32K Mile Survivor: 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Sometimes the Mazda Miata, also known as the MX-5, seems like the last man standing. As small, two-seat sports cars have come and gone, mostly the latter, the Miata has hung in there and is still going strong.  And, for your review, here on Barn Finds Classifieds, is an early example from the model year 1990. This Miata is located in San Diego, California and is available for $8,900.

Introduced for the 1989 model year, the MX-5 has been through four different generations and our sale example is a member of the first iteration, known as generation NA which was produced from 1989 through 1997. Interestingly, model year 1990 was the MX-5’s best year with total production of 95K copies. All told, since 1989, total sales have exceeded 1 million units, which according to the Guinness Book of World Records, puts the MX-5 as the best-selling two-seat sports car of all time.

The seller tells us that his MX-5 Miata, likely as a result of always being garaged, is still wearing its original finish, though the top has been replaced. The exterior presents very well as there is no sign of typical red fade or indication of bumper friction/general contusions. That said, it would probably be a good idea to peak under the bra and see how the nose has held up.

Unfortunately, there is no image of the 113 HP, 1.6 liter, in-line, four-cylinder engine. Additionally, there is no reference to this Mazda’s operating capability or driving characteristics. The mileage is reported as being 32K miles, and the six-digit odometer does display that reading, but there is no emphatic claim or supporting documentation. The typically found five-speed manual transmission connects the engine to the rear wheels.

The interior images are not too revealing but from what can be seen, the gray cloth upholstery (referenced as black in the listing) looks fine with no indication of rips, tears, wear or stains. Ditto the dash pad, the SoCal sun has not been able to do its darndest on it, and that further attests to the “always garaged” claim. One little matter is the radio, the seller just replaced the battery and the radio is now blinking. The solution is knowing the radio’s activation code, and a Mazda dealership may be able to help with that mystery. The air conditioning is listed as being “good“.

The seller states, “…would keep the car but moving to Ukraine ASAP“. That’s a reason for selling a car that I haven’t heard before, but whatever you need to do, I guess. Most of the cars featured on Barn Finds are old, some are very old, but 1990 seems recent until you realize that it was 31 years ago! This Miata is old enough to seem simple, or classic compared to the current version, but young enough to almost seem like a new car – it’s a nice blend wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. MoragaPulsar

    Thin on facts and background. VIN is not complete/correct.
    JH1NA351XL010050

    Like 1
    • Glenn

      I contacted the seller, the vin number ends in 00150, making it the 150th Miata made for the US market. I think it’s worth a lot more than he’s asking!

  2. Terrry

    Another lazy seller. Not enough photos, and besides that bra looks like it had an overdose of Armorall. And I can almost guarantee, this car has more than 32k miles. Why is the first zero on the odo misaligned?

    Like 5
  3. Richard

    My first Miata (I’m now on my third one)was a red 1990 with a removable hard top. Drove the daylights out of it and traded it with 133,000 miles on it for my second one, a 2000 M edition. Now driving a 2006. Loved all of them! Still not too crazy about the latest iteration, but maybe someday………..

    Like 1
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      I’m surprised that you are less than enamored with your 2006, Richard. I absolutely love mine. It’s a dream to drive. I also have a 95 with 83K on it and it feels a lot smaller and no more nimble than the 06 (which now has 91K…purchased used with 65K).

  4. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Joined the NA family this year with a low-mile 95 M-Spec. What a joy! Scratches all those unrequited itches I had for open British sporty cars from years ago, without the demons or the need to do anything other than polish the drool off.

    Like 5
  5. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Looks like a nice Miata. I had a bra on our silver Accord for a while and did not realize until removing it there was starting to become a slight contrast between the paint under it and the rest of the car. Never put it back on after that.

    Like 2
  6. ERIK

    Should the “Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid” sticker on the rear window be a subliminal hint to any potential buyers?

    I will say it is nice to see a first-gen Miata not hacked and modded by some young buck who thinks they should be “tuner-ed” into some road race car rather than preserved as the ever-increasing valuable classic stock original Miatas have become.

    Like 1
  7. Frank

    Nice car and better with the Mustang 5.0 or LS3 engine swap.

    Like 2
    • Roland Schoenke

      I’d go with the 5l because ford had a stake in mazda then so it would seem fitting, myself though I’d leave it with the numbers match motor and add a super charger kit.

  8. Paul

    Who would move to Ukraine unless they were being deported?

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