1 Oct 1989
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.
The Road to Recovery podcast series
18th of November 1989
Mazda 1989 MX-5 convertible