Keepers: Mazda Miata MX-5

Features I By Christopher Smith I March 22, 2010

If we could choose only one car to represent the epitome of Winding Road’s philosophy, well, it wouldn’t be the Miata. But you can bet your driving gloves and designer sunglasses that the little Mazda would be in the top five, maybe even in the top three. Few cars in the past 20 years have captured the essence of basic, undiluted driving enjoyment as well as the Miata, and it should come as no surprise that this outstanding little machine isn’t just a Keeper, but an icon among motoring purists around the world.

The Miata’s concept is nothing new. Classic British droptops like the MG Midget and Triumph Spitfire brought simple, recreational motoring to the masses long before the Miata was even on the drawing board. One ton, two seats, three pedals, a balanced chassis driven by the rear wheels, and an open roof—it’s a very simple, inexpensive recipe that leaves us wondering why more manufacturers don’t offer such a sports car. Mazda clearly mastered the concept with the very first Miata in 1989, and they’ve managed to sell over 700,000 worldwide through the end of the second-generation’s run in 2005. That’s a very impressive figure for what amounts to a niche vehicle, but it warms our automotive hearts to know that we’re not alone in our Miata fandom. Maybe there’s hope for the world after all.

All Miatas are Keepers as far as we’re concerned, but we’ll focus on the second-generation cars (1999-2005) for their combination of mechanical upgrades, refined styling, and affordability. That last point is one of significance, because these cars can be found for well under $10,000 in just about every town across the country. The second-generation cars also had the benefit of extra horsepower—142 ponies for the standard Miata or nearly 180 for the turbocharged Mazdaspeed versions in 2004 and 2005—while beefier wheels, brakes, and suspension upgrades made the already tossable Miata even more of a joyride. Yes, it grew a little bit in size and weight, but we’re still talking about a svelte two-seater with an exclusive connection to the primal sports car switch in our brains. Should the human race eventually evolve into cars, we suspect most enthusiasts would resemble the Miata.

In the market for a Miata? There are plenty of styles and special edition models to choose from, and we’ll take a look at them in our next round of Keepers, coming soon.
 

The Guide to Road Racing: Winding Road Magazine's ultimate guide to getting your start in racing.

Table of Contents

Related Articles

Super 3 Origins: Celebrating Super 3 Inspirations with Nine Limited-Edition Commissions

Morgan is celebrating the original inspirations for its rebellious Super 3 with a limited-edition series of commissions known as Super 3 Origins. The collection features…

July 10, 2024
The Bugatti Tourbillon: An Automotive Icon ‘Pour L’éternité’

Molsheim, France, 21 June 2024 – In 2004, the reborn Bugatti brand transformed the world of automotive performance and luxury with a 1,001 hp hyper…

June 21, 2024
The 1000 Miglia 2024 Has Started

BRESCIA, Italy, June 11, 2024 – The 2024 edition of the Red Arrow started at 12:30 pm from the Viale Venezia platform. Shortly before the start, a thunderstorm had threatened…

June 11, 2024
LBI Limited Offers Rare Alan Mann Heritage Edition – 2022 Ford GT

1 of only 30 examples Produced PONTIAC, Mich., June 6, 2024 – LBI Limited, specialists in the sales, brokerage, and collection management of collectible vehicles offers…

June 06, 2024
Morgan And Pininfarina Present Midsummer, A Celebration of Coachbuilding And Timeless Style

Midsummer celebrates more than two-centuries of combined coachbuilding experience between Morgan and Pininfarina. Midsummer’s barchetta design celebrates an iconic European body style and demonstrates the…

May 16, 2024

EMAIL SIGN UP

Get the latest driving and racing news straight to your inbox.

no thanks

Begin typing your search above and press return to search.