Earlier this week, we looked at a compilation of first-drive reviews for the all-new fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Critical opinions ranged from “It’s better in every way,” to, “the car’s only competitor is the death of fun.”
Today, we thought it would be fun to look back at one of the older Miata models from decades past – a 1998 Mazda Miata NB.
This would’ve been the first model year in the second-generation of Mazda’s iconic roadster. We love the fact that the auction find here is in the classic forest green… This is the color most closely associated with the second-generation Miata, production code NB. Although the new Miata is designed as in homage to the original first-generation model, in our opinion its looks are closest to that of these second-gen models… If nothing else because the new Miata lacks the first-gen’s hallmark retractable headlights.
Mazda made a surprising number of updates for the second-generation Miata, even if the most noticeable is the change in headlights due to safety regulations. For example, the Miata NB featured superior aerodynamics with a drag coefficient of 0.36. This didn’t actually result in much of a performance increase though since the new Miata gained about 150 lbs and kept the same 1.8L turbocharged engine that Mazda added as an option to the Miata in ‘94.
However, that doesn’t mean that the mechanics weren’t without improvements…
For example, this would’ve been the first car to use Mazda’s original Variable Intake Control System. The engine was also slightly tuned up to output 140 horsepower instead of 131. The engine also featured a higher compression ratio, and several of the parts were changed out for superior alternatives. Mazda also fitted the NB Miata with new wheels, better tires and bigger brakes, including the addition of anti-lock brakes.
Even though it was relatively small, all of these mechanical upgrades DID have a real-world, on-the-road impact for this generation’s performance… The new NB raced from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 7.8 seconds, more than a half-second faster than the NA. It also has a fully unlocked top speed of 130 mph, unlike the first-gen Eunos models in Japan and Europe which were artificially capped at 112 mph.
All in all, this 1998 Mazda Miata roadster is a car brimming with history. If you’d like to learn more about it, you can get a full translation of the auction sheet below:
“Interior C, first registered January 1998, VS version, FAT, AC, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, leather, stone chips in front window, interior grime, power windows not working, canvas top torn, wheels scratches, engine oil leak, worn and dented underneath vehicle, scratches and dents and wrinkles, spare wheel missing, marks as per map”