Junkyard Find: 1993 Mazda MX-5 Miata

junkyard find 1993 mazda mx 5 miata

The Mazda Miata has been with us for well over three decades, becoming the best-selling two-seat sports car in history along the way. Miatas were popular as quasi-sensible commuter cars in North America well into our current century, which means that I should have been seeing at least a couple in every junkyard I’ve visited for at least the last 15 years. In fact, I still see many more discarded MGBs and Fiat 124 Sport Spiders than I do Miatas, so this reasonably intact ’93 in Crystal White paint caught my attention immediately (naturally, there was an ’81 Fiat Spider 2000 a few rows away).

How could it be that a car that has sold pretty well for 33 years and was— at least initially— a hit with car shoppers looking for a fun Point-A-to-Point-B machine would be so rare in your local Ewe Pullet? One word: Racing. Just this month in Colorado, nine out of 60 teams at the most recent B.F.E. GP 24 Hours of Lemons raced Miatas, most of those racers run Miatas in other events and own multiple race cars, and all of them have stockpiled every Miata component they can find in local selfservice wrecking yards. Today’s Junkyard Find got picked clean by the team with the purple car in the collage above, a couple of days after I shot these photos.

So, when I find a junkyard Miata, most of the time it will be unrecognizably stripped, crashed, and/or burned by the time I find it. I find about as many 19911994 Mercury Capris (front-wheel-drive cousin to the MX-5) in car graveyards as intact MX-5s.

This car must have just hit the inventory a few hours before I arrived.

A mere 162,348 miles on the clock, which is just getting broken in for a Mazda product of the middle 1990s. What happened?

The Front Range region of Colorado gets a lot of hail in the spring and summer, and a close look at the sheet metal on this car shows that every sky-facing surface picked up a golf-ball-style set of dimples from golf-ball-sized hailstones. The insurance company did the math and this car got totaled.

In the street-driving world, automatic transmissions help a car’s resale value. This one has the base five-speed manual; the optional automatic added $750 to the $15,300 MSRP (that’s about $1,535 on a $31,360 car in inflation-adjusted 2022 dollars). Miata racers get very excited when they find one of these cars with a slushbox in a cheap wrecking yard, because that means the differential didn’t take as much punishment during the car’s time on the street.

1993 was the last model year for the 1.6-liter engine in the American-market MX-5; its 1.8-liter successor stuck around here through 2004. In 1993, the 1.6 made 116 horsepower.

The US-market 1993 Miata came with an AM/FM/cassette sound system as base equipment, but you had to pay 830 extra bucks for air conditioning. This car has the A/C.

“They said the roadster was extinct, but we made the Mazda Miata anyway.”

For links to more than 2,200 additional Junkyard Finds, please head to the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

[Images: The author]

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  • Johnds Johnds on Jun 28, 2022

    The auction sticker tells me a lot since I search the auction almost every day. I see plenty of good running vehicles that are being sold as parts vehicles because of title problems. A lot of junkyards then bid on these vehicles, so it's likely a title problem.

  • Ccfr8er Ccfr8er on Jun 28, 2022

    Our 3rd gen Miata is a winter only car- safe in the garage in Florida while we summer in the north. 130k miles and our daily driver.

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  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
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