Happy Birthday, Mazda MX-5

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]

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3 Responses to Happy Birthday, Mazda MX-5

  1. Mr.L.J. Nordvik says:

    My sincerest gongratulations to the magnificent MX5 on it’s 20th anniversary! And my compliments and respect to Mazda for having a commitment to this great sportscar that as an MR2 owner I sadly miss from Toyota’s decision makers.

  2. Peter of A. says:

    I can’t say anything better than Mr L.J. I’m totally agree with you.

    An aw11 owner.

  3. BlownArrow says:

    I love this little car! I’m in the process of building my neighbors 82 1600. tight little car
    I was even thinking of picking one up for myself to flog on the streets!

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