The Best Display in NYC Was a Group of Old Miatas
The best collection of cars at the 2014 New York International Auto Show was not Audi’s booth of hot cars. Nor was it “supercar alley,” with its Lamborghinis and Koenigseggs. Nope, it was a group of some of the most important Mazda Miatas in the history of the model. The Miata is about to be replaced. In New York, we were treated to the chassis of the next Miata, but not the whole car. Instead, Mazda put a handful of Miatas on display– each had a unique historical importance. The collection was there to help generate buzz for the forthcoming Miata, but also to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the car’s debut. Here were our favorites from the collection. RELATED: See Photos of the 2012 Mazda MX-5 Kuro Special Edition 1990 Miata: Production Number 17
There were three cars that were part of the original debut at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show. They were red, white and blue. This was the white car, but had a stranger life than red and blue. It was supposed to go racing in the SCCA Escort Endurance racing series, but the team to which the car was donated lost its sponsor. It was then given to Dan Edmunds (who is director of vehicle testing for edmunds.com and is a terrific journalist and a real car guy), who raced it. There are 6,500 miles on it, and all are on the track.
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2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5
The Mazdaspeed Miatas are among my favorite, and this one is also special, in that it was the 700,000th Miata produced. It had a turbocharged 1.8-liter making 180 horsepower, thus it was the most powerful production Miata in the history of the marque.
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Club Racer: 1989 Chicago Auto Show Concept
Displayed alongside the original three Miatas was this little gem. Mazda engineers wanted to test the potential for the car, pushing the performance boundaries. It had a lower suspension, fixed headlamps that were more aerodynamic than the flip-up units, and wider fenders to fit the Panasport 15-inch wheels.
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M-Speedster: 1995 Chicago Auto Show Concept
Arguably one of my favorite is this little number. The car tries to be more masculine with larger fender flares, a chopped windshield, and the twin cowlings that flow into the headrests. There are also racing bucket seats, five point seat belts, and– our favorite feature– integrated storage for racing helmets.
M Coupe: 1996 Chicago Auto Show
The M-Speedster was my favorite car– until I saw this creation. Mazda designers wanted to know what the car would look like with a fixed roof– and this is what they ended up with. The third-generation RX-7 was rolling out at the same time that this car was being created, so you see several design elements that allude to the epic, rotary powered coupe. It is truly a shame that this car never went into production.
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