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.