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Rockefeller Owned? 27k Mile 1991 Mazda Miata SE

The seller says that this 1991 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE (Special Edition) was owned by a member of the famous Rockefeller family: Michael J. Rockefeller, to be exact. But, not that Michael Rockefeller, the one who is thought to have been eaten by cannibals in 1961.  The seller has this nice-looking 32-year-old Miata listed here on eBay in Huntersville, North Carolina, and the current bid price is $8,600.

My apologies to the squeamish for not giving a bit of a warning before throwing out the cannibal thing there. I can’t find a record of Michael J. Rockefeller since there are over 250 descendants of John D. Rockefeller. There is a plaque by the shifter that says, “MJR 1623 of 4000” and the title reportedly lists Michael J. Rockefeller. They say that this car was used as a summer car in New York. I’m assuming at an estate in upstate New York, but we don’t know.

Whoever owned it, this is one nice car. We’ve gone over celebrity ownership before and whether it adds to the value or not. Sometimes it does, as with Steve McQueen or Elvis, but maybe not a descendant of America’s first billionaire. We all know the Miata and it may seem strange to see them here on Barn Finds, a site dedicated to “old” vehicles. But, this thing is over three decades old, which is older than a good percentage of the readers.  We’ve seen quite a few examples here over the last few years, three of them were BRG Special Editions.

The British Racing Green color is hard to beat. It’s fitting for a car that became a modern British sports car, and it’s said that the Lotus Elan was one that they had in mind during the development phase. The tan leather interior appears to be in almost perfect condition and the whole car looks almost like new. The trunk also looks almost perfect. The seller does mention that it has a couple of dings, but has no rust and it was stored in a garage. I’m sure that that garage was several times bigger and nicer than our house. Our own Ron Denny showed us a nice one here about seven months ago and that one had a hardtop.

The MX-5 Miata came out in 1989 and if a person doesn’t care for flip-up headlights, you can just choose a second-generation model (1999 model year) as this first-gen car has them. The super-clean engine is Mazda’s 1.6-liter inline-four with 116 hp and the seller says that it is in excellent condition with a new top and it sure looks great. Hagerty is at $8,400 for a #3 good-condition car and $15,900 for a #2 excellent car. This one has to be somewhere between, but there is no reserve so it’s going to the highest bidder. Have any of you owned a Miata?


  1. Ike Onick

    Check with Megan Marshack. She might have some info.

    Like 0
  2. Terrry

    If there were over 250 descendants of John D, and since they have the means to ravel far and wide, then odds are at least one of them became a menu item in a cannibal village.

    Like 0
  3. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    I like the car.

    Like 5
  4. Ron Denny Ron Denny Staff

    Nice writeup as usual, Scotty G. If I could fit into a Miata (well, actually I did fit into a Miata once, but it took several hours and a crane to get me out), it would be a British Racing Green one like this with a tan interior. Well, gotta get on a Zoom call with Taylor Swift. We’re going to be chatting about the fine art of name-dropping. Cheers, my friend.

    Like 3
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha, thanks, Ron! Hey, remind her that she still owes me $2.89 for a McChicken that I bought her when we had lunch the other day.

      Like 1
  5. Johan

    That’s John Voit’s old car!

    Like 5
  6. Jason

    I don’t even care that Larry Rockefeller, Jr. rode in this car many times, it’s just a really nice old Miata!

    Like 3
  7. MrF


    Like 4
  8. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    We will keep our M-Spec 95 Merlot for a lot longer. Just turned 43k.

    Like 2
  9. jwaltb

    WGAF if some Rockefeller owned it? Not me.

    Like 1
  10. moosie moosie

    The guy supposedly died in 1961, How & in what parallel universe could he own a 1991 anything . And additionally, George Costanza wound up with Jon Voights K car convertible.

    Like 0
  11. Glenn Schwass Member

    This is a sharp looking car. The color and interior is just classy looking. It would only need some wheels with some chrome…
    I think it’s going to be pricey.

    Like 0
  12. Frank.Sundram

    The Rockefeller family has a presence in North Carolina. He used to have a huge land holding just north of Fayetteville, NC, as well as other business interests. so it’s possible that it belongs to member of that family.

    All that said, this is a nice car …

    Like 1

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