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Left On The West Coast: 1991 Mazda Miata

We don’t often see late-model classics gathering dust, but this 1991 Mazda Miata has been entombed in storage since 2003. The owner claims he moved to the East Coast that year and left the Miata behind – and now knows he won’t be bringing this California car to the road-salt loving east side of the country. Find this dusty Miata here on eBay listed at no reserve with bidding just over $1K at the moment. 

I owned a Miata very similar to this one, but in far worse shape. The color combo was the same and I even had the luggage rack. I didn’t love that car, mainly because my expectations for the Miata were high. It was a fine driving car and pretty reliable, but wasn’t the orgasmic experience I felt other owners had promised. Still, for the money, it’s tough to beat a classic NA Miata for a cheap open-top driving experience.

The seller says there is no rust on this California Miata and under 80,000 original miles. Tires were new when it went into storage, but I’m sure they’ve flat-spotted by now. The “gas pedal Club” is in place, and reminds us of a time when owners actually placed a great deal of trust in The Club. The interior looks very well preserved, but Miatas tend to have hard-wearing cabins to begin with. Even my ratty example still looked good with 130,000+ miles on the clock.

The seller says that while in perfect running condition when stored, nothing has been done to set it up for long-term storage. That means there was no Stabil in the tank, battery wasn’t removed and dryer sheets nowhere in the cabin. So don’t expect to just drive this away like any other Miata – but perhaps some quick maintenance right from the storage unit would be all it’d need to get up and go. At no reserve, someone’s going to take home an easily resurrected project car.


  1. Alford Pouse Member

    Was at a car show over the summer. Stopped to look at a Lotus Elan, guy there was saying “leave it to the Brits to copy a Japanese car” About choked on my drink.

    Like 1
    • PJAKABenziBoy

      That story made my entire day lol

  2. Wagon master Member

    14 years of storage fees? That top is torn not cut. Needs an entire top. Can’t repair one old panel. A Robbins is $550 installed.

    • J M

      I can’t find a place for under $700.

  3. Achman

    Figure $1500 for timing belt, wp, all belts and hoses, brake lines, master cylinder, tires. That’s if you do it all yourself (easy) and if the gas tank has no rust and the fuel pump is not bad.
    The luggage rack is unfortunate and the wheels are wrong, so that’s another expense. The only way I would buy this is for $1000.

    And yes, Miata is always the answer.

  4. BOP Guy Member

    You know, I thought it was cool that Mazda brought these out at a time when all the Italian and British roadsters stopped selling in the US. Cool, but I really wasn’t interested in owning one. Fast-forward to 2015, and I inherited a 2014 model with the retractable hardtop and the Club trim, which includes RX-8 suspension and limited slip diff and leather upholstery. Kept it a year or so then sold it. That car was actually a blast to drive, comfortable (I have long legs), and loved the top! I kinda regret selling it. If I were to buy another one used, I’d want the same package. As for this one for sale, for me, it’s not low mileage, it needs a new top and a lot of engine work to make it road worthy. So just not worth buying for me. But will make someone an inexpensive fun-car with a few weekends bringing her back to life!

  5. ED

    You mention “dryer sheets” in a long term stored vehicle. What are the benefits of dryer sheets?

    • Neal

      I imagine the dryer sheets are for rodent deterrent power. I put them under my dishwasher and under my sink cabinet for that reason (damn mice have twice chewed through the dishwasher discharge hose in that spot. Not since installing dryer sheets and also ultrasonic plug-in deterrents, by the way). But I don’t think the dryer sheet power would last that long in this storage situation.
      My dad daily-drove a red ’93 from new up until about 2000, then kept it in the garage with a trickle charger until a few years ago when he sold it to a neighbor looking for some cheap fun. That thing was a blast to drive, always solid and dependable. I couldn’t believe it when he got it since he is such a practical guy, but it was really a straightforward car to own and he and my mom REALLY enjoyed it through their earlier empty-nest/ mid-life years. I had a chance to buy it from him (or he would have just passed it to me), but lack of storage and impracticality with no time and three kids kept me from considering it. For now, if I have time to go out on my own with the top down in good weather, I’d rather just be on my bike.
      I loved borrowing it for the occasional ride. Straightforward and easy to drive spiritedly. Sweet shifting. And fun to drive but not too fast to get into trouble.

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Yep, dryer sheets went in the car every winter. Kept the mice out, who had previously nested in the HVAC system. Turning the fan on was a really stinky affair.

    • Barry Pidwell

      Mice do not like the perfume smell.

  6. Jack

    14 years with a stanky a** tree freshener hanging from the rear view mirror. This thing should really smell like a**!! Deal breaker for me.

  7. DanH

    I used to bash Miatas. Then I drove one through a canyon. Then I put a turbo on it and drove it through a canyon.
    I don’t bash Miatas anymore.

  8. Pete

    I remember when these first came out. I thought it was a great design for what it was. Although to small unless I wanted an automatic. Which I did not. The dealers couldn’t get these fast enough. Some dealers sold the first ones they got on a lottery system and some sold for twice what the MSRP was. It was crazy how much people were willing to pay to be one of the first to drive one. Now you can pick them up pretty cheap. It just shows to go ya how impatience doesn’t pay off in the long run. LOL.

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