The Littlest Supercar turns 25

“And in the end, it is not the years in your life that count. It is the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln


If someone asked me to name the greatest sports car ever made, I am sure my answer would include names like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo or Jaguar. These were marques with history, pedigree and tradition that instantly evoke a time of motorsports and man vs. machine. Depending on how you define greatest, I would have been wrong. If greatest means the most popular, the most loved, the most driven, and the car with the longest production, then there is only one answer…and it is already sitting in my garage. Surprisingly, I am a more savvy collector than I realized, because the correct answer would be the Mazda MX-5 Miata.


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The Miata is celebrating its 25th anniversary, having been introduced in May 1989 at the Chicago Motor Show. The “little car that could” has gone and done what very few others have, it became the most popular sports car ever made, with over 920,000 examples sold. More than that, they have become the automotive equivalent of a golden retriever, a constant and reliable companion to people around the world.


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The Miata is so loved, it has spawned its own motorsport events, clubs and associations and even a cottage industry for parts and accessories. Each Miata has its own personality, and the age of hot rods and custom cars is alive and well in Miata world. The cars featured in this post are just a small example of every Miata owner’s dreams (and nightmares), and give a hint to the versatility of the littlest supercar.


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Owning a Miata is probably one of the best decisions of my life. It is fun, responsive, fun, dependable, frugal, fun and, with the makeover of the NC series, pretty damn attractive as a sports car. It does force you to make some sacrifices in life. One reason why I do not have two dogs is that I have barely enough room for one. No one ever wants to go on a road trip with you, and the stereo just flat out sucks. The ride is harsh but precise, the steering is somewhat vague, and it could use about 50 more horses. There is no room for stuff at all, and the car is so small I am not even able to carry my guilt.


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Earlier models had that whole “hairdresser” image to get through, but in time they have grown on me, and I compare them more to a Lotus Élan than a effeminate Audi TT. But with the top down, driving a winding road on a starry night, there is nothing better to drive.


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Miata porn is another part of owning the car. Facebook pages are littered with photos of each person’s ride and the latest mods they have added. Whether they are creating the perfect track day car, the best custom, or just a standard Miata with a little more oomph, everyone is hooked on showing off their ride.


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My Miata, “Ella” is a standard 2007 Mazda Miata Grand Touring edition in Copper Red Mica with a tan roof and an outrageous orange interior. It is, in my opinion the best combination this side of a custom paint job. As you can see, some of the cars shown here are extreme examples of what can be done when you have more money than taste, but each is unique and pretty cool in its own right.


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So, Happy Birthday you little supercar, and thanks for all the years and miles of fun and excitement. I can’t wait to see what happens in the future.


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