What Happens When Retro Gets Old? 1992 Mazda Miata

The 25th anniversary of the Mazda Miata is just around the corner. Think of the compact roadster competition at that point – the costly, long-in-the-tooth, over-luxified Alfa Romeo Spider, the wedgy MR2 available with T-tops, and what else? Triumph, MG, Fiat, and Jensen Healey had all disappeared in the past 10-15 years. So things were looking pretty bleak for the affordable sports car, until this came along – the 1990 Mazda Miata, introduced in late 1989 to long waiting lists and crazy dealer markups. Since then, they’ve been quite successful, and you can find an example of the first generation car for pretty short money. One example is this 1992 Miata for $2995 at a consignment lot in Santa Clara, CA, just near San Jose.

1992 Mazda Miata left front

Paint looks shiny, wheels look like take-offs from a later Mazda Protege, and while it has 176,000 miles, these are known to last a long time, and the engine has about 50,000 miles on it. That said, the consignor thinks the engine is a rotary, so it’s probably worth checking in with the actual owner (wouldn’t it be cool if it really was a rotary?) on engine specifics. The front bumper is rippled, but that is not unusual for older cars with molded plastic nose cones.

1992 Mazda Miata right rear

It looks remarkably good from this angle too. Has it been repainted? The red looks a bit pinkish – hopefully this is just a result of the light conditions and not how it looks in real life. Those wheels really look a bit chunky for this car – even the basic steel wheels would be an improvement. Judging by the power windows, this would have been a package B car, which also came with alloy wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel, power steering, an am/fm cassette player, a power antenna and cruise control. Being a 1992, it also should have ABS.

1992 Mazda Miata interior

Here’s the interior – even if the leather cover has failed, this cheezy 1980s wheel wrap needs to go. Things look pretty clean in here, although as usual you’d want to look under the seat covers. If you haven’t done it, you really do owe yourself a drive in a Miata – masculinity and copy-cat baggage aside, they’re light, fun-to-drive cars that can take a good beating.


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