Usually when you read articles about cars with the wackiest names, its Japanese models that dominate the list. There’s the Honda That’s, the Mitsubishi Lettuce, Honda Life Dunk, and the delightful Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard. But one that tends to stick in people’s minds is the Mazda Bongo Friendee. Well, it turns out the Bongo Friendee has competition in the bizarre name stakes, and it’s from another Mazda. Meet Indonesia’s Mazda Baby Boomers.
photo courtesy of Sabung Hamster
The 1977-80 Familia/323/GLC was Mazda’s last rear-wheel-drive, mainstream subcompact. Not a terribly exciting vehicle, it was replaced in 1981 by a more modern, front-wheel-drive design. But Dr. Frankenstein – or in this case, a company known as IndoMobil – went searching through the graveyard and reanimated the little Mazda’s corpse.
In 1990, IndoMobil launched the Mazda MR90. It was their pitch for a national car for Indonesia, but the government instead went with the Timor. The Timor debacle is a whole story in itself, as it was exempt from duties and taxes… but wasn’t actually built in Indonesia! The government’s choice of this Kia Sephia clone managed to anger almost everyone. Incidentally, the Sephia was based on the sixth-generation Mazda Familia.
The MR90 stuck around and for 1992 it became the Baby Boomers. Differences were cosmetic: there were new bumpers, headlights borrowed from the old Mazda 626, rear spoiler and some sportier trim. Underneath, things were exactly the same: the only engine offering was a 1.4 carbureted four-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual. It was fairly popular as its older design made it cheap to buy and easy to repair. By 1995, the Baby Boomers was gone although a lightly restyled version of the RWD GLC wagon, the Vantrend, remained.
There you have it. Myriad cars have been marketed to baby boomers, but now you know there was a car that was actually called Baby Boomers!