About The Mazda Miata/Eunos/MX-5
WHAT DOES MIATA MEAN?
WHAT IS A MIATA?
Simply put the Miata is the most sold roadster ever, this segment of market was considered dead and Mazda revived it in a very successful way.
It is a simple two seater, RWD, sporty but far from being tricky to drive, with a simple mechanic... it has all been put together for driving experience nothing else.
HISTORY OF THE MIATA
The history of the Miata begins with a "press trip" on the occasion of the presentation of the first Mazda RX7 in 1978.
The Japanese manufacturer invited the entire automotive press to come and discover its latest sports car. Among these journalists, the American Robert Hall made the trip.
Hall, who speaks Japanese, is used to cover this kind of events and regularly exchanges with Kenichi Yamamoto, chief engineer at Mazda.
At the end of the presentation, the two men have a conversation during which Yamamoto asks Bob Hall what the next Mazda sports car could be.
The roadster, a forgotten art... at the time Bob Hall was nostalgic for small English roadsters. The Austin Healey, Triumph and MG have rocked his childhood and disappear from the market one after the other.
The Italians are also deserting this low-volume market, and it would never occur to any manufacturer to enter the two-seat sports roadster market.
Yet Bob tells Kenichi Yamamoto that Mazda should enter this market, since they will soon be the only one.
To put his money where his mouth is, Bob Hall grabs a piece of chalk and starts drawing on a blackboard the profile of a small two-seater convertible, which should obviously be rear-wheel drive, light and easy to build.
Bunzo Suzuki, in charge of press relations at Mazda, immortalizes this sketch, without suspecting that it will become historic.
The Miata will quickly invade California
Three years later, in 1981, Bob Hall joined Mazda USA. The American branch of the Japanese manufacturer has a design office that creates its own models for the US market.
He first worked on the B200 pickup. One day, during a visit from Kenichi Yamamoto, the latter reminds him of his suggestion for a small roadster.
The Japanese asked Bob Hall to work on this project. But on one condition: the future Miata being absolutely not a priority for Mazda, and not planned in the program for the moment, he will have to work on it, outside of working hours.
After the project was validated, the Japanese and American design teams competed.
But it was the Californian project that won the right to design the Miata, thanks to a model with perfect proportions and a real personality.
At its first public appearance in February 1989, at the Chicago Motor Show, the Miata, also known as the MX-5 in Europe and the Eunos in Japan, was unanimously acclaimed.
With its proportions, characteristics and look, it was the heir to the Lotus Elan or Triumph Spitfire, but with Japanese reliability.
The retractable headlights finish by making JDM car lovers fall in love.
The order forms filled up quickly, forcing the manufacturer to postpone the European launch.
Apart from its successful design, the Miata has another advantage. Its rounded design hides a particularly successful chassis.
The Miata is a rear-wheel drive car offering unique driving pleasure. Light, reliable, easy to maintain and available for as little as $14,000 at its launch, the Miata has everything to please and will quickly invade the West Coast of the United States.
It was a worldwide success, upsetting all the analysts who thought the roadster market was over because it was out of fashion.
The Miata replaces vintage roadsters in the hearts of enthusiasts, while offering the ease of use and reliability of a new Japanese car.
Today the Miata has been produced for more than 30 years.
The first generation was succeeded by an Miata NB, which abandoned its retractable headlights, followed by an NC and an ND, the code names for the third and fourth generations.
The Mazda Miata still offers the same sensations. The fun driving, hair in the wind.
It still symbolizes, more than 42 years after the discussion between Bob Hall and Yamamoto, what a sports car should be.
ARE MIATAS RELIABLE ?
Yes definitely, the first two generations of Miatas are legendary for their reliability and it is confirmed on the third model. It is reinforced by the adoption of a chain drive for the engines, which are resolutely puncture-proof. The fourth gen seems to be build very well too according to owners. JDM for the reliability too then.
HOW MUCH IS A MIATA ?
There is a Miata for every wallet : if you want the brand new 2021 Grand Touring model you are going to need $31,770. But if your budget is tighter you can find a decent used NC for around 5000$ and if this is still too expensive you can get a cheaper, older Miata maybe one with a simple problem that is cheap and easy to solve so you have the best bargain, but you will have to fix it... This is the price for the most sold JDM roadster.