Has it really been 20 years since the birth of the Mazda MX-5? Indeed. The little two-seat roadster was unveiled in February 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show.
Okay, we know this really isn’t a nostalgic yet, but it was developed in the spirit of cars like the Datsun Sports 1600, Lotus Elan, Honda S600, and countless Triumphs and Austin-Healeys.
Plus, many JNC readers are owners (and Kev himself was a former Mx-5 pilot) so we’d like to give them a shout.
Called the Miata, Eunos Roadster and MX-5 depending on the market, it was launched amidst universal praise. While its four-cylinder didn’t make much power, it’s appeal lay not in raw speed but simplicity. With a 50-50 weight distribution and FR layout, it was a pure distillation of the motoring experience. Mazda will not let you forget that the phrase Jinba Ittai, or “rider and horse as one,” was at the core of the MX-5’s US-Japan joint development effort. Best of all, it’s price tag was only in the $13,000 range. As of 2008, Mazda has sold 857,201 units, making it the best-selling roadster of all time.
Nowadays, everyone from Porsche to Pontiac have modern open-top sports cars in their lineups and they all have the success of the MX-5 to thank. Happy birthday, MX-5!
[Image: Kanako Kinebuchi, Mazda]