The Miata/MX5 holds a Guinness Book of World Records title of as most successful two-seat convertible roadster in history…
Looking at the specs, it doesn’t seem too impressive.
A 1.6-litre engine, 116 horsepower, 100 lb-ft of torque, a 0-100 km/h time of less than nine seconds, 14-inch tires. Heck, my bicycle has bigger rubbers! Okay, maybe not.
But 25 years ago, the Mazda Miata was a product of those numbers. It wasn’t necessarily endowed in the engine department.
However, the two-door roadster did have everything else on its side. A sleek design, a peppy personality, a brilliant red coat and something that other cars have strived to achieve in their two-door roadsters over the years but have fallen short – longevity.
At a quarter century old, the Miata/MX-5 has achieved incredible success.
Close to a million of these drop tops have been sold worldwide. The Miata/MX5 holds a Guinness Book of World Records title of as most successful two-seat convertible roadster in history. Not bad for a car that packs in so many thrills for under $30K.
Over the years, the front-engine, rear-wheel drive car continued to encourage the masses to drive topless. Whether through a rag or hardtop, this specimen of automotive manufacturing and design allowed people to feel the proverbial wind in their hair within seconds.
I felt it as a kid as my mom was lucky enough to be one of the first Miata owners in BC when they came out in 1989 – a red one, of course – and took me out for rides frequently.
Those memories have stayed with me over the decades, though I’ve been able to form my own bond with the car.
Not only have we (meaning, the various MX-5s I’ve driven in the last in 11 years) put down thousands of kilometres together, we’ve also been paired up at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Skip Barber Racing School experience a couple of times.
Nostalgia is one popular element of its appeal, but there’s an undeniable fun factor. Whether racing it on a track or just taking it to the grocery store, the first turn you carve in it will rope you in like an infomercial in the wee hours of the night when you can’t sleep. But in the case of the MX-5, you won’t have any buyer’s remorse.
Fast-forward through the years and you’re now viewing the fourth generation MX-5.
And what better way to welcome the roadster to the stage here in California than via a little band called Duran Duran. And through a live satellite stream that was broadcast here, and abroad in Spain and Japan.
The reasoning? – Both the English music group and the roadster came into popularity in the 80s and continued to succeed and grow in status over the decades. Besides, “Rio” is an incredibly catchy tune to dance to!
That said the MX-5 has a new, eye-catching look to it. Not many specs have been released though I can tell you this: it’s lower, wider, and sheds 100kg in the making.
It also embodies the KODO or “Soul of Motion” design language.
This two-seater also comes with sexy character lines from its four corners. Furthermore, up front, you’ll notice its headlights that look like they’re eyeing its prey; unlike the first generation’s pop up/down headlights that were more than welcoming.
Like with all-new models of anything legendary, there will be a polarizing reception. Some might think it’s too radical. Some might fall immediately in love with it. And some will wait to drive it to make up their mind.
Regardless of the way it looks – which certainly helps its cause – it’s really about how you feel on the road, behind the wheel, and when you tuck it in at night. More details about the MX-5 are scheduled to be released at this year’s Paris Auto Show.
Either way, I can’t wait to drive it.
Regardless of background, profession, or preference in exterior colour, few vehicles in the world bring people together as strongly as Mazda’s MX-5…
Despite the relatively early call time, a group of almost 100 Mazda Miata/MX-5 drivers/passengers gathers for the morning’s meeting.
The weather is looking favourable even though the a.m. envelops the crowd with its chilliness. It’s not raining though. That’s a good sign.
Tour organizer and former Trillium Miata Club president, Gary Svoboda, talks about the day’s journey, addresses some basic housekeeping rules, makes some jokes and engages in witty banter with a group of excited Miata enthusiasts.
Everyone is ready to hit the roads of Vermont in their tiny, drop top, two-doors. Everything from first generations Miatas, to the latest and greatest rear-wheel drive roadsters line the gravel parking lot of our home base, also known as the Stowehof Inn.
Stowe, VT’s claim to fame is as a ski destination. Currently, its claim to fame is the 46 Mazdas that drove in from Ontario and are congregating for their annual tour.
Each May long weekend, a group of club members look forward to the event. It’s been going for over 20 years and hasn’t disappointed. The crowd gets rowdier by the minute so go-time is just around the corner.
The meeting wraps up; we branch into our respective groups and fire up the engines.
As honorary members for the event, my co-pilot – aka my mother Zsuzsanna Straub
– and I get behind the wheel of our MX-5.
Within moments, we’re topless… the car, not us!
Seven vehicles comprise a group, including a leader and a sweeper. We’re comfortably nestled in the bosom of the pack.
Our job is to enjoy ourselves, as well as give the MX-5 a little bit of room to romp free.
It’s hard not to smile on the undulating roads of Vermont, which are lined with trees, houses, fields and topped off with a bovine scent!
Then there’s what’s called “The Notch.”
A mountain road where emaciated limbs of indigenous trees look like they’re reaching out and trying to touch the cars. Boulders are scattered and the path is paved around it. The intermittent obstacles would likely be the outcome of two Greek gods having a rock fight. You would have to have superhuman strength to move them.
The sinuous and slender road is a hoot to drive through especially with no one in front of you. The occasional crackling on the CB radios frequently is overpowered by instructions from the leader.
Like a mother duck summoning her young, we followed in order. We stuck together and took in some breathtaking scenery of New England. Scenery aside, what was the most interesting to breathe in was the enthusiasm and energy of the Miata owners.
Liz Burns has “Miatatude” stickered across her windshield. Miata earrings dangle from her ears as she professes her love of her emerald beauty.
Another owner decided to turn his conventional doors into ones that open up not out.
At breakfast, lunch and dinner, they regale each other with stories of other events they’ve been on. Outbursts of laughter perk up the ears of bystanders; making them wish they were at that table reliving the memories. The camaraderie of those young and young at heart is undisputable.
Regardless of background, profession, or preference in exterior colour, few vehicles in the world bring people together as strongly as Mazda’s MX-5.
Liz was one of the first members of the Trillium Miata Club. She expected to join a group of Miata owners and drive with them on weekends. Liz says she “didn’t expect to make friends for 25 years” but she did.
And as the Miata/MX-5 turns 25 this year, here’s to another quarter century of promote the best that life has to offer: the bond of mankind and machine, 167 horsepower at a time.