Rare Rides: A 2003 Mazda Roadster Coupe That's Not for Americans

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a 2003 mazda roadster coupe that s not for americans

Mazda has always been fond of making special edition trims of the MX-5 Miata. In 2003, the engineers in Hiroshima decided to put together something a bit more unique than the usual colored trim/new wheel design combo. Presenting the 2003 Roadster Coupe.

Mazda’s original Miata (NA) debuted to critical and customer acclaim for the 1990 model year. By 1995, Mazda had a second-generation offering in the works, fittingly known as the NB. The new, more curvy roadster debuted at the Tokyo Motor show in the fall of 1997, going on sale in early 1998.

Wider and more aerodynamic than the original, the NB MX-5 borrowed some of its styling from the more expensive third-generation RX-7 coupe. Power increased, and the characterful pop-up headlamps were replaced with flush units that took smaller chunks out of pedestrians.

Changes were few until 2001, when a facelift brought a sharper look to the front-end styling, new seats, and slight revisions to the instrument cluster. Rigidity increased as well, and North American MX-5s received a horsepower bump from 140 to 143.

That brings us to 2003, when the engineering and technology people at Mazda drew up a Roadster Coupe version of the MX-5. They designed a metal roof that was fixed in place. The new roof added additional side glass and a rear window, which required a redesign of the trunk lid. This resulted in a weight gain of 22 pounds, but the solid roof meant the chassis was now stiffer than any convertible version.

While Mazda offered 1.6- and 1.8-liter engines across four trims of the Roadster Coupe, only the base model had the 1.6. The top trim S version had the 1.8-liter engine with 158 horsepower — a bit more than the standard MX-5. Power traveled rearward via a six-speed manual.

Mazda made between 179 and 1,000 Roadster Coupes, depending on who you ask, and they were only sold in the Japanese marketplace. Today’s Rare Ride is one of just 63 S trims produced, making it a very rare version of Roadster Coupe. In excellent restored condition and located in Hong Kong, the red beauty asks $39,700. It is, of course, eligible for importation into Canada.

[Images: seller]

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  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Mar 06, 2019

    What is a roadster coupe? Seems contradictory to me as it has no open top.

  • Bobmaxed Bobmaxed on Mar 06, 2019

    I have always judged car styling by the width of the C-pillar. Oh how I hated vinyl roofs. This Miata with its slim c-pillar has just shot to the top as my all time favorite Miata. Along that line I have serious doubts about the new Mazda 3 hatchback.

  • Leonard Ostrander Pet peeve: Drivers who swerve to the left to make a right turn and vice versa. They take up as much space as possible for as long as possible as though they're driving trailer trucks or school busses. It's a Kia people, not a Kenworth! Oh, and use your turn signals if you ever figure out where you're going.
  • Master Baiter This is horrible. Delaying this ban will raise the Earth's temperature by 0.00000001°C in the year 2100.
  • Alan Buy a Skoda Superb.
  • Alan In Australia only hairdressers would buy this Monaro as its known as. Real men had 4 door sedans and well hung men drive 4x4 dual cab utes with bullbars and towbars. I personally think this is butt ugly. Later iterations of the Commodore were far better looking.
  • Jeff As a few commenters on prior articles on this site about the UAW strike mentioned many of the lower tiered suppliers could go bankrupt and some could possibly go out of business if the strike is prolonged. Decades ago Ford and GM owned many of their own suppliers but as we all know over the years manufacturers have been outsourcing more parts and with just in time supply there is little room for any interruptions to production including strikes, natural disasters, and anything unforeseen that could happen. When the strike ends there will be delays in production due to parts shortages. It costs suppliers money to just keep making parts and stockpiling them especially when many parts have razor thin profit margins.