You played with this car in Need For Speed , own it or wished you owned it! Many of our readers will fall in one of these three categories so let’s see all about Mazda MX-5 MK1 also known as Mazda Miata.
The MX-5 was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show on February 10, 1989. The MX-5, with production code NA, was made available for delivery to buyers worldwide in the following dates: May 1989 (as a 1990 model) in the US and Canada; September 1, 1989 in Japan; and 1990 in Europe. An optional hardtop was made available at the same time, in sheet moulding compound (SMC).
So if you do some calculations will see that a quarter century has passed since the Mazda MX-5 first appeared on our roads.
The MX-5 was the perfect roadster for those who wanted the traditional sports car experience without the associated worries unreliability and oil leaks. With a twin-cam engine that’s more powerful than the Lotus Elan it apes, the MX-5 offers sufficient performance, though not enough to trouble the fine handling and grip. Steering was good and the gear change was as precise as a rifle bolt.
The MX-5 achieved Guinness world record status in 2000, when the 531,890th car was built, and a couple of years ago the tally passed 900,000.
Bad: signs of hard use from enthusiastic previous owners who recognized a performance bargain, sill rust, failing pop-up headlight motors
But if you want to feel the real value of this roadster you should buy one, because only if you drive this MX-5 will understand the feeling.
5 things you didn’t know about Mazda Miata:
- The X in Mazda MX-5 come from ”eXperimental”
- Don’t have a clock, a fuel light and a roof light
- Has pop-up headlights
- The gauge oil is acting like a second tachometer
- It shares door handles with Aston Martin DB7
Designer Tsutomu Matano, Shunji Tanaka (1984, 1986)
Body style 2-door roadster
Platform Mazda NA
- 1.6 L (98 cu in) B6ZE(RS) I4
- 1.8 L (110 cu in) BP I4
- 5-speed manual
- 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,265 mm (89.2 in)
Length 3,950 mm (155.5 in)
Width 1,675 mm (65.9 in)
Height 1,230 mm (48.4 in)
Curb weight 940 kg (2,070 lb)
Standard transmission was 5-speed manual. In Japan and the US, an optional automatic transmission was also offered but proved to be unpopular. The Japanese and American markets also received an optional viscous limited slip rear differential, although it was only available for cars with a manual transmission. To achieve the low introductory price, the base model was stripped. It had steel wheels, manual steering, roll-up windows, and no stereo or air-conditioning. Power steering, air-conditioning, and stereo were added as standard equipment in later years.
The NA could reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.1 seconds and had a top speed of 126 mph (203 km/h) although Japanese market Eunos models were limited to 112 mph (180 km/h). This first generation of Miata (often referred to as the NA) included a special Limited Edition of 250 examples in 1991, produced in British racing green with the first use of tan interior, to celebrate the highly successful launch of the MX-5 in the UK. These have a numbered brass plaque on the dash above the glovebox and on the front of the Owners Book and are fitted with alloy wheels from MSW (Mazda Sports Workshop) which are often mistaken for BBS’s, but which are entirely unique to this model.
For the 1994 model year, the first-generation MX-5 was freshened with the introduction of the more powerful 1.8 L (110 cu in) BP-ZE engine, dual airbags and a limited slip differential in some markets.
The new 1.8 L (110 cu in) engine produced 98 kW (131 bhp), which was then increased to 99 kW (133 bhp) for the 1996 model year. The base weight increased to 990 kg (2,180 lb). Performance was thus improved slightly, because the additional power was partly offset by the extra weight. In some markets such as Europe, the 1.6 L (98 cu in) engine continued to be available as a lower-cost option, but was detuned to 66 kW (89 bhp). This lower-powered model did not receive all the additional chassis bracing of the new 1.8 L (110 cu in). Japanese and US cars were fitted with an optional Torsen LSD, which was far more durable than the previous viscous differential.
The first generation MX-5 was phased out after the 1997 model year (with the exception of 400 limited edition Berkeley models sold only in the UK in 1999 to mark the end of the NA), with the final 1500 NAs produced for the US market being the “STO” (“Special Touring Option”) versions.