As we roll towards June, automakers are ramping up warm-weather testing for prototypes. So when we saw a spy photo of a camo-wrapped roadster shaped like a Mazda Miata posted to Instagram on Sunday, our interest was understandably piqued. The current-generation  MX-5 is nearly a decade old, but this isn't a new Miata in disguise. It's actually an old one that, according to Reddit, is owned by someone in Florida.

At first glance the camouflaged body suggests this is a prototype vehicle in disguise. But after a few seconds it's easy to spot some red flags. The biggest is the roof being down, something we rarely see on legitimate test vehicles. Even if there's nothing new inside from a design perspective, manufacturers invariably have testing gear or monitoring systems hooked up that they don't want folks to see. Moreover, the seats look like aftermarket items versus something factory. The open roof also shows the clear outline of the dash and the windshield frame—indicators this is actually a first- or second-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata.


Using older models as test mules for evaluating new powertrains is common practice amongst manufacturers, but that usually involves using a current-generation model. The NA Miata is over 30 years old, so it's extremely unlikely Mazda would step back that far to test something new. And what's up with those headlights? They look lifted from an early Subaru BRZ, and the driving lamps on the lower fascia look like aftermarket add-ons that were installed with care. Prototype lights seldom have such a clean look about them.

Our sleuthing brought us to Reddit, where our suspicions were confirmed. This car made the rounds last year, including the same photo recently shared again on Instagram. Redditor Thee_Sinner says it's modified to look like a test mule, citing a person familiar with the car as the source. The extent of the modifications is unknown, though. Clearly there's a body kit underneath the camouflage, and there's something strange happening at the front end beyond just the headlights.

Motor1 is full of Miata fans. We'd love to know more about this build. If this is your car, jump into the comments with some details or shoot us an email. What's going on at the front? What's under the hood? How often do you have the car paparazzi tailing you? In any case, bravo for doing something truly different with your ride.

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