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Mazda MX5

An outright success

The Mazda MX5 has now reached the status of classic. Reason to look back on the origins of this cult car. We owe the sports car to the Japanese designer Toshihiko Hirai, who has been on the payroll with the Japanese car manufacturer since 1961. He had to fight because the management saw nothing at all in the beautifully lined - open - sports car.


Despite this opposition, he was allowed to build on his dream. At Mazda, people wondered why the engine had to be in the front and the drive to the rear axle while the engine in the front and front wheel drive was the fashion in the 1980s? Why a two-seater and why a convertible? Would it be possible to make the trolley watertight and would such a convertible meet the strict safety requirements? And then he got some negative advice from Mazda in the United States and Germany, where it was made clear in particular from Germany that "a convertible in today's automobile world" - we are talking about the early 1980s - "would be a big mistake" . In which they tried to convince the management in Japan that they had definitely gone the wrong way… Fortunately, Hirai managed to disregard all those negative opinions and persuade his management to continue with this project. He was finally right, because the jackpot was immediately drawn with the introduction of this Mazda in 1989. It became an absolute bestseller of which more than one million copies have now been produced.

A short look back at the success

In 1989, the car appeared at the Japanese motor show. Like Mazda Miata, Eunos and MX5.  Auto Motor Klassiek in the same year - in Canada - was the first Dutch-language edition to become acquainted with this new miracle, drive it around - also on a circuit! - and publish about it. Also in the same year, the Australian magazine Car Australia proclaimed the MX5 to be car-of-the-year. In 1990, Europe can get to know the MX5. The Netherlands too, where it also became a major (sales) success. 1992 already rolls in 250.000e copy of the tire. A catalyst is installed in 1993. In 1994 the model gets a facelift and the 1,6 liter engine is replaced by an 1,8 liter. A year later - in 1995 - the only 88 pk-strong 1,6 liter is reintroduced; the 1,8 liter is pumped up to 133 pk., while two so-called Limited Editions are coming onto the market. In 1996 two more models are added. In October 1997 the Series 2 MX will be introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show. And we want to leave it at that, because otherwise 'your' Auto Motor Klassiek no longer to be called 'classic' ...

How could the MX5 become such a blockbuster? The world had already said goodbye to British icons like the MG MGB, even the Triumph Spitfire and TR7 from the same manufacturer. In terms of the popular front engine and rear-wheel drive concept, the market didn't offer much more. A Morgan 4/4 that you had to wait for at least seven (!) Years, a TVR, Panther Kalista, a Scimitar SST 1,8, all of which were much more expensive and significantly less in quality, or a Ford Escort XR3i Cabriolet, Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet , an Opel Astra GTE 2,0 Cabrio, none of which were two-seater? Let us be grateful that Hirai did not give up and continued to row with the oars he was handed - against the wind. The British sports car industry stood by and looked at it and thus missed the turn… When it comes to buying a used MX5 - you won't find a better, more reliable sports car for the money - there are a few points to consider. Check the rear fenders carefully, as they can rust quite a bit (and not just on the outside); repair is a time-consuming and therefore expensive affair. Also check that the headlamps rise accordingly. Make sure that the linen cover is completely okay and that the rail to collect rainwater is present. If it is missing, the water 'flows' in ... A new hood is pricey. Take into account a hundred or seven. The fabric lining withstands the test of time well. So be on the lookout if it has already been replaced on a car with a - on the odometer - low mileage ...


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