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.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.
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