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Mazda MX-5

NA MX-5

Mazda logo1 Oct 1989

By THE GOAUTO TEAM

Mazda turned the sports car world on its ear with the timeless Mk1 MX-5.

Using the original Lotus Elan as inspiration, Mazda added space, comfort, reliability, useability and economy to the lightweight rear-wheel drive concept.

And since driving pleasure was a priority, the MX-5 was engineered with a front mid-mounted engine layout for a 50:50 weight distribution, a very rigid body, quick rack and pinion steering and double wishbone suspension.

The result was a sensational handling roadster that also offered stunning style thanks to a hint of retro design. Worldwide acclaim and huge sales followed.

The beautifully balanced chassis benefited from Mazda’s sweet revving 85kW 1.6L twin-cam 16-valve motor (from the 323 range) mated to a fine five-speed manual gearshift.

The simple manual roof mechanism has not been bettered, while a detachable plastic hardtop was an option.

Beautiful details abounded, from the rorty exhaust note and chrome trim to the gorgeous seven-spoke alloy wheels.

All Australian delivery cars also featured power windows and a radio/cassette player, and most will have air-conditioning.

The only official colours available were red, white and blue, but there were a string of limited edition hues, including 300 British Racing Green cars from October ’90 (which also included a CD player and leather trim), 60 yellow cars called “Malibu Gold” from December ’91 (which coincided with an upgrade which featured a remote boot release, heated rear window and overhead reading light), and 100 “Classic Red” editions, with power steering, leather trim, CD player and BBS alloy rims.

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