By on October 30, 2019

In 2017, Mazda announced a restoration program for the first-generation MX-5 Miata in Japan. Those NA years were good ones — sales were strong and customers were happy. But the cars had developed a reputation for being phenomenal project vehicles and an affordable way to get into racing. Many entered into a hard and exciting life as the years rolled on.

Realizing the MX-5 is equally beloved and hardworking in the United States, Mazda has decided to expand the program for North America. On Monday, the company announced that its restoration parts catalog is now 1,100 items deep and ready to help restore the luster of NA Miatas around the world. 

“There is a pure feeling of joy when it comes to driving a Miata, of any generation,” said Masahiro Moro, CEO of Mazda North American Operations, in a statement. “Our unique Jinba-Ittai — ‘horse and rider as one’ — engineering philosophy has allowed for the engaging and exhilarating driving dynamic that has remained constant over the years, helping make the Miata an important vehicle for the brand and our fans. By helping prolong the life of MX-5 Miata NA models, Mazda is committed to supporting the roadster culture and looks forward to seeing these historic vehicles on the road — and on the track — for years to come.”

Any backward-looking support from an automaker is to be applauded but Mazda really outdid itself here. It even met with several Miata-focused shops and auto clubs to get help choosing the parts that it should prioritizing. The entire list is extensive, offering just about everything you might want replaced on your worn MX-5.

Ironically, the best bits are probably those difficult-to-find OEM replacement parts — little things like gaskets. But you can also find complete ragtop assemblies, window rollers, doors pulls, brakes, and pretty much anything else that’s taken too much abuse over the years.

Hole in the door? Mazda’s got you. Enkei is even reproducing a set of aluminum wheels that look like the originals but use more modern manufacturing methods it claims have made them lighter and more durable.

If you’re in possession (or hope to be) of a vintage MX-5 that might need a little work, Mazda has provided a comprehensive, 42-page list of the new/old parts — available as a PDF here. The company recommends speaking with your local dealership if you’re ready to take the next step.


[Image: Mazda]

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23 Comments on “Mazda Wants to Keep Vintage MX-5s Baby Fresh With Restoration Parts...”

  • avatar

    I guess I should be more excited about this, but in my experience they almost never break!

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, they got everything right on the Miata, styling, driveability, and reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Things like the radio surround and other interior bits would be great. While they are mechanically sound that stuff wears. I got a true double din radio surround for my 90 that allowed me to ditch the busted cassette deck and not have it look like a square peg in a round hole. It was a factory Mazda part, but not offered here. Having stuff like that available would be nice. The hood for the instrument pod is another commonly broken piece.

  • avatar

    More manufacturers should do this. It’s good for the brand to keep the old cars going.

  • avatar

    This is pretty great. I sure hope there’s enough money in it that they can afford to sustain it. Nothing lasts long in this world without enough money.

    I’m not a big Miata fan one way or the other although I was fascinated by them when they came out thirty years ago (and I was in high school…). I am a big fan of keeping old machinery on the road and I’m a big fan of any person who does that.

  • avatar

    Nice! I recently bought a Mk3 and I feel like it’s a long term deal. This news sounds like it might impact me in future…

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    According to “The Drive”, the going rate for the resto is 40 large. I know folks love their Miatas, but dang…

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    Lots of great hard parts on this list, but the best bits are the bezels, the door pulls and all sorts of interior pieces.

    Having recently replaced the ventilators on my Hardbody I can tell you that I dread doing any work at all to interior of my truck. 28 years has not been kind to the plastic and the pieces will easily shatter if you don’t handle them in just the right way. Fortunately for me, ebay and Amazon are pretty great places to source discontinued parts but I can say that had these been available directly from Nissan, I’d have been a buyer.

    This is a smart move for Mazda. This sort of continued dealer support for a popular vehicle is an amazing marketing tool. Assuming these parts come from your local dealership’s parts counter, it is sure to drive people into the showrooms.

  • avatar

    It’s like taboo to talk about the exponential growth of the aftermarket auto parts industry. Automakers don’t want to hear it, and auto journalists just sheepishly follow along. But hell yes they’ve noticed.

    Mazda isn’t the first original OEM to jump into classic resto parts of their own past classics.

    Bottom line, new cars/trucks suck. Most definitely for enthusiasts. Yet it’s never been cheaper or easier to buy and build up an old classic (or not so old), or upgrade what you have. Anything from classic Cherokees, Wranglers, pickups, utilities/Broncos, sports/sporty, etc, including Miatas.

    Or just maintain what’s original.

    The corporate greed of new car OEMs hasn’t gone unnoticed with consumers. The price gouging, bundling of options, no stick shifts, lack of choices, take it or leave it attitude, warranty runaround, built in obsolescence, early OEM replacement parts discontinued, 200+ processors/modules onboard, locked tuning, diesel emissions, forced ugly, easily damaged, expensive fix, etc, etc.

    This is a huge part of why new vehicle sales continue their downward slide but it can’t be said on glossy print.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. The biggest addition in the last 10-15 years has been the big cockpit screen and the associated nav and other electronics. Nice, but at what price? As long as you like your current vehicle and it is reliable, fixing it and adding to it will cost you a fraction of new.

      • 0 avatar

        Modern car gadgetry isn’t exactly Rocket Science. The aftermarket is working on it too. I’ve seen a Tesla screen adapted to an older F-150 and iPods with car apps that can interface just about anything.

        At one time, automakers were a (huge) step behind aftermarket electronics/gadgets. That will happen again.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Those screens are typically common parts. If you can solder a bit they are typically easy replacements. My friend was quoted 800 bucks for an assembly. Got the screen for 40 bucks online and soldered 4 connections to his otherwise good module and it was as good as new. Honestly cheaper than the last “DIN” style swap I did. It is just different…not really any harder.

    • 0 avatar

      This, precious few new cars are worth the cost asked for them. As technology to build cars, and build components improves and becomes more automated one would expect vehicles to not exceed inflation in price increases. Alas this isn’t the case.
      In most cases value for your money is no longer a relevant metric as what’s physically for sale simply doesn’t represent the amount being charged. Styling has taken a turn for the worse where the majority of designs are either awful or bland.

      I still cannot believe the Mustang article where individuals here thought $35k for a no options V8 Mustang was in any realm a reasonable price, let alone a good deal;. I’m afraid to ask what they drive if that’s a possible frame of reference.

      At this point it makes more sense to just start buying older vehicles and rebuilding them if I want a comfy vehicle with good amenities and good styling.

      • 0 avatar

        @Hummer: Hey! Ford has to pay for those thirsty V8 fuel mileage fines somehow. Since they’re not meeting existing EPA regulated fuel economy standards, they’re having to jack up the price of the non-conforming vehicles to pay the fines AND make a profit.

      • 0 avatar

        $35k nowadays would be about $24k in the year 2000 and $18k in 1990.

        Google says a 2000 Mustang GT was about $21k new and 1990 5.0 was $13-14k, so you might be onto something here. :(

        A 1990 Miata was about the same price as that 1990 5.0. But I dunno and I don’t remember what people actually paid for any of these cars back then.

        Did the market change *that* much??

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Weimer

          They were advertised for $13990 base MSRP, but no one in the first year or two paid that – all US dealers tacked on $3-5K or more on every one and people willingly paid.

        • 0 avatar

          Inflation is a big part of it, which is another positive for the resto mods (or a combination of low mileage original and or hoarded) or kept original, which aren’t affected by inflation nearly as much.

          In 2013 the GT was about an $8K upgrade vs the base/base Mustang. Also jaw dropping, and so was a few hundred dollars for the GT in the mid 1960s, vs an approx $2,600 base Mustang.

          By the early ’80s it was about $1,400 for the base GT over the approx $6,900 base (3-door). That was a lot then too.

      • 0 avatar

        Sorry Hummer I’m not with you on this.

        $35k for a V8 Mustang is a good deal compared to basically anything.

        Some reference points:

        -I bought my G8 in 2008 for $31,000. It was not well optioned either and had 100 less hp than the Mustang for more money in inflation adjusted terms. Yes it was a big sedan but it was one of the more affordable V8 powered cars at the time.

        -My GT500 cost $53,000 in 2012. A $35,000 2019 Mustang GT is only a couple tenths and 2 mph slower in the 1/4.

        -Both of us bought SS sedans with $50k window stickers. Again, less power and more usable space but a lot more money. Yeah GM ran big sales on them but Ford has incentives on Mustangs too.

        -A V6 Camry costs at least $31k, a 370Z costs the same, a BRZ or GTI costs $29k, a WRX costs $28, Civic R is $36k…etc. All offer much less power.

        -Lumping the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger together for a minute since they all cost about the same, the next cheapest way to get 450+ hp is in a Corvette for $60K or an M3/RCF/C63 etc for $70k or more. Basically twice as much money, and those aren’t twice the car to me.

        Unless your complaint is that the V8 is overpriced compared to the Ecoboost (I somewhat agree) or that all cars are overpriced (meh) then it’s hard to single out the Mustang GT here.

  • avatar

    Would love to have a cute little ‘toy’ car to drive around… the economy would certainly be better than my truck for daily driving but the small cockpit size means a tall person (like my wife) would be cramped in the passenger seat and far too tight for her to drive. For me, the ‘toy’ is going to have to be taller and a bit longer. Problem is, there are far too few intermediate-sized ‘toys’ on the market.

  • avatar

    Should I start looking for well-used car and buy it cheap?

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a cynical cliché in aviation that if you want to make a small fortune then you first start with a large fortune. That should answer to your question whether you should buy a well-used car :D

      • 0 avatar

        I think this is what Richard Branson said – if you want to be a millionaire, take a billion and start an airline.

        Here we’re not talking about a cat, this is miata! :-)

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