Are you beginning to look at your bucket list a little bit more closely? Perhaps not everything has been crossed off. It’s getting to be that time in your life where some hopes and aspirations just might not come true, like that trip to Antarctica or retiring in Bali. But there are some ambitions that are doable, such as buying that little convertible sports coupe you’ve always wanted. Why not? The kids have graduated from college, the mortgage is paid off, and you and your spouse have your freedom. It’s that mid-life crisis urge to buy that special car just because it’s fun. But, of course, your practical side limits you from splurging on a Ferrari or Lamborghini. No, you’re going to visit your local Mazda dealer and see what fun cars they have to offer.
If you’re looking to regain the joy of driving a small convertible sports car and live a rich, fun-filled life, the new 2017 Mazda Miata MX-5 is for you. It certainly qualifies as a highlight on your bucket list. This latest hardtop version of the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 gives drivers a more accessible open-top driving experience. It offers a dual purpose: when the roof is closed, it’s a sports car with gorgeous fastback lines; when the roof is open, the driver and passenger receive an exhilarating open-air feel. Mazda designers have built a luxurious and quiet cabin with the roof closed and a fun, carefree feel when the top is down. It’s the perfect vehicle to solve your mid-life crisis.
First generation and beyond
You might also come across a first-, second-, or third-generation Mazda MX-5 at your local Mazda deale. The more recent MX-5 models have become a big hit with customers around the world. When the 2016 model was launched, consumers noticed its more aggressive look compared to previous generations. It lost its softer, playful attitude and was replaced by a more serious stance. Its design incorporates broader hips near the rear tires exuding the vehicle’s power and performance. This is a more mature generation of Miata.
If you happen to come across a first generation Miata sold from 1990-1997, you’ll immediately notice the difference from other generations. That’s because they come from a history of being a sports car. They sit low to the ground, they’re simply designed, they roar and purr, and they are equipped with optional air conditioning and heat. They weighed only 2,150 lbs and were only available in red, white, or blue. Plus, you could raise or lower the top easily with one hand.
You’ll find first generation Miatas equipped with a 1.6-liter, 116 bhp motor, with a 5-speed transmission, rack-and-pinion steering, independent suspension, and disc brakes. While not a race car, the Miata went from zero to 60 mph in just under nine seconds and completed the quarter mile in 16.8 seconds, crossing the finish line around 80 mph. By 1994, the engine had increased to 1.8 liters and power increased to 130 bhp.
Many of these first-generation Miatas were purchased as collectibles and stored in a garage. Others were used on the road and racked up 300,000 miles and are still going strong. These originals were sold with steel wheels, no power steering, and simple wind-up windows. If you purchased the “A” package, you could enjoy power steering, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum alloy wheels, and cassette stereo. The “B” package included power windows, with cruise control and headrest speakers. Moving up to the “C” provided a tan interior and top and leather seats. The really difficult models to find are the “R” package for racing or the “M Editions” for annual special editions.
You might even have a particular Miata in mind. Look for red, black, white, blue, or silver Miatas in first generation NA models and red, green metallic, bronze, silver, and black in the second generation NB models.
Of course, if you really want to make this an adventure worthy of your bucket list, try to track down a collectible, antique Miata. Already, sports car enthusiasts have targeted older Miatas to purchase especially if you can find an original condition first year low VIN model. What’s more, ever since the Miata was first introduced it has had one special edition model sold in the U.S. So you’ll have a lot to spot as you check it off on your bucket list. On your trek, look for collectible Miatas with special or limited or M-editions in rare color combinations, such as Laguna Blue with a tan interior. Less than 1,000 of that combination were produced between 1994 and 1995. Or search for the 1993 Limited Edition Miata with a black exterior and a bright red interior. Only 1,505 were built.
Another valuable model worth finding is a Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata and its special official turbo version. This limited run vehicle went on sale in the U.S. in 2004 as a second generation model and quickly ended production when a fire destroyed the factory in 2005. It’s become highly sought-after due to factory modifications, such as wider tires, six-speed manual transmission, and an upgraded suspension. If you’re lucky enough to uncover a turbocharged version, you’ll really have found a rarity. The turbo provided the car with 178 horsepower with drastically increased performance. Drivers can get 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. It still maintains the reputation of being the only Miata built with a turbocharger from the factory.
If you’re in the midst of having a mid-life crisis or checking items off your bucket list, take the time to test-drive a Mazda Miata. Your friends might scoff at a Miata but you know better. Today these vehicles reign as one of the most revered roadsters and are quickly approaching legendary status. Besides, did you know that the word “miata” actually means “reward” in old German? It will be a reward when you find the exact sports car for yourself. Life’s too short to drive a boring family sedan. Look into a new 2017 model or search for a real collectible from years earlier.