Supercharged Survivor: 1990 Mazda Miata

Jesse MortensenBy Jesse Mortensen

Normally Miatas aren’t anything to get too excited about, but this one is so special that we couldn’t pass it up. Not only is it in like-new condition having only covered 4,286 miles, but it has a Sebring Supercharger strapped to the engine! I’ve owned a few of these little cars and they were always great fun, but were also always lacking in the power department. Well, it looks like that problem may have been resolved here! This one is located in Bow, New Hampshire and is listed here on craigslist for $15k. Thanks goes to Chuck for the tip!

And there it is! The supercharger was installed in 1991 and the owner has carefully maintained the car ever since. Unfortunately, they are not able to drive the car anymore because of medical reasons. I really hope that every one of the those 4k miles were filled with joy. That little 1.6 liter never put out a lot of power in stock form. It did like to rev though and I can only imagine how much fun it must be with a little more grunt!


I owned a 5k mile Miata once and it was like a trip back to 1990 every time I got inside. The seat were firm and shift linkage was tight. These were well-built cars and I wouldn’t be afraid to buy one with a quarter million miles on the clock, so just think how good a low-mileage one could be. Add the extra power and you could have the most perfect roadster in existence. The next owner could store this away as an investment, but personally I’d want to drive it as much as possible!

Beating Porsches at the stoplights and showing your tail light to V8 Mustangs? Sounds like some big claims for such a little car. Miatas have always been known for their excellent steering and shifting, but never for their passing ability. This old ad that we found on claims that the conversion only required basic hand tools and few hours of time. I’ve read that you could pick these kits up at deeply discounted prices when they were new too. How did I miss this?

The numbers back up the claims too. Zero to sixty time dropped from 9.2 to 6.4 seconds. Whoa! Now we are talking. That might not be enough to beat a 911, but that’s a huge improvement with just a few bolt on parts. All while maintaining 32 miles per gallon! This is nuts. After owning a handful of these little cars, I told myself I wouldn’t buy another, but this supercharged survivor has me rethinking those plans…

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  1. sparkster

    Jesse this has your name written all over this. I think I still remember the write up you did on your 5000 mile Miata. With such low miles it’s hard to justify going out for a VERY spirited drive on a beautiful Sunday morning. With this being supercharged , very tough. I still wish I didn’t sell my supercharged 1988 MR2

  2. Francisco

    This car was listed on Craigslist for 25 days. It’s hard to believe it wasn’t sold, especially since the seller advertised “15 k or best offer.”

  3. jwinters

    “showing your tail light to V8 Mustangs”
    0-60 IN 6.4 Seconds.
    am I missing something?
    LOL I don’t think so pal.

    • jdjonesdr

      The first four seconds is waiting for the supercharger to kick in then it goes like a bat outta hell.

    • The Walrus

      You are missing something, pal. It’s called perspective. According to the link below a 1991 Mustang GT 0-60 time was 7.2 seconds. 6.4 was real quick in 1990. Context is important.

      • jwinters

        sure context is important. so why then did you take the slower model 1991 mustang GT out of context. why not use the 1989 GT from your source @ -0-60 6.1 seconds, or the 1990 LX @ 6.3 seconds? plus thos are bone stock. most mustang owners have done at least some mods to gain more.

      • The Walrus

        Most modify? I don’t think 51% or more, which would be ‘mostly’ owners of any new car, which they would have been then, modify them.

  4. Rock On

    Actually superchargers create boost right from idle. It’s the turbochargers that you have to wait for!

  5. Jeremy Holmes

    Fun cars. I owned the first V8 Miata produced called the scorpion before monster Miata was a thing. That was a fun car. Owned several sense but this one even with the low miles and upgrades seems high priced to me.

  6. Nova Scotian

    Quite the little sleeper rocket. If ya’ all can handle it…lol

  7. John

    Great little car, but the price is a bit optimistic.

  8. Paul Root

    My boss had a second gen Miata that he supercharged. It was a bolt in operation.

    In the ten minutes I drove it in NE Minneapolis, I managed not to get arrested. What a blast.

  9. Dave

    We service a few of the early 90s versions at our shop. Even stock, they’re still a kick in the pants to drive.

  10. Andre

    I had a 90 (same 1.6L) with this exact setup – an early Sebring kit. Fun car, crude fuel management – but it worked for the vintage.

    My understanding is the Sebring blower/plumbing design was sold (or otherwise acquired?) to Jackson Racing and became their setup a few years later.

    Pulled pretty good, and got good mileage. Was a decent summer DD.

    … Until I laid eyes on a black C5 Z06

    …… Miata was replaced shortly thereafter.

  11. Bill Wilkman

    I’ve owned s 1990 Miata since new. Not a neck stretcher, but enough power to satisfy the fun factor. The key to getting the most from the engine is to break it in carefully. I’ve driven other Miata that we’re driven hard from new, and they were stones compared to my car.

    Bill Wilkman

  12. Greg

    Not sure if it’d pass smog inspection here in California 🤔 I had a Miata for two years. It was the last year of the power hardtop. Tons of fun!

  13. John

    I have a white 2007 model sitting in my garage. It’s highly modified, it got a new radio and a hard top. If they are all like mine there would be none for sale anywhere. It gets 30 mpg every day. I bought it new. It has 176,000 miles on it. Now that I think about it, I think it’s time to go out and drive it somewhere. It’s the kind of car that makes you volunteer to go get bread and milk for the wife. …and then go two places to get it.

  14. MRE2ME

    Had a 2000 Miata for 13 years that I supercharged & chipped as soon as the warranty expired. Clobbered Mustangs as well as 3 Bmr’s off the line. Did 160 at Watkins Glenn with only 5psi on charger & no intercooler. Those mods gave it the go to match the incredible handling. Miss the hell out of it. (Couldn’t pass changing emission standards) Had to go.


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