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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/3/20 1:35 p.m.

The two-year-only Mazdaspeed Miata lives in a weird state of limbo–neither fish nor fowl, neither here nor there. Is it the car that Mazda should have delivered from the get-go, or is it still not quite fast enough to make that case?

What, exactly, is a Mazdaspeed Miata? Put simply, it’s the only factory-turbocharged Miata ever offered. The recipe was simple: Grab a loaded NB-chassis Miata and then add a turbo kit, six-speed transmission, revised chassis tuning, and $827 to the MSRP. Bake at the factory for two model years, then cease cooking after only 5428 units. That’s a pittance compared to production numbers for other cars, as Mazda proved when it built its millionth Miata in 2016.

Read the rest of the story

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
6/3/20 2:16 p.m.

The biggest problem with the MSM was that while the MSRP may have only been $800 more, the dealers were charging $5-10K in markup vs normal Miatas selling at invoice.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/3/20 3:04 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

I bought mine below MSRP. Just told the guy flat out that I already had several other cars and didn't need this one. I would buy it for my price or just walk out. I may be putting mine up for sale since I no longer have gainful employment and it mostly just sits in the garage.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
6/3/20 3:16 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

The biggest problem with the MSM was that while the MSRP may have only been $800 more, the dealers were charging $5-10K in markup vs normal Miatas selling at invoice.

Really? 
 

I bought mine brand new. We all went to Irvine Mazda headquarters for the NC reveal. 
 

those of us who didn't like th NC1, came home and bought the MSM. Locally 04s and 05s were on dealer lots unsold. (Even with the factory fire and low output) 

 

local newspapers had 8-10$k off msrp like all miatas in history (except the first year na). 
 

My sticker was 27k. I paid $18,900 brand new for my msm. 
 

bunch of us on the msm forum (Before miata net had the msm section), all paid between 8-10k under msrp 

 

 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
6/3/20 3:37 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

The biggest problem with the MSM was that while the MSRP may have only been $800 more, the dealers were charging $5-10K in markup vs normal Miatas selling at invoice.

Really? 
 

I bought mine brand new. We all went to Irvine Mazda headquarters for the NC reveal. 
 

those of us who didn't like th NC1, came home and bought the MSM. Locally 04s and 05s were on dealer lots unsold. (Even with the factory fire and low output) 

When they first came out, yes.  2 years later, after nobody had bought them (you could buy an S2000 for less), they were lingering on dealer lots and finally got firesaled when the NC was out.  That's why they had both 04s and 05s.

 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
6/3/20 3:47 p.m.


I bought my 04 msm 2005 August at Thousand Oaks mazda. . 05s were rolling in, and 05s were $6500 off msrp locally right off the boat. 

 

My 2007 s2000 msrp was 33,000 

I paid 29,000 at pacific Honda 

 

there was a $10,000 delta between my s2000 and my msm. 

BenB (Forum Supporter)
BenB (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/3/20 3:59 p.m.

I don't have anything useful to add to this thread besides "I love mine!"


 

I've ditched the boat anchor wheels and replaced them with 15s since I took this pic.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/3/20 4:11 p.m.

Yeah, they sold poorly. The Neon SRT4 was a big reason for that. Those who bought new benefited from an increase in value as the NC was introduced and the aftermarket unlocked the car's potential.

One thing missing from the story is that Mazda was originally going to go to the aftermarket like they did with the Mazdaspeed Protege. RFPs were put out with the brief to be faster than an S2000. 

Then the MSP debacle happened. Mazda decided they needed full control over the Mazdaspeed cars so the MX-5 was done in-house. There were a lot of little changes you wouldn't t have seen on an aftermarket car, such as a change to bigger splines on the diff and a new mixing manifold for the water pump. It even ditched the 2004 VVT engine and went back to 1999 spec. I'd like to think that no aftermarket shop would have signed off on that gearing combo, though.

It's been a good car for us overall. It was easy to bring up to 200 rwhp and was reliable there. Pushing much past that and it becomes more affordable to turbo a normal NB. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
6/3/20 4:24 p.m.

In reply to BenB (Forum Supporter) :

 

shes beautiful!! 

Yup I put new coil overs, debadged, tinted windows,  hardtop, 9lb volk te37 15s, 7 days after it came from the dealership . Though unlike yours, mine has never been topless. 

 

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/3/20 4:44 p.m.

Here's mine:

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
6/3/20 9:21 p.m.

My theory: The performance specs in the magazines hurt sales. The gearing was so short, the 0-60 times were relatively low. Why not get an s2000 instead? Everyone was losing their mind over the 9k redline, and meanwhile the MSM was “slow.”

The SRT Neon and other hot compacts were much faster too. People interested in performance cars had a lot of other options at the time that all sounded sexier.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/3/20 9:35 p.m.

S2000 wasn't really in the same price bracket, it was the SRT4 that provided the comparison. Why wasn't the MSM as fast as that little booger?

It's easy to forget just how expensive the S2000 was relative to the Miata. 

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/3/20 9:44 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I test drove the S2000, the MSM and a MR-S. To me, the S2000 looked the best, but I just could not justify the huge jump in price. I liked the MR-S, but without any storage, I couldn't see how it would even serve as a daily commuter, so I ended up with the MSM.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/3/20 9:48 p.m.

In reply to BenB (Forum Supporter) :

Titanium Gray is still a great looking color. Lava Orange Metallic, maybe not so much. I remember a couple years after I got my car, they had a similar color for Corvettes and there were some other orangey-bronzy cars at the time. 350Z had a Lemans Sunset or some such color that I remember. The color then went away for the most part. When I bought it, I figured there were lots of red miatas and my wife is not a silver car fan, so orange it was for me.

BenB (Forum Supporter)
BenB (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/4/20 4:12 a.m.

In reply to T.J. :

Photos don't really do Lava Orange justice. I'd never seen one in the wild until I met up with a local group of MSM owners a few years ago. In the sun, the color looks stunning. Velocity Red is similar, in that it looks much better in person.I still prefer Ti Gray over the others. wink  

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
6/4/20 5:49 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:There were a lot of little changes you wouldn't t have seen on an aftermarket car, such as a change to bigger splines on the diff

Wait, what?

29 spline axles like the S2000 and the 7.5" truck rears?

 

Very interesting!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/4/20 10:30 a.m.

Yup, same as the S2000. It's kind of interesting seeing what they decided to upgrade, and it really illustrated just how big the design margins are for OEs. Miatas don't have trouble busting up CVs and diffs until you're well past double the stock power levels, but Mazda decided their 150 rwhp turbo car needed a bigger spline and a tripod inner CV (the latter may have driven the choice of the former). The clutch was upgraded, the radiator is more efficient (okay, that one is legit) and the fans went to a completely different control strategy that involved two multi-speed fans with some weird relay logic instead of staged single speed fans. IIRC the fuel pump also was changed even though a stock Miata fuel pump will feed 100 hp more than a stock MSM. That OE radiator is a really good part, it's  more effective than a typical dual-core aftermarket one that many people install based on our instrumented testing - you need to go to a crossflow design to improve on it.

BTW, the car in the article runs at least part of an FM intake kit, I can see our throttle body inlet pipe along with the Turbosmart bypass. It's also quite likely the car is running our downpipe which is not mentioned, but the downpipe and intake are the key to unlocking the car's potential. There's no need for the built engine (which has FM pistons in it if my records are correct) at this power level. A Little Enchilada upgrade (downpipe, intake, intercooler and boost controller) will get you there quite comfortably and safely.

I personally like the black :) We turned a couple of Lava Orange ones into V8 cars along with a few grey and red ones, but never a black.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
6/4/20 10:46 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Dual fans need a funky multi relay setup, it sounds like you are describing the GM three relay arrangement where "low" runs the fans in series and "high" runs in parallel.  If you run one fan at a time, the air tends to recycle itself backwards past the inoperative fan.

 

Very interesting details about the MSM.  All this time I'd thought it was a kludge.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/4/20 11:15 a.m.

The ECU programming is a bit of a kludge - it has a bunch of weird little quirks and bumps that are probably there to squeak a fairly dated engine with dated engine management and a bolted-on turbo past 2004 emissions regulations. It'll keep stoich far longer than it really should which leads to bad tip-in. But the rest of the car, no. Mazda did what they felt they had to do. Even the muffler is unique for no good reason. You don't want to put a MSM muffler on a naturally aspirated car, it's raspy nasty. The fact that Mazda used the same Mazdaspeed branding for their in-house tuner cars, their aftermarket parts counter tooner brand and their race support parts (for a while) means that people get them all mixed up.

The staged twin fans on a non-MSM are controlled individually by the ECU. The primary is the first to turn on. The secondary comes on with the AC compressor or if the primary can't get the job done. The MSM has fans that can run at two different speeds - both fans always run, but the speed changes. IIRC (and it's been a while since I looked into the logic) there's some weird relay stuff going on for when you have the AC on to force them both into high speed. Why the ECU doesn't just command it I have no idea. A MSM trick for better track cooling is to unplug the compressor clutch and turn on the AC. Puts the fans into high speed mode. Again, this is fairly dusty information in my mind so I might have it a bit off.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
6/4/20 11:38 a.m.
T.J. said:

 

Titanium Gray is still a great looking color. Lava Orange Metallic, maybe not so much. I remember a couple years after I got my car, they had a similar color for Corvettes and there were some other orangey-bronzy cars at the time. 350Z had a Lemans Sunset or some such color that I remember. The color then went away for the most part. When I bought it, I figured there were lots of red miatas and my wife is not a silver car fan, so orange it was for me.

I think the Ti and the Lava are both gorgeous. 

 

For me choice was Ti or VR, as those were both 04.  In order for me to get the Lava, I would have to pay $4,000 more, as the 05 weren't as deeply discounted as the 04. I personally loved the 04 wheels vs the 05 wheels (not htat it mattered, since I swapped them). 
I actually sat at the dealership almost an hour deciding betwen Ti and VR. Even though my other NA was red, and I was leaning towards the Ti, the sun hitting the velocity red, and all the flakes etc, I just went for that. 

I think the lava is gorgeous. Had price all ben equal, I definitely would have bought the Lava. For missing out on the Lava, I made up for it 2 years later, buying the Rio Yellow Pearl S2000.

JoeTR6 (Forum Supporter)
JoeTR6 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/4/20 3:36 p.m.

Same here.  I was looking for a Lava Orange MSM around 2007 but only found one for a very premium price.  I ended up with a VR 2004 with only 23k miles.  It's been a great car.  Installing the FM Little Enchilada early on was the best thing for it.  The turbo comes on at a noticeably lower RPM and the response (at least on my car) was much improved.  There was still the odd power delivery between 4500 and 5200 RPMs, but a Megasquirt fixed that issue.

BlindPirate
BlindPirate Reader
6/4/20 4:14 p.m.

I have already had a MSM so I bought an NC because life is short, don't want the same car twice. Now after reading this I am longing for another MSM. At least until I get to the MR2-S thread.

jimbob_racing
jimbob_racing Dork
6/4/20 4:54 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Then the MSP debacle happened.

I don't think that I've ever heard of this.

bmw88rider (Forum Supporter)
bmw88rider (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/4/20 5:03 p.m.

The ECU is what drove me to sell mine. I didn't want to play the ECU dance to pass emissions every year. With the Little Enchilada type upgrades and a nice free flowing exhaust, It was a ton of fun to drive. I enjoyed it and it would walk all over my friend in her S2000. 

 

Still IMHO the best looking Miata made. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/4/20 6:03 p.m.

The MSM was the most popular recipient of our turnkey swaps, and I think it was 100% because of the looks. The guys commissioning them were looking at the end result. Drove the MSM community nuts as we desecrated one "rare" car after another... 

jimbob_racing said:
Keith Tanner said:

Then the MSP debacle happened.

I don't think that I've ever heard of this.

It's been a while, so I'm going from memory. The cars were delayed for months at the port as new parts were bolted on at the last moment. I'm not 100% sure what work was actually performed, but people with orders for cars were going crazy because they could be seen behind the fences. The performance of the production cars didn't match the prototypes because of a change to plastic piping (for crash test reasons) IIRC. And they popped parts all over the place. The turbo was poorly sized. Callaway did not do an exemplary job overall and Mazda felt the pain.

The MSM, for its various faults, was a much better engineered and executed car.

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