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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/6/23 8:42 a.m.

We lived through the ’80s and ’90s and spent a lot of time with the era’s greatest hits–drove them, raced them, even knew them when they still had that new car smell. We fondly remember shopping for Kamei air dams, Hella lamps and 14-inch tires.

But were the cars of those times really that rad? 

We wondered that ourselves, so …

Read the rest of the story

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
7/6/23 9:04 a.m.

The one part you get wrong is the specific NA part. It should be any one that fits in your overall budget. And can find. I think they are all just that good. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/6/23 10:53 a.m.

Doesn't that '92 project car also have a Flyin' Miata Link ECU? That's where most of the power gains came from.

An NA in good stock condition is something everyone should experience. I took a customer along in my survivor 1990 on one of our tours during the FM Summer Camp and it was the first time he'd ever been in an NA that wasn't a rat. It's easy to forget how good they feel when they're not rattling and shuddering and constantly bottoming out and cosmetically challenged. Heck, I'd forgotten and I know!

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
7/6/23 2:23 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Doesn't that '92 project car also have a Flyin' Miata Link ECU? That's where most of the power gains came from.

An NA in good stock condition is something everyone should experience. I took a customer along in my survivor 1990 on one of our tours during the FM Summer Camp and it was the first time he'd ever been in an NA that wasn't a rat. It's easy to forget how good they feel when they're not rattling and shuddering and constantly bottoming out and cosmetically challenged. Heck, I'd forgotten and I know!

Remember that clean 94 I had for sale for my parents? My mom now drives that more than her C6 Corvette and it's no longer for sale. I still think my S2000 is a better car by leaps and bounds but I love driving that NA around whenever I'm at their house. 

And like you said, you just don't see clean ones around anymore. I think as a family we'll collectively hold on to this one for that sake alone. 

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/6/23 7:54 p.m.

I have had a few as Keith know. I will say my 94 with just koni's and a FSB set up for ES was an absolute blast.

My MSM with bolt ons and a proper ECU sure is a ton of fun and has been a great add to the stable.

The few clean, unmodified NA's that remain command higher and higher prices while the early ND's are going to hit the bottom of their depreciation curve in the next 5 years. Nostalgia aside, the ND1 is a superior car in every way and they can now be had well below $20k. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
7/7/23 9:44 a.m.

I haven't had a chance to drive an ND, but tracked an NA and an NB. Had a few NCs, but never got a chance to track either. 

The NC is definitely a better street car than the first two gens. And I've never understood the "NCs are too fat" either. The base models are lighter then Mazdaspeed NBs. And have much more power/TQ than the normal NBs.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/7/23 10:42 a.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

But they are bigger and feel bigger. That's a selling point to some, a problem for others.

The ND feels more like an NA. I've personally never wanted an NB or an NC for my personal fleet, but I want an ND to go with my NAs.

Regardless, other than the headline, this article wasn't a "the NA is the best Miata" article. It's part of the series on cars from the 80s and 90s, and the NA is the only Miata that really falls in that category so it's about the NA.

Tom1200
Tom1200 PowerDork
7/7/23 11:13 a.m.

As an old car guy I'd have to say I like the NA the most.

The ND is phenomenal but it's not really a slow car anymore (14 second 1/4 mile and 140-145 mph). It's not really a fast car in todays terms but again it's not slow.

If I were to buy a Miata now it would be an NB or NC simply because my wife would actually ride in it if we went somewhere.

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/7/23 1:37 p.m.

I guess I am in the weird camp. I think the NB Miata is just a better version of the NA Miata. The ND is the best street Miata, but is expensive but also has electric assist steering which is a turn off to some, which leaves the NC as the next best street Miata.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/7/23 2:29 p.m.

Technically, the NB is an evolved NA. There's not much argument there. I personally don't like the styling direction taken in the interior but it's a better car by most objective measurements.

The 16-17 soft top NDs had a lesser steering rack than all other NDs, with a dead spot in the middle. They all benefit from a proper alignment. Then the steering is quite good, but it does have a different feel than the hydraulic. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/7/23 2:30 p.m.

Great example of a headline misrepresenting an article  :)

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
7/7/23 3:06 p.m.

Looking at the points, the best Miata is the one you like the best, set up to be driven the way you like it. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
7/7/23 3:19 p.m.

I'm Sorry but I have to be a contrarian.  It may be just my old age. ( or feeble mind if you listen to some) 

     But the Miata's I've driven just don't bond with me the way British MG's and Jaguars do.  
    No doubt a late Miata   Would even best my beloved Jaguar XKE  on the right track.  But then so would a lot of cars. 
      Plus newer will be safer,  cleaner, and seriously less work in ownership. 
   But wouldn't cause my heart to stir every time I saw one.    

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
7/7/23 3:27 p.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

The few clean, unmodified NA's that remain command higher and higher prices while the early ND's are going to hit the bottom of their depreciation curve in the next 5 years. Nostalgia aside, the ND1 is a superior car in every way and they can now be had well below $20k. 

I was just looking at Marketplace and saw a low mileage (40K) NA M-Edition, with a bunch of nice upgrades and colour matched hardtop, listed for $13,800. It won't be long before cars like that will be asking more than a depreciated ND. Low mileage NAs and NBs are regularly listed for $10-12K here in Michigan if they have been pampered and never winter driven.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
7/7/23 5:11 p.m.

They're coming out of the woodwork now.........a 23K mile NA    Marketplace - 1990 Mazda Miata Mx-5 | Facebook

Product photo of 1990 Mazda Miata Mx-5

 

........and a 25K mile one, too............Marketplace - 1991 Mazda MX-5 · Convertible 2D | Facebook

Product photo of 1991 Mazda MX-5 · Convertible 2D

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/10/23 10:11 a.m.

A lot of people forget where the auto industry was in the late 1980s when the Miata came out.  All sports cars we're getting bigger and slower due to safety and emissions standards.  Big touring GT style cars were the thing.  The Mustang and Camaro were knocking on death's door.  The Miata revived the car hobby in a way no other car had since the '64 Mustang.  It spawned all sorts of copies from other automakers.  The NA Miata is up there with the '53 Vette and '64 Mustang as some of the most important and iconic cars of all time.  

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
7/10/23 2:22 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) :

Amen Brother !!

calteg
calteg SuperDork
7/10/23 2:24 p.m.

NA is the best answer because it's the only miata with flip up headlights

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/10/23 3:19 p.m.

2 years into ownership, I love love love my ND Miata. It's a great car to live with. I would like to experience driving a good condition NA though. I've only been in racecars and beaters. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/10/23 4:00 p.m.
DeadSkunk (Warren) said:
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

The few clean, unmodified NA's that remain command higher and higher prices while the early ND's are going to hit the bottom of their depreciation curve in the next 5 years. Nostalgia aside, the ND1 is a superior car in every way and they can now be had well below $20k. 

I was just looking at Marketplace and saw a low mileage (40K) NA M-Edition, with a bunch of nice upgrades and colour matched hardtop, listed for $13,800. It won't be long before cars like that will be asking more than a depreciated ND. Low mileage NAs and NBs are regularly listed for $10-12K here in Michigan if they have been pampered and never winter driven.

That happens with classics. They bottom out after about 15 years and then start to climb back out of the valley of depreciation. Some cars climb further and faster than others, depending on how they are viewed by buyers. Some models get dragged up by their peers, such as aircooled 911s pushing up the value of watercooled ones.

"NAs are getting valuable again" is about a 5 year old news story by this point, but people keep rediscovering it :) Meanwhile, the ND hasn't bottomed out. I fully expect the values will cross, that's just how car pricing usually works. I also expect that the NA will be the most valuable of the bunch in the long run, as it is the icon. There might be a few oddball outliers such as the MSM as well.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/10/23 4:49 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

2 years into ownership, I love love love my ND Miata. It's a great car to live with. I would like to experience driving a good condition NA though. I've only been in racecars and beaters. 

Stop by someday :)

mtn
mtn MegaDork
7/10/23 7:09 p.m.

I DD'd an NB for 4 years, then drove a modified NA more or less daily for 8 months of the year, for 3 years. I've autocrossed a stockish NC numerous times. I have never been in an ND. 

 

Out of the first 3 generations, I rank them NB>NC>>NA. That is taking cost into account. I wouldn't be surprised if I own another NA, but if I do, it will be because I come across a great deal on one while I am looking for a Miata. I have searched out NBs and NCs multiple times in the past two years, and suspect I'll start searching for NDs and Fiatas in the not too distant future. I personally think that looks wise, it goes Fiata>NDRF>NB>ND>NC>NA. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/10/23 7:39 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

2 years into ownership, I love love love my ND Miata. It's a great car to live with. I would like to experience driving a good condition NA though. I've only been in racecars and beaters. 

I'm very happy to read this after your whole Fiat experience.  I'm glad you found the right car for you.  And yes you need to experience a nice NA at least once.  It really created a whole new generation of car people and spawned many automakers to enter a market everyone thought was gone.  

rattlecan
rattlecan New Reader
10/2/23 5:43 p.m.

I have a 95 with all the miles and all the go fast parts. I recently acquired a stone stock 97 barn find with only 33k miles. The modified 95 accelerates faster, turns harder, and grips better, but the stock 97 is truly sublime to drive. Other than the stereo nothing in this car will ever get upgraded. 

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