In a Year, What Will the Market Pay for a Clean Sunburst Yellow Miata?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Apr 22, 2021 | Mazda, Miata, MX-5, Bring a Trailer

This past weekend’s selling price for a 1992 Miata wearing the highly desirable Sunburst Yellow: $12,200. This one sported a hardtop, the stock daisy wheels and just 52,000 miles on the odometer.

Predictions as to what a car like this will bring a year from now? 

(And remember that time we bought one for $700 and turned it into a race car?)

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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/19/21 12:06 p.m.

What's interesting about that car is that it's not exactly pristine. It has clearly seen a paint booth (which is acknowledged in the auction) with the deletion of the black rockers, the addition of black to the windshield surround and the color-matched mudflaps. The lower body modifications make the car look stodgier IMO and the black windshield surround doesn't work well with the hardtop. But more importantly, they are clear modifications to the one thing that makes this car notable.

 

Well sold :)

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/19/21 12:10 p.m.

Yup. It's close but not A+. But, still, I wonder what the market will say a year from now. 

engiekev
engiekev HalfDork
4/19/21 12:11 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

What's interesting about that car is that it's not exactly pristine. It has clearly seen a paint booth (which is acknowledged in the auction) with the deletion of the black rockers, the addition of black to the windshield surround and the color-matched mudflaps. The lower body modifications make the car look stodgier IMO and the black windshield surround doesn't work well with the hardtop. But more importantly, they are clear modifications to the one thing that makes this car notable.

 

Well sold :)

BaT is weird!  It just takes the right conditions and buyers for the price to take off.  Sometimes that won't happen, I guess it has to do with getting that intial attention and keeping momentum going throughout the auction.  Last minute interest also can lead to some bidding fun since BaT doesn't technically end if people keep bidding.

Personally I've bought 1 car and sold 1 car on BaT and I don't think I will go back, it was fun to watch but it really didn't gather more than if I would have sold it on a Facebook Group or Forum (those that still exist other than GRM!).

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/19/21 12:14 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

And I'm with you on the rockers. Painting them body color makes the car look chonky, while the black windshield surround clashes with the hardtop.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/19/21 12:18 p.m.

The front bumper was clearly repainted as well because nobody bothered to put the Mazda logo sticker back on - a common failing because they were NLA for a long time. I made my own out of vinyl.

I will probably be selling one of my own Miatas soon - gotta thin out the fleet a bit. It's not a collector car, but I'm really tempted to put it on BaT because the FM name is so well known there and it'll do well. I could put it up for sale on GRM but I'd feel bad asking for what I could hopefully get on BaT. Gotta do a little cosmetic cleanup first though.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/19/21 12:18 p.m.

Wow, that feels like a lot. Low miles but it's far from perfect.

The windshield surround and rocker panels are kinda weird choices - it's like they took the contrast away from the areas where the car needs it, and added it to where it doesn't. It looks like a big yellow bar of soap with the top down. I'm not a fan of the body color mudflaps either.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/19/21 12:29 p.m.

I wonder if this is an artifact of the lack of mechanical variation on the 1.6 cars?  It seems that most of the time when a car with a lot of examples becomes collectible, the ones with high value are the models that are mechanically different and less common -- bigger/better engine being the most obvious factor.  Mazda doesn't really do that though, almost all of the "special" Miatas are mechanically the same with just cosmetic differences .

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/19/21 12:33 p.m.

I've said for years that my pick for the collectable NA is the black and red with the unique interior and (unfortunately) the first appearance of the R Package suspension. Yellow is close behind but it has a stock interior, it was literally just an optional paint color.

100% agreed that in the lack of notable mechanical variation, it all becomes about the colors.

calteg
calteg Dork
4/19/21 12:47 p.m.

The color matched hardtop is what sent this price into the stratosphere. A decent hardtop is a $1500 proposition currently. Now add that it's an uber rare color, I'd guesstimate that added $3000 to the price of the car

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/19/21 12:49 p.m.

You guys don't what to know what we did to our Merlot hardtop...

Good hardtops have always been about the same price. I remember being excited to get one out of Quebec for $600 back in 1993 when the going price was more like $900. Now do the math :)

mblommel
mblommel Dork
4/19/21 1:09 p.m.

Pristine NA BRG/Tan cars seem to bring a pretty penny too. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/19/21 1:16 p.m.

If I had my choice, BRG for me. (So, wrong to wrap my white one in BRG?)

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/19/21 1:22 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

If I had my choice, BRG for me. (So, wrong to wrap my white one in BRG?)

I painted the rockers on my car BRG. It's subtle but works pretty well.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/19/21 1:41 p.m.

I've never thought the NA looked good in BRG. It likes bright primary colors. But if you're selling the dream of an old English Sports Car but without the hassle, you have to do BRG/tan :) And hey, you know what they say about opinions.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/19/21 1:46 p.m.

My NA pick would be a 94 R in Laguna Blue.... or chaste white.  I really miss my white R that I sold.  That was a mistake.  I rarely have sellers remorse with a car, but that one I do.

The used car market is crazy right now in all aspects.  I have a car on BaT right now and it met reserve in less than 48 hours.  It will be going to a new home. 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
4/19/21 1:54 p.m.

Since you guys brought up BRG and tan combo......Marketplace - 1991 Mazda Miata Special Edition · Special Edition | Facebook  .........$12,500

May be an image of car and outdoors

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
4/19/21 3:07 p.m.

I think any collector-clean NA with tan leather interior will bring the bucks because the leather they used on those seats was more like paper.  I don't think I've ever seen a driver's seat that wasn't shredded to bits, a clean original one would be seriously rare.

All-original chaste white cars would also be really rare because every chaste white Miata I've ever seen had the paint flaking off in big chunks.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/19/21 3:19 p.m.

Note: Crystal is the 1990-93 color that has a tendency to flake, Chaste is the 1994-97 white that seems to stick.

And yeah, the leather sucks. And it still sucks based on what I can see on our NDs.

Chaste (stock) vs Crystal (Martini). You can see why I chose Crystal for the base of the livery.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
4/19/21 3:52 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

If I had my choice, BRG for me. (So, wrong to wrap my white one in BRG?)

Me too.  I still miss my BRG, number 403.  

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/19/21 4:07 p.m.

White is always my first choice for a car. Living in Florida is a big factor in that, but besides the fact that it doesn't absorb as much solar radiation, I think it just looks good. 
 

I agree with the choice of crystal white when you see the two of them together, it's a really nice color. 

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
4/19/21 4:52 p.m.

I just brokered a 96 with 18K miles for 14.5K in a undesirable color with low options. Buyers are out there for these things. I wish I had held onto my 94 R. 

Rodan
Rodan Dork
4/19/21 4:58 p.m.

There was considerable discussion of this particular Sunburst car among the 'collectors' on Miata.net... many subtle defects noted, including the obvious bodywork/paint.  There was even a thread there on the same car in 2018 when it was previously for sale.

The consensus amongst the serious Miata collectors there was it sold well above what it should have.  Once again, BAT brings the $$$.

TanukiAttack
TanukiAttack New Reader
4/19/21 5:19 p.m.

18-22k easy in a years time for pristine low milage example.

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones HalfDork
4/19/21 6:42 p.m.

Am I the only one that doesn't see that as a crazy price? It's a low mile, fun car, in a cool color.

'we can debate the "flaws" all day long, but to me it's a lot of car for the money. 
 

put the top down and go for a ride. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
4/19/21 10:31 p.m.

My favorite color is the one on the cheapest car I'm willing to by. That includes red, the color that only looks good on biplanes. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/19/21 10:35 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

What's interesting about that car is that it's not exactly pristine. It has clearly seen a paint booth (which is acknowledged in the auction) with the deletion of the black rockers, the addition of black to the windshield surround and the color-matched mudflaps. The lower body modifications make the car look stodgier IMO and the black windshield surround doesn't work well with the hardtop. But more importantly, they are clear modifications to the one thing that makes this car notable.

 

Well sold :)

agreed, the black windshield looks odd. Also, overspray in the wheel well is annoying in this pic. 

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/19/21 10:40 p.m.

I think that's a ton of money for a car with that history and multiple flaws.  I'd happily drive the BAT car, just not at the price it just sold for.  The hardtop helps, but even so...

I have hung onto my 94R which now has 145K on it, and the one thing that makes it worth way more money to me than I could get for it is the fact that it has zero rust.  I have never had to fight with a rusty fastener.   What puts me off the BAT car more than anything else is looking at rusty suspension bolts, and, assuming it's been in the snow in Indiana, there will be more like that.

 

Greg Smith (Forum Supporter)
Greg Smith (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/19/21 11:09 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

And I'm with you on the rockers. Painting them body color makes the car look chonky, while the black windshield surround clashes with the hardtop.

Editorial Director, Grassroots Motorsports & Classic Motorsports

Also agree, though I actually like the black surround and would prefer a black hardtop. 

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/20/21 8:55 a.m.

I've "almost" sold my NA three times.  Two years ago for $4500.  One year ago for $6500.  And this year for $8500. 

But honestly, why would I bother to sell it?  It is so inexpensive to own, and still brings me a ton of joy when I take it for a ride.

Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter)
Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter) Reader
4/20/21 9:22 a.m.

I might be in the minority, but I think the ND makes high-dollar NAs redundant. I don't think there's many (any?) new cars that you can say it about, but it's practically the same size & weight, makes considerably more power, has pretty much all the character, and has a chassis that doesn't feel like it's constructed from soggy cardboard. 

I love 80's and 90's cars, they offer a look and driving experience that you don't find today. But the math on NA miatas in this price range doesn't make sense to me when ND1s are only a few k more and offer a very similar experience with better driving dynamics. Maybe I'm just salty that I sold all of my cool cars (including a clean 94 miata w/ a torsen & matching hard top) before they went up in value.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/20/21 9:34 a.m.

It is very interesting driving NAs and NDs back to back. The ND is a more competent car but it's like there's an overlay over everything, a translation layer that is doing the filtering and correction. You notice it most in the steering but it's there in the brakes, gearshift and other controls as well.

You get a different experience in the NA. It feels more mechanical, more direct. Day to day it's not as friendly to live with because it is more in your face about its demands and doesn't offer the same level of comfort, but if you're just after that raw I Am Driving experience it's good. This is hard to explain without sounding like an old man trying to justify his crappy old car, but there really is a simplicity and directness to the NA that isn't there on the ND. 

I am basing that comparison on a few NAs that are well tweaked. They're not running the sort of suspension that batters the chassis, for example. And they invariably have the simplest, purest 1.6 interior.

I will have an ND eventually. A black RF. But I'll also have an NA parked beside it :)

calteg
calteg Dork
4/20/21 11:25 a.m.

In reply to Fupdiggity (Forum Supporter) :

That's actually a good point. As ND's get cheaper (especially ND1's), will that supress the prices of a clean NA? Somehow I doubt it, but it's an interesting thought experiment.

I've owned and sold two fairly clean 94R's. They're definitely cars that benefit from being left stock. They're a riot on 14" rubber, but once you start trying to make a track car out of them, they seem to lose a bit of the magic. While I absolutely love the R package steering feel, trying to wrestle a manual rack car on 225 r compounds gets real tiring, real quickly

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/20/21 11:38 a.m.

See, I think the biggest problem with the R is the suspension. Swap out those shocks and bumpstops and you can make it ride and handle quite a bit better. If you're running around on stock R suspension, you'll definitely be dealing with some harshness and a chassis that feels flexible. Compare that to the current Bilstein suspension on the ND2 and it's a dramatic difference in stock form.

I don't think the ND will ever really affect the resale value of NAs, they're different enough that there's not much cross-shopping. Especially at the top end of the market where it's all about a specific car being outstanding. The ND definitely affected the resale value of the NC - when the ND specs were first announced, everyone said "oh man, only 155 hp!" and the NC prices stayed strong. Then the first test drives arrived and the NC resale cratered.

calteg
calteg Dork
4/20/21 11:44 a.m.

I still think a 2.5L swapped NC is the best miata value proposition going right now. Just missed out on a cheap one in Houston a few weeks ago. Seller low balled himself and it got swarmed within an hour of posting.

 

To Keith: Well, not only the harshness, but the fact that if the stock R package Bilsteins are still intact somehow, they're 25 years old at this point...

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/20/21 12:17 p.m.

Well apparently a '98 Subaru is a $300k car now, so who knows?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/20/21 12:36 p.m.

Calling a low mileage 22B a "1998 Subaru" is underselling it a bit. It's like calling a Porsche 959 a "1986 Porsche". The 22B has always been the ultimate from a manufacturer that was at the top of their game and with extremely limited production - about the same as the 959, actually. It was always going to be primo collector bait.

Rodan
Rodan Dork
4/20/21 12:38 p.m.

Keith hit it right on the money... The ND is a wonderful car, but it's 'digital', whereas the NA is 'analog'.  The ND is objectively better in just about every metric, but it's a very different experience.  The NA is also the first of the breed, so it will always command a premium in the collector market.

Rodan
Rodan Dork
4/20/21 12:41 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

Keith beat me to it, but I would put a 22B in the same category of 'special' as an E36 M3.   Plus, it was never sold in the US, so add that to the unicorn factor.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/20/21 12:46 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

I understand all that, I guess my point was with Japanese sports car prices going the way they are, this great example of a Sunburst yellow Miata may be worth a lot more than we think next year. I don't think anyone was predicting that 22B to go for $300k. Even half of that would be incredible, yet here we are.

laguna
laguna
4/20/21 2:22 p.m.

For my taste, the Laguna Blue NA is the most attractive. I already had a red 90' (Keith Tanner may remember it from Ottawa) and I could not resist the 95 Laguna (with air and hardtop). I started preparing my red 90' for Vintage racing but our Canadian clubs won't let them in yet. So, I'll be selling it soon. As for values, I believe the NA should continue on its climb, may be 20 k in 5 years?

fornetti14
fornetti14 GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/20/21 3:21 p.m.

What will that S. Yellow car be worth in a year?  About the same as now I'd say.  I think it will hold it's value and lower mileage NA cars should at least hold tight.  I don't see them falling through the floor anytime soon.  Good low mileage cars (under 40k ish) should hold tight at $10k and $12-13k with a hard top.  

The deals are still out there but you need cash and move quickly.  I was a day late on a '95 M Edition in Merlot and a hardtop with 36,000 miles.  Sold for $7,000 on Craigslist!  That was late last summer.

I'm sticking with my '99 Hard S Sport.  Such a joy to drive when I want some top down fun.  

 

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