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Mazda MX-5 Turns 30 - 30 Reasons to Celebrate an Icon

In 1989 Mazda were confident the first generation of Mazda MX-5 would be a popular sports car. What followed in the next 30 years was a most remarkable evolution, propelling MX-5 to icon status and into the Guinness Book of Records.

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A Legend is Born

1. The first Mazda MX-5 was unveiled to the world at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, exactly 30 years before the unveiling of the 30th Anniversary Edition this February.

2. The idea of the MX-5 was first sold to Mazda well before 1989. Bob Hall, a journalist at the time, came to Mazda with a sketch of an affordable, lightweight sports car in 1982. The result of that meeting saw Bob become a Mazda employee.

3. Two prototype models were built in the mid 80s and for various reasons were rejected. The third prototype went on to become the first Mazda MX-5.

1st Gen Image

4. The intent of MX-5 was to create an inherent harmony between car and driver. This harmony is as ‘Jinba Ittai’ - a traditional Japanese concept meaning ‘horse and rider as one’.

5. The original MX-5 concept used a 1.6L engine from the Mazda 323, a gearbox from the Mazda 626 and the diff from the RX-7.

6. The first generation was an instant hit, celebrated for its simplicity and connectedness to the driver as well as its rounded design featuring pop-up headlamps.

The Evolution Begins

7. The first generation was in production from 1989 – 1997.

8. The first generation went from 0-100km/h in 10.6 seconds. The current generation gets to 100km/h in just 6.5 seconds.

9. The second-generation MX-5 was built from 1997 – 2005. The most notable change was the inclusion of fixed headlamps instead of retractable ones in order to pass pedestrian safety tests.

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10. This second-generation MX-5 SE was the first to feature a special turbocharged engine.

11. In 2000 the Guinness Book of Records first listed MX-5 as the world’s best-selling two-seater convertible sports car.

12. The third generation was in production the longest, from 2005 – 2015, and was the first model to come with the option of a power retractable hard-top.

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Record Breaker

13. The current generation was launched in 2015 and has won more accolades than any other.

14. Mazda MX-5 has been built adhering to a rare 50/50 weight balance between front and rear, allowing the driver to feel more connected to the road.

15. In May 2016 the one-millionth Mazda MX-5 rolled off the production line.

16. This MX-5 then went on a global tour with one million fans from around the world adding their signature to the duco.

17. The MX-5 has won almost 250 international motoring awards in more than 20 countries including the ultimate World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year in 2016.

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Global Award Winner

18. One of the world’s largest private collections belongs to Andrea Mancini. His collection of 32 MX-5s has been turned into an attraction called Miataland in central Italy.

19. The latest generation is almost 100kg lighter than the previous generation.

20. MX-5 is now available with a telescopic steering wheel, meaning taller drivers can experience the same level of driving pleasure.

21. There are seven MX-5 car clubs across all 7 states of Australia with some clubs boasting over 1,000 members.

22. Mazda MX-5 is the world’s most raced car.

23. The Global MX-5 Cup is the world’s biggest MX-5 competition held in the USA where purpose-built MX-5 cars compete across 6 races to win $200,000 in prize money.

Racing Pedigree

Racing Pedigree

24. In the USA the Mazda MX-5 is called the MX-5 ‘Miata’. Miata means ‘reward’ in an obscure language called ‘Old High German.’

25. Some celebrity owners of MX-5’s include American talk show host Jay Leno and British comedian Steve Coogan.

26. The appeal of MX-5 is universal. The balance between male and female owners is quite even with male owners slightly in the lead.

27. The 2017 MX-5 Fan Fest, held in Melbourne, was the biggest ever gathering of MX-5s in the southern hemisphere with 477 MX-5s and over 1,500 participants.

28. The current Mazda MX-5 RF (Retractable Fastback) has a folding hard-top roof that goes from closed to open in a staggering 13 seconds.

29. The current model MX-5 GT includes specially placed Bose speakers in the headrest delivering optimum sound when the roof is down.

30. The 2019 30th Anniversary Limited Edition Mazda MX-5 is available in a one-off colour called ‘Racing Orange’.

30th Anniversary Hero

As you can see there’s a lot to love about Mazda MX-5. That’s why is the world’s favourite roadster. Mazda would love to say a huge thank you to all our Australian Mazda MX-5 owners and fans. You’re the reason for the stunning success of Mazda MX-5 and we promise to keep delighting you with some of the world’s best driving experiences for another 30 years.

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