Rust-Free One-Owner 1992 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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A couple of fun facts about the Miata, or MX-5, may surprise some of you, they surprised me. 1) The MX-5 is the best-selling two-seat convertible of all time. Even better: 2) The MX-5 is the most-raced car on the planet. I know, crazy. The seller has this 1992 Mazda MX-5 Miata posted here on craigslist in Merrimack, NH, and they’re asking $10,900. Here is the original listing, and thanks to T.J. for sending in this tip!

The MX-5, formerly known as the Miata in the U.S. and Canada, has been made since 1989. That’s 34 years for those of you keeping track, and that’s a long run for what some people laughingly refer to as a hairdresser’s car or a secretary’s car. As if a four-cylinder convertible isn’t worthy of a hairy-knuckle man driving it. All you MG and Triumph owners, what say ye? This car has zero rust, according to the seller and has new tires, and has had lots of recent maintenance work completed.

This car is what is known as an NA version, the first-generation design, and they were made until 1997. The NB model came next and the big change was exposed headlights rather than retractable headlights as seen in this example. The original MX-5 took its inspiration from the Lotus Elan and there is a resemblance. As was the Lotus mantra to add lightness, the NA didn’t have power steering or power brakes as standard equipment on the base models.

Another weight savings: no standard power windows. The MX-5/Miata is well known for being a very fun car to drive despite the modest horsepower. With a fantastic, crisp five-speed manual and a nice seating position, the car’s lightweight and top-down body style makes these cars a hoot to drive. As they say, it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. The seller says that the AC blows ice-cold. With no back seat and a tiny trunk, cross-country road trips will be tight.

The early Miatas had Mazda’s 1.6-liter DOHC inline-four, which had 116 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque. The seller says that this is a one-owner car (their neighbor) and it has 70,904 miles on it. These cars will go several times that with basic maintenance. Hagerty is at $10,100 for a #3 good car and $18,800 for a #2 excellent car. Have any of you owned one?

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  1. Melton Mooney

    I’ve never even been in a Miata but I can attest that they outnumber any other model by about 10 to 1 at road race and autoX events. I’ve heard the first and second generations are preferred.

    Like 3
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      We’ve had as many as 125 to 145 Miatas show up to race at our big events at Sebring in Florida. They run in at least 7 different classes plus the early ones are eligible to race Vintage events. They are building quite a history for themselves.

      Like 1
  2. ccrvtt

    There have been 1.05 million Miatas produced vs. 1.56 million Corvettes. Granted, all Miatas are technically convertibles whereas most modern Corvettes are hybrid convertibles – targa tops, or t-tops.

    Miatas are extremely cute and easily and affordably modified, but if you’re over 6’1” they are really cramped. I believe my old MGB and my friend’s Midget also had considerably more legroom.

    Like 1
    • Gene

      Amen to the legroom issue. I’m unable to even sit in my wife’s MX-5, though I had no problem with my Austin-Healey 100-4 years ago.

      Like 0
    • Andrew Fetchina

      I’m 6-2 drove our son’s NA from New York to South Carolina. Small yes, but enough room once situated. Did opt to take the coastal roads instead of I95. Got the impression it was what an MGB would be If made today.

      Like 0
  3. Derek

    I like MX-5s. I was working for a Mazda dealer when they came out; I haven’t tried many of the newer variants, but the first-off was a hoot. All that was missing was a rotary whirlywheel version.

    Like 2
  4. Dave

    I have a 1993, same color, same miles, slightly funkier condition, paid 2000- for it in 2018 :)

    Have driven it all over the country it is a total blast. Would not sell it for anything. It gets more fun the longer you own it.

    Like 9
  5. Mitch S

    I’m also the original owner of a 92 Miata though mine is red.
    Was working at a Mazda dealership when I bought it. (Great time for Mazda. The Miata, V6 MX-3 ( anyone remember those?) and of course the 3rd generation twin turbo RX-7).
    Mine is at 63000 miles.
    Red paint is a little faded but it drives great and it’s A/C also blows cold.
    Nope, not for sale!

    Like 8
  6. David P

    Miatas are a ball and a fantastic sports car. All of them had power brakes, by the way. It was only PS (and PW) that was optional on the early cars. I believe both were optional on the base model, and PS was standard and the ‘A’ package.

    Like 5
  7. Mark RuggieroMember

    Had one, knew I’d love it before I bought it, Hurricane Ian washed it away.

    Like 3
  8. Jeffrey Yates

    I have an early Miata. Built in Oct 1989. Have owned it since 2002. Minimal maintenance 125000 miles – these things just don’t break. The only major repairs have been timing belt and clutch. Miata clubs lead to interesting social gatherings ranging from picnics to auto cross. Never plan to sell it!

    Like 4
  9. Bass Player Mike Bass Player MikeMember

    I owned one for about 10 years and was hands down the most fun AND the most reliable car I ever owned… Always drove it top down, even in winter, the heater worked great and was just a blast to drive. There used to be a fair number of clubs of Miata owners, and there’s a ton of helpful information on them in online forums… One fix I had to do was to what is commonly referred to as “The Cursed Water Plug” located at the rear of the engine right at the firewall, held on by the devil’s designed spring clamp. It’s a 5 dollar rubber plug that fits over an unused water nipple and if it cracks or bursts could quite literally cost you your engine… Best to buy a couple of the OEM ones and change it when you first buy one of these old gems!
    I wish I could snag this one, someone will be getting a great deal at that price!!

    Like 3
  10. Brett Becker

    Mazda sold one million Miatas in 25 years. The Corvette had a 36-year head start.

    I’ve had 13 or 14 of them, NAs, NBs, and now an NC, and I’ve raced NAs and NBs.

    The Mazda Miata is one of the most significant automobiles of the 20th century. This one is a really good example of a well-kept NA at not-terrible price for the mileage.

    Like 3
    • ccrvtt

      The Corvette had a head start, but is more significant in the 20th century. Miatas have been in production since 1989 which I believe works out to 34 years. Miatas are very significant in the 21st century.

      The fact that you can buy 3 Miatas for the price of a Corvette is significant also, just as you can buy 10 Corvettes for the price of a Lamborghini Aventador. Both the MIata and the ‘Vette are bargains.

      0-60 time for the MX-5 is about 5.7 seconds, just a hair slower than a 1995 Corvette. C8s can get to 60 in 2.9 seconds, same as the Aventador.

      The point is we’re not comparing apples to apples here. I’m sure Miatas are fun to drive, as are Corvettes. Of the 3 most fun-to-drive cars I’ve owned only one is a Corvette (my 1995), the others were a 1969 MGB and a 1979 Rx7.

      And the only reason I’ve never owned a Miata is because I’m too freaking big (6’3″, 200#) to fit in one comfortably.

      Like 1
  11. Mark from Atlanta

    I’m on my second Miata. It’s a ‘99, tri-black, and it’s a delight. My first Miata was a ‘91, blue and lovely. The ex got it in the divorce. Both were/are superb machines.

    Like 1
  12. Tin Box

    Bought mine new in 90, Blue A package car, later added AC. After 400k km of beating the crap out of it it’s still a solid driver. Was my only real car for many years – autocross / track day / hillclimb / tow vehicle / winter car. At 6’2 I fit, better with an inch of foam cut out of the bottom cushion, and has seen many road trips to car week – 20hrs each way.

    Like 0
  13. DavidH

    I have a 2019 MX-5, most fun car I ever had. I defeat the tiny trunk by shipping my luggage to the destination in advance (I sh*t you not). I’ve also had multiple RX’s going all the way back to the RX2. The RX8 was a big disappointment, but the rest were great cars.

    Question – I never see any Canadian cars on your emails. There’s a great market up here and lots of barns…

    Like 2
  14. Eric_13cars Eric_13carsMember

    I have 2 Miatas. My 2006 was purchased with 65K miles in 2014 and now has 93K. I love driving this car. It’s so comfortable and a lot of fun. I also have a 1995 NA with 83K miles, not a spot of rust. I bought it from the original owner (in Raleigh, NC) because it has an electrical problem (paid $1200). I intended to flip it, but my son wants me to keep it since an essentially one owner car with a perfect body, clean interior, and strong engine will likely appreciate in value. However reading that a #2 is worth $18K has me thinking.

    Like 0
  15. 370zpp 370zppMember

    I am surprised no one has mentioned one of the coolest engine upgrades of all; popping a V8 into one of these. There are even companies that do this. Anybody out there done that or own one of these?

    Like 0
  16. Murray Arundell

    If you’re over six feet tall, look for something else…

    Like 1
  17. MGSteve

    In spite of my nom de plume, we’ve owned a Miata since 1990. We weren’t the original owner, but the car was only 4 months old when we bought it. As a dyed-in-the-wool MG fan, I would like to think the Miata is what MG should have become, had they had the resources. Do you know what Miata means in Japanese? “MG that runs” . . . to which I would add: and doesn’t leak oil, has a 5 spd tranny and the convertible top actually works.

    Like 2
  18. Lewis Maurer

    I have a 2002 LS for sale; 33k; $14,500. Blue/Tan. Lots of photos. My third. Pure joy toy!

    Like 0

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