Rate It: Factory-Built Mazda MX-5 Speedster

Stripping out the interior of a car to make it lighter isn't necessarily a new concept, but Mazda wanted to see just how far they could push that envelope with its NC-chassis MX-5.

Built in 2010 to celebrate 20 years of the MX-5, the MX-5 Superlight Version does without a windshield, a roof and just about every potential creature comfort. All of those weight savings brought the curb weight down to around 2200 pounds.

That's about 250 pounds lighter than a standard NC-chassis and only about a hundred pounds heavier than a first-generation Miata.

No significant changes were made to the powerplant and drivetrain, as the Superlight came with the 125-horsepower, 1.8-liter MZR engine standard in European MX-5 mated to a production five-speed manual transmission.

Should more MX-5s come from the factory without a windshield?

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Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
Andrew Polasek
Andrew Polasek
8/6/20 6:27 p.m.

250 lbs is impressive on a Miata, that's 10% weight savings on an already lightweight car to begin with, and finished product looks.. finished. Not sure I could live with love bugs in my teeth though.

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
8/6/20 10:23 p.m.
Andrew Polasek said:

250 lbs is impressive on a Miata, that's 10% weight savings on an already lightweight car to begin with, and finished product looks.. finished. Not sure I could live with love bugs in my teeth though.

Add 5lbs back in with a lexan fly screen. A six or eight inch tall screen, properly adjusted, would stave off the majority of critters in your teeth. 
 

I love the look of that Miata, though... (slow whistles appreciatively)

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/7/20 3:45 a.m.

IIRC first gen 1.6L Miatas were nowhere close to 2300 lbs.  A BP4W swap into an NA chassis give you the same power/weight ratio or better, and you get a windshield. That speedster is still pretty cool though. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/7/20 7:34 a.m.
Colin Wood said:

Should more MX-5s come from the factory without a windshield?

I would say no. The constant buffeting and need to wear goggles would kill a lot of the fun, for me at least.

 

white_fly
white_fly HalfDork
8/7/20 9:07 a.m.

11/10. I've long fantasized about a street car with no windshield. 

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
8/7/20 9:29 a.m.

Miatae, and many (most?) other roadsters, tend to look GREAT without a windshield. However, I like the idea more than I think I would like the reality of it...And while I liked this treatment on the NC, I liked it better on the ND.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/7/20 10:29 a.m.

In reply to Driven5 :

Ooohhh yes. Looks really good on the ND!

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
8/7/20 10:36 a.m.

The styling looks incongruous to me; mainly because the seats and roll hoops/fairings are noticeably higher the the cowl, for me a low screen would go a long way toward making them look better.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/7/20 10:39 a.m.

I could take or leave the speedster look, but I do love that brown interior. 

cafcwest
cafcwest HalfDork
8/7/20 1:39 p.m.

I'm a fan.  Then again, I did do this in my COVID-19 lockdown boredom:

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/7/20 2:29 p.m.
Driven5 said:

Miatae, and many (most?) other roadsters, tend to look GREAT without a windshield. However, I like the idea more than I think I would like the reality of it...And while I liked this treatment on the NC, I liked it better on the ND.

That color!!

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/7/20 2:37 p.m.

Still better than this Porsche 944 based conversion that a company in Holland produces:

Heynsdyk 2500SF

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/7/20 2:38 p.m.

In reply to cafcwest :

That looks rad. Which wheels are you running? 

cafcwest
cafcwest HalfDork
8/7/20 4:01 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

New early Mini Cooper 15x5.5 steel wheels - a very cheap (though certainly heavier than OEM 14" hollow spokes) choice for a bit of a vintage look.
https://www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-mini-parts/steel-wheel-silver-priced-each/36116768497/

BFG Radial TA 155/80/15 tires.  The idea was to give it as little grip as possible and let the car dance for that vintage motoring feel.   They are no 200TW auto-x special but they actually have quite a bit more grip than I was expecting.
https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=BFGoodrich&tireModel=Radial+T%2FA&partnum=58SR5RADTARWL2V2

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/7/20 5:46 p.m.

There are u-tube videos of cars getting their windshields stove in by flying debris. Watch one before you break out the sawzall.

Cool-looking though.  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/7/20 6:06 p.m.
cafcwest said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

New early Mini Cooper 15x5.5 steel wheels - a very cheap (though certainly heavier than OEM 14" hollow spokes) choice for a bit of a vintage look.
https://www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-mini-parts/steel-wheel-silver-priced-each/36116768497/

BFG Radial TA 155/80/15 tires.  The idea was to give it as little grip as possible and let the car dance for that vintage motoring feel.   They are no 200TW auto-x special but they actually have quite a bit more grip than I was expecting.
https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=BFGoodrich&tireModel=Radial+T%2FA&partnum=58SR5RADTARWL2V2

The setup looks neat--retro and cool. 

Vajingo
Vajingo New Reader
8/7/20 6:28 p.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

IIRC first gen 1.6L Miatas were nowhere close to 2300 lbs.  A BP4W swap into an NA chassis give you the same power/weight ratio or better, and you get a windshield. That speedster is still pretty cool though. 

Someone hasn't driven the NC.

BNolch
BNolch
8/7/20 7:38 p.m.

In reply to cafcwest :

Cool, reminds me of an old Jaguar from the 50s!

spandak
spandak HalfDork
8/7/20 11:25 p.m.

I too have always wanted to do this. Weirdly, I was thinking about it today on my way home. 
My favorite version of this idea is the Bergspyder. That ND is a cloooose second


 

edit: where can I find info on the chopped 986? I would like to read about rhat

white_fly
white_fly HalfDork
8/8/20 12:16 a.m.

In reply to spandak :

It was posted on a Facebook group called 'Boxster Outlaws' or something like that. I don't honestly know more about it than that.

I like this rendering quite a bit.

Also, all the cars pictured up to this point.

DavidATL
DavidATL New Reader
8/10/20 4:55 a.m.

In reply to cafcwest :

LOVE LOVE LOVE your work and this build. 

cafcwest
cafcwest HalfDork
8/10/20 10:43 a.m.

Thanks for the kind words everyone.  I decided to do a cross post of the 'build' thread on the GRM forum here:
https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/project-miat/175590/page1/

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/10/20 10:50 a.m.

Anything where goggles and driving gloves are appropriate is cool. 

ebelements
ebelements Reader
8/10/20 11:36 a.m.

Modern cars without windshields look like a face without eyebrows. 

wspohn
wspohn Dork
8/10/20 12:43 p.m.

That Mazda looks similar to the GM concept racer based on the then new Pontiac Solstice, at the 2006 SEMA show.

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/10/20 1:01 p.m.

Maybe it is time for someone (other than Jeep and the Bronco) to bring back the adjustable windscreen. They'd probably sell dozens of them. 

 

 

j_tso
j_tso Reader
8/10/20 2:04 p.m.

Too heavy! Get rid of the passenger!

jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter)
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/10/20 5:49 p.m.

Digging the Miata content here, but the takeaway is that a surprising number of topless cars look bad ass w/o a windscreen.  Since it has not been mentioned yet, MR2 Spyders also look pretty sweet (to me) with the same treatment. It’s transformative.

For example this one from the halls of GRM.  Props @Carbon for breaking out the sawsall here.  It’s a good look!

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