — like the Sega Genesis Classic — or rewrite the script entirely. Some inspiration:
No pressure, but we’re all waiting …