1990 MAZDA MX-5

The MX-5 didn’t just emulate the best small British sportscars, it dramatically improved the recipe.

Pretty, desirable, affordable and engineered to delight driving enthusiasts. No wonder the MX-5 has gone on to be a million-seller since the original NA series plugged a big gap in the car market when it was launched in 1989. This car joined one of the first NZ shipments and was registered in early 1990.

What appealed most back then still stands out today. Firstly the simplicity of the styling that has arguably not been bettered by subsequent generations and suits bold block colours. Then there’s the race-inspired double-wishbone suspension mounted to a rigid chassis for beautifully balanced handling. The twin-cam 1.6-litre engine is all you need to exploit its agility. This motor combines instant throttle response with an invigorating exhaust note, and it soon developed a bulletproof reputation for reliability, much like the rest of the thoroughly engineered car. A preceise, short-throw gearbox and direct, unassisted steering are the icing on a very entertaining cake.

A joy to drive, then, but it’s also proven a joy to use due to the practicality of the hood. One person can raise or lower it comfortably in under 10 seconds and it stows neatly beneath a tonneau cover without impacting on the respectable boot space.

Ever owned one? Share your NA MX-5 experience: keepers@kiwigarage.co.nz

CATEGORY RELATED
READ ALL
MAZDA MX-5

VARIANT NA Roadster

COLOUR Red

UPHOLSTERY grey cloth

ENGINE 1598cc in-line four

POWER 85kW (114bhp)

TORQUE 136Nm @ 5500rpm

TRANSMISSION 5-spd manual; RWD

0-100km/h 9.4 secs

WHEELS 14-inch steel

WEIGHT 950kg

LENGTH 3.95m

EMAIL keepers@kiwigarage.co.nz

RELATED POSTS

MAZDA MX-5 (2)

The MX-5 resulted from Mazda’s single-minded determination to make a car that majored on fun.

MAZDA MX-5 (3)

Appeal is less about the raw performance, equipment or image, more about purity and effectiveness of original design.

MAZDA MX-5 ROADSTER

Mazda’s latest drop-top proves just the ticket on a spellbinding tour of South Island beauty.

MAZDA MX-5 RF GT

Agile drop-top proves endlessly entertaining in RF manual guise with the clever retractable hardtop.

MORE KEEPERS

PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS (7)

The follow-up to this car showed you can never underestimate Porsche’s capacity for improving a five-star sportscar.

NISSAN 350Z TRACK (6)

Zed-car legend began with a game-changing car no one was expecting from a Japanese maker.

AUDI TT COUPE (4)

Two decades after its debut, the TT compares favourably with modern metal in all but a few areas.

MAZDA MX-5 (3)

Appeal is less about the raw performance, equipment or image, more about purity and effectiveness of original design.