Mazda to Start Restoration Service for First-Generation Miatas

Ed
By Ed Higginbotham
Aug 4, 2017 | Mazda

This just in: Starting in 2018 Mazda owners in Japan will be able to send their cars back to the manufacturer for a complete restoration. Can you imagine driving a completely factory-fresh NA Miata today?

They will also resume manufacturing certain first-generation Miata parts that had been discontinued. Mazda shows again that they are dedicated to the cult following that their roadster has created.

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4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
8/4/17 2:40 p.m.

I LOVE THIS. Such a great way to get some good press, and really drive consumer loyalty.

Ive also always thought it would be great if Detroit would begin reproducing some of the pony cars - body in white - with something like headlight or brakelight position or size in a new spot vs the originals, and drop one of the newer boosted 6s or the current V8s into it. Get all the coolness points and cult following that the classic car scene generates, with the benefits of better brakes, engines, and transmissions that current cars have. Think about a "New" 70's era Camaro or Mustang, but with just enough changed that it doesnt detract value from actual classics.

Definitely a pipe dream, but it would still be cool to go down to the dealer and pick up a factory fresh restomod with a warranty...

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
8/4/17 2:55 p.m.

Like.

I hate that its difficult to buy parts for cars that are only 20 or even 10 years old sometimes.

The0retical
The0retical SuperDork
8/4/17 2:55 p.m.

That is awesome. Japanese brands have such a different outlook on maintaining, producing, or warehousing parts for older cars than companies like Volvo do. Unfortunately, due to that cultural difference, that means that you have to choose wisely if you're going to pick up a car for a long term project since you have to rely solely on the aftermarket when various wear items go NLA seemingly shortly after production ends.

The 1st gen Miata is a great test case for the argument that legacy vehicles should continue to be supported.

Now if only the Mazdaspeed badge would make a comeback...

noddaz
noddaz GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/4/17 4:07 p.m.

I don't own a Miata and think that is fantastic news...

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/4/17 4:43 p.m.

In reply to 4cylndrfury:

Some of the pony cars are available- http://www.dynacornclassicbodies.com/ford_models2.html

Nissan decided to restore 240z in 1997, when the car was 28 years old. Interestingly enough, Mazda is restoring Miatas when they, too, are 28 years old. Man, time flies.

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/4/17 4:55 p.m.

I wonder how many people will actually pay the price for this. I didn't see a price in there but my Japanese is really rusty.

The 240Z restoration services that Nissan did in the 90's ran in the high 20's. At least with that you didn't have to pay for the car with the Mazda service.

Good survivors are in the mid teens now just for a point of reference.

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/4/17 5:04 p.m.

I hope this means that you can get factory-fresh front and rear bumper covers. Because other than some waves in those, a great deal of these cars STILL look good in factory paint and interior.

One of the most iconic and highest quality cars ever built, regardless of price.

crankwalk
crankwalk GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/4/17 5:16 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: I LOVE THIS. Such a great way to get some good press, and really drive consumer loyalty. Ive also always thought it would be great if Detroit would begin reproducing some of the pony cars - body in white - with something like headlight or brakelight position or size in a new spot vs the originals, and drop one of the newer boosted 6s or the current V8s into it. Get all the coolness points and cult following that the classic car scene generates, with the benefits of better brakes, engines, and transmissions that current cars have. Think about a "New" 70's era Camaro or Mustang, but with just enough changed that it doesnt detract value from actual classics. Definitely a pipe dream, but it would still be cool to go down to the dealer and pick up a factory fresh restomod with a warranty...

They could sell it all in pieces but once they deliver it to you as a "car" then it needs emissions and crash testing etc. etc. If anybody was going to do it, you'd think it would be the big 3.

drsmooth
drsmooth HalfDork
8/4/17 6:05 p.m.

Translation here

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/4/17 6:55 p.m.

If they put the factory hardtops back into production, they'll end up sitting on more cash than Apple

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
8/4/17 7:31 p.m.

I think this is awesome. Very cool.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
8/4/17 7:53 p.m.

Awesome! I love this idea and am glad to see mazda taking it on with the miata.

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
8/4/17 8:23 p.m.

I restored a 1990 Miata in 2006 or so, so I am getting a kick out of this article.

Customer spent $10k to have his car gone through and major mechanical and cosmetic maladies addressed (incl. new top, rust repair, complete respray, new brake lines, etc). We made sure he knew that he could buy a prisine example at the time for way less than the original estimate, but he insisted, because he was attached to that particular car.

It did look and drive very nice when we were done with it. Reminded me heavily of the '80 RX-7 that got me addicted to small cars.

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
8/4/17 8:26 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: If they put the factory hardtops back into production, they'll end up sitting on more cash than Apple

Mazda IS producing new hardtops. They are admittedly not "street car" level of fit and finish, and the price reflects that. But, my own little corner of the motorsports world says that an "OE hardtop" is required, and last time I checked, Mazda was the original manufacturer of the Miata, so that checks out just fine.

jr02518
jr02518 Reader
8/4/17 9:14 p.m.

As the owner of a '95 I can only hope that they make a run of driver seats. Maybe seats with a wider bottom cushion.

Ok, the widest possible with reinforced bolsters. Because, reality.

In the stock black fabric.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/5/17 10:43 a.m.

I don't necessarily want a factory fresh early Miata, just a 94-97 with solid rockers.

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/5/17 1:00 p.m.

How many do you want woody? I can ship a few up to you.

Motor_Mouth
Motor_Mouth New Reader
8/5/17 4:14 p.m.

Actually, Year One already manufactures both a Mustang and Camaro body shell in white... Plus maybe some other stuff - I don't really follow those cars too closely...

Schmidlap
Schmidlap HalfDork
8/6/17 8:14 a.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: Ive also always thought it would be great if Detroit would begin reproducing some of the pony cars - body in white - with something like headlight or brakelight position or size in a new spot vs the originals, and drop one of the newer boosted 6s or the current V8s into it. Definitely a pipe dream, but it would still be cool to go down to the dealer and pick up a factory fresh restomod with a warranty...

It's not a pipe dream, Revology is offering this for 1966 to 1968 Mustangs - brand new, "Ford licensed" body shells with the 5L Coyote or an emissions certified 6.2L LS3, modern brakes, suspension, steering, HVAC, lighting, etc, 1 year bumper-to-bumper warranty, 2 year powertrain warranty. The price, unfortunately, starts at $160,000. You can get it with a new VIN and title it as a replica, or if you can supply an original car, they will build a new one with that car's VIN (officially they're restoring the original).

Link

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
8/7/17 9:12 a.m.
Schmidlap wrote:
4cylndrfury wrote: Ive also always thought it would be great if Detroit would begin reproducing some of the pony cars - body in white - with something like headlight or brakelight position or size in a new spot vs the originals, and drop one of the newer boosted 6s or the current V8s into it. Definitely a pipe dream, but it would still be cool to go down to the dealer and pick up a factory fresh restomod with a warranty...
It's not a pipe dream, Revology is offering this for 1966 to 1968 Mustangs - brand new, "Ford licensed" body shells with the 5L Coyote or an emissions certified 6.2L LS3, modern brakes, suspension, steering, HVAC, lighting, etc, 1 year bumper-to-bumper warranty, 2 year powertrain warranty. The price, unfortunately, starts at $160,000. You can get it with a new VIN and title it as a replica, or if you can supply an original car, they will build a new one with that car's VIN (officially they're restoring the original). Link

While that is awesome, it still is a pipe dream...for me. At $160k, it might as well be a bajillionty-zillion dollars.

I mean, if a new GT Mustang runs in the 20s, couldnt a restomod version be reasonably similar in costs?

Yes, I understand the limitations in the production model of the 21st century - retooling, training, sourcing, crash testing, etc etc etc ad infinitum...but, I am resolute in my statement:I believe an affordable sporting car could be produced using unibody designs from the muscle car heyday, modernizing the running gear and powertrain, and having changed enough in terms of specific design elements (lighting and other body components) to avoid a negative impact on the originals, while generating enough interest to be a profitable product line.

rslifkin
rslifkin SuperDork
8/7/17 9:18 a.m.

In reply to 4cylndrfury:

The restomod will almost always be significantly more expensive because they'll sell less of them. So they can't spread the cost of emissions testing, etc. out across as many cars.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/7/17 9:24 a.m.
rslifkin wrote: In reply to 4cylndrfury: The restomod will almost always be significantly more expensive because they'll sell less of them. So they can't spread the cost of emissions testing, etc. out across as many cars.

Not only that, they will be hand built. There's a HUGE amount of advanced manufacturing that keeps the price of modern cars down that the resto-mod can't use. And being hand built- it's actually the opposite of super advanced manufacturing.

Instead of being built in 2 days (maybe 40 hours, but that's pretty pessimistic, but mostly machine hours), the restomod will be hundreds of man hours to build.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury MegaDork
8/7/17 11:46 a.m.
alfadriver wrote:
rslifkin wrote: In reply to 4cylndrfury: The restomod will almost always be significantly more expensive because they'll sell less of them. So they can't spread the cost of emissions testing, etc. out across as many cars.
Not only that, they will be hand built. There's a HUGE amount of advanced manufacturing that keeps the price of modern cars down that the resto-mod can't use. And being hand built- it's actually the opposite of super advanced manufacturing. Instead of being built in 2 days (maybe 40 hours, but that's pretty pessimistic, but mostly machine hours), the restomod will be hundreds of man hours to build.

Why would they be hand built? Im talking about stamping new steel unibodies, and installing modern drivetrains. I use the term "restomod" in the vernacular to describe an "old" chassis with a "new" drivetrain. But, by old I mean old-style.

pretend we already knew it would be profittable to start re-manufacturing 70s mustangs bodies, and equipping them with modern ford V8s. What would stand in the way of actually making it happen? In order to redesign the next generation of a vehicle (and I know Im going to be speaking from a very uninformed position), you would design the machines and tooling to stamp and assemble the raw steel into a unibody. Another set of tooling and machines to press the bodywork. Yet another to manufacture the subframes and other sub-components. Next is paint process. Then, you equip a line to run the finished bodies thru the drivetrain and running gear installation. At some point, interior goes in.

Like I said, pretending like its already known to be profitable, what is preventing Ford from designing the next generation of mustangs to utilize sheetmetal that looks 90% the same as a 69 Mustang, but with different tail lights and bigger headlights, and designed to accept the modern 5 liter mill?

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/7/17 12:03 p.m.

In reply to 4cylndrfury:

The chassis is so different that it could not run the same line as the normal Mustang- and it was built and designed in a totally different era WRT making cars. So it's very unlikely that it could be made with machines.

Then the demand is so small that there would be no justification for updating the car to new tools and processes.

Besides, the current Mustang is already Retro.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/7/17 12:21 p.m.

I'd forgotten this wasn't public knowledge yet It's great news, we'll see some NLA parts come back.

Recreations of old cars can't happen, because they'd be new cars and they'd never make it without substantial engineering. So instead you have to restore old ones, which is hugely labor-intensive and thus expensive. Heck, just look at old warplanes. Guys work for 10 years to get one back in the air when it was probably built in two weeks.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
8/7/17 12:25 p.m.
The 240Z restoration services that Nissan did in the 90's ran in the high 20's. At least with that you didn't have to pay for the car with the Mazda service. Good survivors are in the mid teens now just for a point of reference.

I can't tell if this is the point you're trying to make, but that high-20s sounds like a bargain.

I don't know if this is a rare thing or what but when i look at ANY car and think about just how difficult it would be for me to replicate the effort that created it and compare that to its current used car price, it's mind-boggling. Used cars are an incredible, ridiculous, ludicrously good value. It almost doesn't matter how bad of shape it's in. If you had to pay somebody to create the thing, by hand, even the most decrepit automobile on the planet would be a nigh-on $100,000 project and there's a zero percent chance it would turn out as well as the production version.

The efficiencies of mass production are so powerful that, in my opinion, they distort people's sense of value when they compare something was mass-produced to something that requires hundreds or thousands of man-hours of hands-on non-automated craftsmanship like a restoration. If you could buy a turn-key fully restored car for ONLY the same cost as a new production model, you're getting a good deal. And you're not getting a good deal on a car, because even a perfect old car is E36 M3ty compared to a new one. You're getting a good deal on human time and energy!

fidelity101
fidelity101 SuperDork
8/7/17 12:34 p.m.

This is why I am a huge supporter of Mazda, also I can still buy A LOT of new & OEM parts for mazda for my 86 rx7. Most companies get lazy after 15 years or so to cut costs or something...

Knurled
Knurled MegaDork
8/7/17 4:54 p.m.
fidelity101 wrote: This is why I am a huge supporter of Mazda, also I can still buy A LOT of new & OEM parts for mazda for my 86 rx7.

Meanwhile, if you have an '85 RX-7, you're SOL.

Which generation has several one make series designed around it, in the US? That requires things like 100% stock 12As?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/7/17 5:00 p.m.

Spec series have a lifespan. They either have to evolve to take availability into account or they die. Mazda does a lot for their racers, but asking them to keep supplying new engines that went out of production over 30 years ago is a big ask.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
8/8/17 12:05 p.m.

The re-manufacturing idea is not a new one. There was a place in SD that used to do Mustangs: Pretty much had a reverse assembly line for what came in and an assembly "Team" for the cars going out. The price was high but not insane. I am guessing the place was in rural SD for labour cost reasons.

The 240Z proved that a factory could do this and if not really profitable, at least worth it from a marketing and promotions point of view. The tooling already exist and it would not be hard to set up manual "Mass Production" processes.

Where the Restomods get expensive is because of the "Mod" component. No two clients want the same car.If you have ever put a window in an early mustang, you would realize that the labor to do so at today's rates would be nuts. The same applies for other systems on the car. Figure close to 1000 hours of labour in a restomod.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/8/17 1:55 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: I'd forgotten this wasn't public knowledge yet It's great news, we'll see some NLA parts come back. Recreations of old cars can't happen, because they'd be new cars and they'd never make it without substantial engineering. So instead you have to restore old ones, which is hugely labor-intensive and thus expensive. Heck, just look at old warplanes. Guys work for 10 years to get one back in the air when it was probably built in two weeks.

Things like the R-Package rear lip perhaps? I remember sellers being pretty proud of those...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/8/17 2:04 p.m.

There's a difference between "available" and "cheap".

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/8/17 3:21 p.m.
thatsnowinnebago wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: I'd forgotten this wasn't public knowledge yet It's great news, we'll see some NLA parts come back.
Things like the R-Package rear lip perhaps? I remember sellers being pretty proud of those...

How proud, exactly? I have one on my car and I would love to replace it with a Blackbird Fabworx spoiler. If I could reasonably subsidize that purchase by selling the OEM lip, that would be awesome.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/8/17 3:23 p.m.

I assumed it was the one on the bottom of the bumper, not the trunk lid spoiler. I don't think the latter have a lot of value.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
8/8/17 3:34 p.m.

Ahhhh... Don't have that one. Damn. Just a sanded-down R-package front lip.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/8/17 8:33 p.m.
bmw88rider wrote: I wonder how many people will actually pay the price for this. I didn't see a price in there but my Japanese is really rusty. The 240Z restoration services that Nissan did in the 90's ran in the high 20's. At least with that you didn't have to pay for the car with the Mazda service. Good survivors are in the mid teens now just for a point of reference.

240Zs restored like the Nissan reworks would command far more than mid teens now. An ok driver mid teens, but really nice ones are easily $30k plus.

I think it's great that Mazda is supporting Miatas this way. To me at least, it separates Mazda from other carmakers even more. I don't think anyone would argue that the Miata helped cement Mazdas modern reputation.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/9/17 12:22 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: I assumed it was the one on the bottom of the bumper, not the trunk lid spoiler. I don't think the latter have a lot of value.

That's the one.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/9/17 12:42 a.m.
racerdave600 wrote: I think it's great that Mazda is supporting Miatas this way. To me at least, it separates Mazda from other carmakers even more. I don't think anyone would argue that the Miata helped cement Mazdas modern reputation.

When you think about it, the Miata is the closest thing that Mazda has to a halo car. Which is pretty cool - what other manufacturers have an affordable little ragtop as their brand ambassador?

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