What’s My 6k-Mile Miata Worth?

1990 Mazda Miata

Some of you have probably wondered what I’ve been doing with the low-mileage Miata that I found near Sun Valley Idaho a while back. Well, besides cleaning it, servicing it, and staring at it… not much. It is a thrill to take out and drive because it feels like a brand new 1990 Miata, but it is also a thrill for other reasons. Driving a first generation Miata is already a frightening experience with all the texting moms and SUVs out there, but navigating around them in a pristine example like this is even more nerve wracking. I love survivor cars, but I also like to drive my cars so vehicles like this presents a conundrum. Do you consume it, or do you stash it away? Well, as much as I love this little roadster, I’m going to let someone else make that decision. It’s now listed here on eBay with a 10 day auction window.

Shiny Front Bumper

Over the last year, I’ve watched at least two other 6k-mile Miatas sell for over $9,000. Could this be the first one to break the $10k ceiling? I’m not sure about that, but I do know that this is an amazing car. The seats are firm, the steering crisp, and the shifter tight. Basically, it is the opposite of every 100k+ mile Miata I’ve owned. I love the fact that it is a base model car too! Dealers usually ordered one of the two option packages to increase their profit potential a little, but somehow this one got through without a stereo, AC, or power steering. As far as I am concerned, that is how every roadster should come equipped!

Anyway, here’s a description of each area of the car along with all its flaws:


I’ve owned a couple of Miatas and looked at quite a few, but never have I seen one that glowed like this. There are no signs of oxidation and even the tops of the mirrors are shiny. If you’ve owned a Miata, then you know that is a rare thing. There is dimple on the front bumper where the license plate frame bumped into it and there’s a scratch on the back bumper. It also has a couple of dings on the top of the trunk from people pushing down on it. I think these things must have left the dealer lot with this because they all seem to have a few. The original top is in great shape too and the plastic window has some scratches. There are a couple of chips in the windshield. No rust or other major concerns. I’ve tried to include photos of all the problem areas in the photo gallery here.


As would be expected of a 6k mile car, the interior is also in amazing condition. There are some scratches on the armrest and I swapped out the radio surround and blanking plates for oem pieces because someone had partially installed an aftermarket radio. The mats are original and the seats are firm. Everything works as it should in here and the original owners manual is in the glove box. The original spare, jack, and wrench are in the trunk and have never been used. The top boot is included also.


There isn’t much to say about the drivetrain other than it goes, stops, and turns just like a new Miata should. I had the local Mazda dealer change the oil and perform an inspection. They were intrigued by the fact that the lug nuts appear to have never been removed. Everything checked out during the inspection and the paperwork from that service and a previous one are included. The service stickers have the mileage printed on them. The original tires are still on the car as is the original timing belt. If you plan to daily drive the car, you may want to address those items but they should be counted as a bonus for collectors.

Top Up

Finding a low-mileage Miata like this was a dream come true, but I think it should go to an owner who will either drive it or add it to their permanent collection. If you are interested please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.


  1. jim s

    since you are selling this does that mean you have already bought another BF project vehicle? it is up to $4545 already, this auction is going to be fun to watch play out.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      You know us too well Jim!

  2. Joe Gotts

    Any side bets on what the Miata will sell for?


  3. Joe Gotts

    Hey sizzle chest, how the heck do I add a picture to my user name?


    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Sizzle chest? I’m not sure how to respond to that Joey…

      • Joe Gotts


        Please post instructions on how to add a picture to my profile or user name.

        Thank You


      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        You can setup an account on gravatar and it will add your image or we can upload one manually for you.

      • Joe Gotts


        I added a gravatar user and image now what?


  4. hhaleblian

    Well lemme see. I bought your 225K Miata for $3500 with shipping and some brake work and it’s worth every dime. Had fun detailing it. Car runs flawlessly, but it could use struts. One can’t buy a Porsche 10 speed bike for that number! It’s now officially up for sale, because I’m after this one. I’ll ask the typical ebay question that pisses me off. “Do you have a buy it now?” “If I did, it would be listed” Good luck with the sale Jessie.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I should buy the old one back! I was never afraid to take it out. In fact, it felt good to chock up more miles.

      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        I wonder if there is a high mileage club for Miatas like Volvo has?

  5. rusty


    new Tshirt available


    tongue in cheek of coarse.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Good one rusty.

    • hhaleblian

      New segment!

  6. Al8apex

    or par for the course …

  7. Buzzbee Member

    It would depend, if is the short nose crank or not. I have a 90 red Miata w/ a later big/large nose crank. The short will sometimes wobble and cause damage. But not always, some have been known to go 200,000 with no problems.

    • hhaleblian

      Mine has 225k and runs so sweet. Thanks Jesse. Just got outbid. No surprise.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Yep, everyone is afraid of the short nose cranks, but do some research about how many have actually failed. I sure see a lot of them still being driven around today.

  8. achman

    It’s easy to tell if it is a short nose crank car.

    If it is a ’90 and VIN# is less than 20944 then it’s a SNC car.

    The crank on my white ’90 failed at 55k and was $2200 to fix.

    Whether this car has 6k miles or 15k miles, the effect on value will be minimal. Not driving a Miata is criminal, I hope it goes to an enthusiast. Or me. $8750 is my bet

    • Gianni

      Inquiring minds want to know if you had your timing belt changed prior to the SNC failure.

      • Achman


  9. gunningbar

    Save it??!! WTF?
    Its a frickin miata… if youre 22 and hope to incubate it for 40 years…. oh bs.. just dtive it.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      That’s what people said about bugeye Sprites not that long ago, but take a look at what low mileage survivors go for now…

  10. Bullethead

    An old friend recently bought a ’92 Miata with 138K on the clock off Craigslist for $800 bucks. Mechanically more than sound with service records and yes, it needs a paint job, but who cares? Has a decent interior so a trip to Maaco and a good detailing will be enough. Competent as they are, they’re still essentially used cars, so extreme low mileage is immaterial.

  11. Rspcharger Rspcharger

    Jesse, Jesse, Jesse… What ever are we going to do with you? SUV’s & texters will be forever on the road and getting worse with each passing day. What are you gonna do, get a version 1 hummer? Maybe an FMTV from a surplus auction? That’s just giving in to the masses. Stay strong, hone your senses and driving skills and keep the Miata. We’ve gotta rise above the drones and take back the roads. How else you think I’ve survived commuting 60 miles a day on the interstate on a tiny 750 Moto Guzzi for 6 years? Nobody loves a flipper.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Well, I daily drive a MGB GT right now, so I wouldn’t say that I’ve given up. I just have a hard time driving a pristine car in the city. Parking lot dings don’t bother me on my nicely worn-in classic.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Oh, and what’s with all the flipper talk here? If you guys have read the site for very long then you know that I’m not a flipper. I leave every car better than I find them and I usually sell them for what I paid or even at a loss. Flippers buy cars with the sole intent of making money. I buy them to to experience different cars and to learn things along the way. Income from this site isn’t enough to keep them all though so they have to be sold to finance the next one. I hope that makes sense.

      • Rspcharger Rspcharger

        I retract my flipper comment and accept the fact that you just love so many cars that you simply want to experience as many as possible. I simply don’t have it in me to let anything I’ve sweated and cried over go. Respect goes out to you for your daily driver.

      • MikeH

        I agree RSP, I buy stuff but can’t sell anything. I have too much blood, sweat and tears in all of them. I have a Morris Minor that I’ve had for 42 years–paid $37.50 for it.

  12. rusty

    Jesse said “I should buy the old one back! I was never afraid to take it out. In fact, it felt good to chock up more miles.”

    you should trade in the old one as he may become your best return customer..

    its only fair.

    then you can enjoy driving a Miata again

    • hhaleblian

      Yeah Jesse. Listen to Rusty. Let’s swap!

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Maybe we will. Let’s see how the auction goes and how expensive shipping would be first though.

  13. Dougm

    it’s worth what your reserve is! just sayin…….

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      I set the reserve at what I paid for it, but I have a feeling it will go for a bit more. We’ll see though.

  14. Mark

    I just bought a 92 Miata with only 4,000 miles on ebay, loaded and mint condition for $8,500 serviced with new rims and tires and a new radio and speakers, but also with originals. So, I guess they are out there, to those who wish to pay $3,000 over blue book!

    love that car!!!

  15. Chris A.

    I like this car, minimalist and option free and the right color. But times have changed since 1990, especially with the SUV’s and crossovers. Not to mention cell phones and heavier traffic. I look at any small sports car as a four wheel motorcycle and give them room. Weekend fun car, you bet. Daily driver on expressways, forget it. But it should be driven and it is a much better car than other small sports cars in the same price range. I’d drive this which isn’t what I’d do with an early 60’s Veloce Spyder. Replace all the belts and fluids, lose those 15 year old tires and drive it. And get a bra for the nose so all the stones from the SUV’s don’t make a mess. Best deal on a non-flipper car? I was paid $35 to take away a Borgward TS. $200 in junkyard parts and sold it for $300. Drove it a year. Never had to worry about it being stolen it was so ugly.

  16. Kman

    Re. The legroom problem in the Miatas. Can someone tell me if the seat is touching the rear wheelwell? I had the same prolem with my TR 3 and TR 4 so i took the seats and tracks out, moved them back 3″ and remounted them. Problem solved, when I went to trade up to a TR 6 I couldnt because the seats were already against back well. Solved that problem by buying new Fiat 124 Spyder. A better car.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      The seat does touch. I’m 6’2 though and fit fine.

  17. hhaleblian

    Got aced in the last seconds. Congrats to both parties. Guess I’ll continue driving the duece and a quarter Miata.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Yep, it looks like someone sniped it. I’m surprised it didn’t go for more actually. I had people calling and messaging right up until the end. I was sure it would hit $9k at least. Oh well. Someone is getting a good car at a fair price.

  18. jim s

    looks like someone place a bid with 15 seconds to go for $8100. is it someone on the site? will the car go down the road or get relisted? did the caddy go down the road?

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      The high bidder sent over a deposit, so I assume it’s sold. Not sure if it’s one of our readers though. I’ll find out tomorrow. The Cadillac finally sold and was picked up the other day. The new owner was very excited to have it.

      • jim s

        that is very good news.

  19. Jeff Staff

    Congrats, Jesse!

  20. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    The Miata shipped out yesterday. It was hard to see it go, but I think it’s going to a good home.

  21. duke

    use these all year around in the snow belt region of the USA and you’ll soon discover what a rust magnet these are and most of the electronics also attract corrosion too—best to leave these for 3 season driving or sunbelt driving

  22. joeinthousandoaks

    Great looking car. I didn’t catch the sale price but looks like you got your money out of it which is always a good thing in any car. I’m sure the buyer will love it. I think I would have to store the steel wheels and put something a little more aggressive on it. Other than that it’s a winner.

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