Mazda MX-5 1989–97 -

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Mazda MX-5 1989–97

Automobiles from 1990 > Extra about cars in 1990

The original MX-5 of 1989, also called the Miata, was a smart mix of all that was best in the classic 1960s sports cars. The difference was that it used cutting-edge technology, from its all-wishbone suspension to its fuel-injected, 16-valve, twin-cam engine. The MX-5 was the product of a rigorous design process carried out in both North America and Japan. The result was a car that was delightful to drive and had no obvious failings, and it soon developed an enthusiastic worldwide fanbase.

Oriental symbolism

Mazda has tried various logos over the years. This design was said to represent the sun with a flame within. It was introduced in 1991, but replaced with a new stylized “M” symbol in 1997.

THE MX-5 was brought to production by a small team of car-loving engineers, and was aimed above all at the U.S. market. Intended to achieve “the ultimate unity of car and driver,” the MX-5 was designed around a rearmounted front engine, to give 50:50 weight distribution. The aluminum backbone chassis helped the car give crisp responses when driven. For an affordable, compact sports car, out-and-out performance was not required, which meant that the car could have a small 1,600 cc engine-although an 1,800 cc unit was later available.

It also meant the car could be light in weight. Despite sceptics within Mazda, the MX-5 went on to become a huge success, and in its original form lasted until 1997, by which time over 400,000 had been made. Two subsequent evolutions of the car have stayed true to the character of the original.
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