Super Clean: 65k Mile 2001 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Determining which newer cars are likely to become future classics is not easy, and the history pages are filled with people who have lost money by making the wrong choice. That would seem to naturally bring us to the 2001 Mazda MX-5 Miata. If the single criteria for consideration were vehicle rarity, it would miss the future classic mark by a mile. However, if it is considered as an engaging and rewarding 2-seater convertible that has managed to rewrite the rulebook and develop a legendary status in its own lifetime, then we would seem to be onto a winner. This Miata has had two meticulous owners, but the time has come for it to go to a new home. It is located in Solvang, California, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding currently sits at $8,000, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

Mazda used classic British sports cars as the inspiration for the MX-5, and when you place one beside an early Elan, some of the similarities are striking. However, unlike the Elan’s backbone chassis and fiberglass body, the MX-5 is of unibody construction. While this made the Mazda a heavier car, it also meant that it had greater levels of strength and torsional rigidity and was cheaper to produce than the Lotus. This one is finished in Classic Red, and it appears to be in excellent condition. The paint shines as nicely as it would have when it rolled out of the showroom, while there are no signs of any cosmetic issues with either the paint or the panels. There is no evidence of rust problems, and if the car has spent its life in California, this isn’t surprising. The Black soft-top is in excellent order, as are the glass and the alloy wheels. There are no signs of any deterioration with the plastic trim, and the overall impression is that this car has led a sheltered life.

When the MX-5 was released, it accrued a vast collection of industry and media awards. So great was its success that it seemed that people were actually creating new awards just so the Mazda could win them! You would have to wonder whether the story would have been different if some of the early engineering suggestions had come to fruition. The company seriously investigated the possibility of slotting their Wankel rotary turbo motor under the hood. It would have offered breathtaking performance with no appreciable weight penalty, but it would have dramatically transformed the vehicle’s character. Thankfully, they chose to stick with a little four-pot, and while it was no powerhouse, it endowed the featherweight Mazda with lively performance. It is an 1,839cc DOHC fuel-injected 4-cylinder unit that produces 142hp. Those horses find their way to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission, while power steering and 4-wheel power disc brakes are standard features. In a package that weighs a mere 2,387lbs, that sort of power figure will not make the Miata a muscle car. However, it can gallop through the ¼ mile in 15.8 seconds, which is very respectable. The owner has recently spent more than $2,000 on the Miata to ensure that it is in sound mechanical health. As well as replacing all of the brake rotors, the Mazda received a new timing belt, a new camshaft seal, plus a full service and fluid change. The list is quite comprehensive, and it should make this a reliable and enjoyable classic for many miles to come. Speaking of miles, the odometer shows a genuine 65,000, and with a car like this, that makes it barely broken in. The seller says that the car needs nothing, so the open road beckons the Miata and its next owner.

One of the most significant criticisms leveled at British sports cars from the 1960s is that they can sometimes be uncomfortable to drive. Because they generally only had modest engine powers, designers and builders were always searching for ways to pare weight from them. That meant that equipment levels were low, there were few luxury appointments, and even sound deadening material was minimal. Mazda wanted to give buyers something more for their money, so they created a well-equipped interior but didn’t add any unwanted weight. Many of the plastics are lightweight, but the materials themselves are of a higher quality than average. The company also employed some new techniques to construct components like the dash, which pruned away more weight. However, buyers still found themselves with a car that featured a couple of airbags, air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a tilt wheel, and a nice little radio and CD player. This car has all of those features, and the interior is hard to fault. There is no wear on the outer edges of the seats, nor on the carpet or wheel. The dash is spotless, while all of the plastic is free from deterioration. There have been no aftermarket additions, and the overall condition is indicative of a car that has been treated with care and respect.

Mazda was quite candid about what they were setting out to achieve when they developed the MX-5. They were determined to create a vehicle that perfectly captured the style and character of classic British sports cars of the 1950s and 1960. However, they wanted to wrap its concept in a package that was reliable and easy to live with. There is no doubt that they achieved their goals, and the Miata remains as popular today as when it was first released. This one looks like a beauty, and with a mere 65,000 miles on the clock, it should offer its next owner many more years of top-down pleasure. A future classic? I think that it is a real possibility.


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  1. Curt Lemay

    $9600 and the reserve not met? Wow, the price of these sure has taken a jump. A really nice car, but not sure if I would pay 5 figures for it.

    Like 3
  2. Terrry

    I have a 2002 Mercedes SLK230 in just as nice of condition with 70k miles, and it will run rings around this car…and I paid 7k for it two years ago.

    Like 6
  3. Pat

    Nice looking Miata, but I wouldn’t go anywhere near that high. I have the same year in my garage, although it’s the LS, which adds leather, limited slip, 6 speed, hard suspension and larger brakes. This appears to be a high price for a base model that will need a radiator in short order. Miata radiators are plastic and once they turn a color other than black, they need to be replaced ASAP.

    Like 3
    • T

      Wow! I have a ’99 and never knew that.

      Like 1
    • MX5Racer

      A Miata rad is nearly as cheap as dirt, though….

  4. MX5Racer

    One correction- the writeup mentions a tilt wheel, which no Miata had in the first two generations (NA or NB). Not til 2006 with the NC.

    Like 1
  5. John Doe

    Remember testing one back in 2005; loved the go-kart feeling but hated the driving position.

  6. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Apr 27, 2021 , 6:30PM
    Winning bid:
    US $10,600.00
    [ 42 bids ]

    Like 1

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