By on February 7, 2019

Mazda is celebrating the original Miata’s 1989 debut at the Chicago Auto Show by taking the wraps off a 30th Anniversary Edition of the MX-5 at the same locale. Limited to just 3,000 units worldwide, the special edition will be offered as both the ragtop convertible and hardtop RF. Like previous anniversary editions of the famous roadster, Mazda is offering a unique color (Racing Orange, this time) and a handful of upgrades that should help collectors rationalize the elevated price tag.

We’re going to tell you right now that the only way to have this car is with a manual transmission. While we tend to always lean that way with the MX-5, having a clutch is the only way to get the 30th Anniversary Edition’s Bilstein dampers and a mechanical limited-slip differential. Otherwise, you’re basically paying extra to have one of the best parts of the package removed from the vehicle. 

However, the automatic version still comes with the orange pant — which extends to the vehicle’s brake calipers (front Brembo units and Nissins in the rear), heated Recaro seats, door trim, dashboard, and shifter. It also gets the same commemorative badging, black mirrors, nine-speaker Bose audio system, and 17-inch aluminum wheels from Rays.

While we would have loved to see a few extra ponies crammed under the hood, Mazda upgraded the Miata’s 2.0-liter SkyActiv engine to 181 horsepower a few months ago. It would be a pretty big ask to have them go even bigger on this special edition, so we won’t complain. The standard engine is more than enough for track-day fun and backroad hooliganism.

With only 500 examples coming into the United States, pricing for the Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition begins at $34,995 for a soft-top with the manual. Going with the very handsome RF will bring that sum up to $37,595 and optioning the six-speed automatic carries a $500 premium. While it is one hundred bucks cheaper to have the clutch removed on the ragtop, we still think having those dampers and the differential is the way to go.

Or, you could always just buy a base Miata for $25,730, use the savings to modify it six ways from Sunday, and chuck on a coat of orange paint yourself.

[Images: Mazda; © 2019 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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12 Comments on “Chicago Celebration: Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition...”


  • avatar
    slap

    Daughter and her husband just put a deposit on one. Soft top – they had driven a RF and didn’t like it with the top open.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    DADDY LIKE

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Wait is the name of the game. 2017 had $4000 cash on the hood. Yea, you wouldn’t get 30th anniversary addition for that, since only 500 will be coming to US. But hey, there is always a wrapper. My neighbor has his audi wrapped into some ridiculous color. I couldn’t tell it was a wrap.

  • avatar
    multicam

    Is anyone here 6’3”? Last time I sat in a Miata I think it was an NB, and my eyes were roughly on the same level as the windshield surround. I’ve always loved the idea of a Miata but can’t fit in one.

    • 0 avatar
      theflyersfan

      Still going to be a tight fit. I’m just under 6′ and with the top up, it’s close. Still, try one on for size.
      And slap – your daughter just got herself a gem. Congratulations! I’ve heard with the top open on the RF there is a wicked slapping of air right behind the left ear. It still looks good though.
      Sigh…maybe one will hit Craigslist soon.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      6-3 here. Long torso.
      My head pops over the top of the windshield frame like a periscope. Forbidden fruit to me.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Yeah, I had the same problem. I ended up with an S2000 for a while, then adopted the beater life with a 240SX.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Still going to be a tight fit. I’m just under 6′ and with the top up, it’s close. Still, try one on for size.
    And slap – your daughter just got herself a gem. Congratulations! I’ve heard with the top open on the RF there is a wicked slapping of air right behind the left ear. It still looks good though.
    Sigh…maybe one will hit Craigslist soon.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Orange has never been my choice of color but the Miata has long been my choice of car!

  • avatar
    TMA1

    A Miata that’s not greyscale or red, I love it. Too bad having colors on a such a cheerful car comes at such a premium.

  • avatar

    ghastly colour on a really nice car. but they’re sold out so no worries.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I remember 30 years ago, driving my then RX-7 to a small, local dealer to check out the first Miata. Today’s car is what I expect, and it’s just beautiful. And I like the orange! Bright colors do the car well.

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