Posts Tagged ‘roadster’

Japanese Car Auction Find – 1998 Mazda Miata (NB)

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, June 4th, 2015

1998 Mazda Miata

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.

1998 Mazda Miata rear

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.

1998 Mazda Miata interior

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:

1998 Mazda Miata auction sheet

“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”


The 2016 Mazda Miata is Finally Here

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

driving matters

Today’s the day. The fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is finally here. Across the web, a flood of “first drive reviews” have been published within the last 24 hours. And, Mazda’s given us an intriguing promotional video to kick off the roadster’s career…

Lots of automakers claim that their sports car offers drivers a 50/50 weight distribution between the front and back, but few of them actually go to the trouble to prove it. How do you prove a 50/50 weight distribution, you ask? Easy – you put it on a perfectly balanced fulcrum scale to see if it stays level. And that’s exactly what Mazda did:

Wow – not only is the new Miata perfectly balanced, it’s also the lightest-weight version of the car we’ve had since the original 1990 version with a curb weight of just 2,332 lbs.

Okay, so the 2016 Mazda MX-5 is a piece of sheer engineering genius. Got that. The question is, does that mechanical prowess translate into on-road performance? Does the new generation of the most iconic sports car of the past quarter-century live up to the hype?

Short answer, yes.

Here are a few of the “first drive” reviews across the web:

Jalopnik says that “even though it has 12 fewer horsepower than the last [Miata], it’s faster. And more nimble. And more comfortable. And better. Better in every conceivable way. This is easily the best performance car you can buy for less than $30,000.”

High praises, but that’s just the beginning.

2016 Mazda MX-5 manufactured

For their part, Car and Driver were most impressed with the car’s similarity to the 1990 version of the Miata… Not just in size and weight, but in the euphoric driving experience the car offers. Throughout their review, they echo the sentiment of Jalopnik… Everything is better, from the cockpit to the engine to the design to the drive.

Yahoo Autos was the first to identify a ‘con’ in the 2016 Miata. Yep, they rightly pointed out that the car makes “all the sacrifices necessary to make it a pure driver’s machine.” But then again, Yahoo’s biggest pro for the car is that it’s “a pure driver’s machine, at a blue-collar price,” so this ‘con’ is tongue-in-cheek at best. Our favorite part of Yahoo’s review is where they list the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ and “the death of fun” as the car’s biggest competitors.

Are you starting to get the picture? According to all major sources, the 2016 Mazda Miata absolutely lives up to the hype… And then some.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2010 Fiat 500

2010 Fiat 500

Although the Fiat 500 isn’t technically a roadster in the same way that the Miata is, it’s still one of the sports car’s biggest competitors currently on the road.

2010 Fiat 500 rear

It isn’t so much that the cars are in the same segment, but that they attract the same niche of drivers… Drivers who want something fun and emotional to drive, unique to look at, and budget-friendly.

2010 Fiat 500 interior

This is a 2010 model year, which would make it the third model year after the car’s 2007 revival. It’s actually in superb condition for being five years-old with an auction rating of 4.5, a total of four minor blemishes on the exterior, and an A-grade interior to boot. You can get more details from the auction sheet translation below:

2010 Fiat 500 auction sheet

“Interior A, first registered February 2010, 1.4 16V Lounge model, AT, AAC, original AWs, power steering, power windows, leather, airbag, one owner, service book, HDD navigation system with digital TV and DVD playback, reversing camera, AM 16 inch AWs, half-leather seats, electrical opening, chrome mirror covers, 2 x keyless keys, spare key, first time in auction, some service history (5 pages), official dealer RHD import, interior trim has minor scratches, wheels scratched, marks as per map”


Japanese Car Auction Find – 1992 Suzuki Cappuccino

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Earlier this week, we got really excited about the new Honda S660 Kei car that’s making its debut in Japan even as we speak. The Kei sports car is a rare thing with barely a handful on the market today. That spurt of reminiscing got us thinking about some of our old favorites from years past. Behold today’s Japanese car auction find – a 1992 Suzuki Cappuccino:

1992 Suzuki Cappuccino

This classic Japanese roadster is an extremely agile piece of machinery, weighing in at barely 725 kg, or 1,598 pounds. There were only about 28,000 Suzuki Cappuccinos ever produced during its single-generation existence from 1991 to 1997, and there are only two of those models currently up for auction in Japan (at the time of this writing). This one is from 1992, so only the second year of production.

Since the Suzuki Cappuccino was made to fit Japan’s strict key car regulations, the powertrain is very small – a three-cylinder 660cc engine that outputs 63 horsepower. Doesn’t sound very much, does it? But, because of the roadster’s extremely light curb weight, it can still pull off a 0 to 60 mph time of just 8 seconds.

1992 Suzuki Cappuccino rear

The Suzuki Cappuccino has earned cult status for a couple key features that distinguish it from many other roadsters of the time.

First, it has an extremely impressive rev range. Peak power output doesn’t come until 6,400 rpm, and the car redlines at 8,500 rpm. Suzuki did an extremely impressive job of delivering sports car performance in such a small, low-power roadster. It has powerful brakes and a perfect 50:50 weight distribution when both seats are occupied. It’s known to have extremely responsive steering and that 660cc engine is paired to a smooth-as-butter five-speed transmission.

1992 Suzuki Cappuccino interior

The other really cool feature in the Suzuki cappuccino is its customizable three-part roof. It doesn’t have the fancy automatic retraction of today’s convertibles, but it makes up for it by offering four modes of configuration. You can have a hardtop coupe with all panels in place, a T-top by removing the two side panels, a targa top by removing the middle bar, or a full open-top cabriolet by removing the roll bar and rear window.

This 1992 Suzuki cappuccino is particularly well-kept. Only a few minor dings mar the car’s exterior, and the odometer has a mere 13,020 km on it. If you’d like to learn more, keep reading below for a full translation of the auction sheet:

1992 Suzuki Cappuccino auction sheet

“Grade 4, interior B, first registered 1992 (month not stated), 5-speed manual gearbox, power windows, one owner, 13020KM, black seats, AM steering wheel, original 14 inch alloy wheels, service book, fuel pump replaced, possibly has artifical leather seats, steering wheel worn, seats worn, paint marks and rust underneath vehicle, scratches and dents, front windscreen stone scratches, marks as per map”


Honda S660 Concept Edition Commemorates JDM Launch

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

2015 Honda S660

Honda has been on a sporty spree throughout 2015. Following in the footsteps of the new NSX and the Honda Civic Type R, their latest addition to the lineup is the Honda S660 roadster. After a full two years of buildup, Honda is finally ready to release the production version of their new two-seat roadster in Japan. To commemorate the car’s release, they’ve revealed a limited edition Honda S660 Concept Edition, pictured below:

2015 Honda S660 Concept Edition

2015 Honda S660 Concept Edition

The S660 officially launches later this week on April 2. As the name implies, this is a 660cc mid-engine roadster, and one of the smallest roadsters currently in production by any automaker anywhere. The turbocharged 660cc engine has three cylinders and outputs a meager-sounding 63 horsepower and 104 Nm of torque.

Meanwhile, power is sent to the rear wheels only with a six-speed manual transmission (the first-ever kei car to offer such a transmission) or a seven-speed CVT. If you opt for the automatic, you’ll get paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel with available Sports Mode driving – definitely a worthy upgrade.

2015 Honda S660 interior

Although the numbers sound low, remember that this is technically classified as a kei car in Japan. That means that there are legal limitations to the power the vehicle can output in order to offer its drivers the financial benefits that come with driving such an efficient car. And, ever since the S660 Prototype made its debut all the way back in 2013, Honda has put special care into achieving a low center of gravity and perfect 45:55 weight distribution for “excellent cornering”.

The other new feature that Honda has incorporated into the S660 is their Agile Handling Assist electronic control system. Basically, this system monitors the movement of the roadster’s body throughout turns and alters brake torque in accordance with optimized performance.

S660 Concept Edition plaque

Fittingly, Honda plans to sell 660 units of the Honda S660 Concept Edition roadster. The special edition models get a Premium Star White Pearl paint job, contrasting leather-wrapped seats with red stitching, and of course the obvious Bordeaux red top instead of the normal black one. The Concept Edition is meant to showcase how little the Honda S660 has changed since the original concept back in 2013. Apparently they’ve been very deliberate about keeping the concept’s same look and feel intact for the production roadster.

Unfortunately, the Honda S660 is currently earmarked for Japan-only production. However, rumor has it that Honda will manufacture a more powerful international model with either a 1.0L or 2.0L turbocharged engine, fittingly named the Honda S1000 or S2000. Who knows, maybe we will see a preview for the model in New York? We’re not counting on it, but it would sure be a nice surprise.


Fiat 124 Spider Will Be the Italian Mazda MX-5

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

2016 Mazda MX-5

We’ve known for a while now that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Mazda were working on a partnership around Mazda’s new MX-5 Miata roadster, which made its European debut last week in Geneva.

Thanks to a report from AutoExpress, we’ve just learned that Fiat’s version of the new roadster will be sold as the Fiat 124 Spider.

This fits perfectly in line with earlier rumors from late last year that Fiat had trademarked the 124 nameplate. At the time, the trademark application was confusing because Fiat actually already sold a 124 Spider from 1966 to 1980… We had no idea whether the trademark was meant to protect their old model’s name or introduce a newcomer. Turns out, it’s a little of both.

Old Fiat 124 Spider

The old Fiat 124 Spider was a four-seat convertible. With this news, we know that the new one will be a two-seat roadster sharing the same engine and platform as the Mazda MX-5. However, while the underpinnings will remain the same, Fiat plans to launch their sister car with a more retro styling than allowed by Mazda’s Kodo design language. Their car, execs say, will more closely emulate the early Fiat 124 of the 60’s – a traditional European roadster.

Click here to see Fiat’s first official projections for what the new 124 Spider might look like.

We also learned specific details of the partnership between Mazda and Fiat at Geneva. Both cars will be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant. However, Mazda will get to take center stage with their new MX-5 for a full 12 months throughout 2015 and into 2016. Then, Fiat will launch their new Miata-based 124 Spider in 2016 once Mazda’s had plenty of time to make rounds through all the major auto events.

2016 Mazda MX-5 side view

In addition, we learned Fiat may offer an Abarth version of the new 124 Spider with an extra hot powertrain… Up to 200 hp hotter, in fact. However, we expect that Fiat will do their due diligence to determine demand for an up-tuned instead of launching it blindly alongside the 124 Spider.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 1997 Fiat Barchetta

1997 Fiat Barchetta

Unfortunately, there were no old Fiat 124s up for auction in Japan at the time of this writing. However, we did manage to dig up this ’97 Fiat Barchetta in our Integrity Exports Japanese car auction database. “Barchetta” means “little boat” in Italian, so you can see where this spunky little soft top gets its design.

1997 Fiat Barchetta rear

Under the hood you’ll find a 1.8L DOHC petrol engine that outputs 130 hp and 121 lb-ft of torque. Interestingly, this was the first Fiat production model to make use of variable camshaft timing to optimize engine performance. It’s got a top speed of 124 mph and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just a hair under 9 seconds (8.9 to be exact).

To learn more about this 1997 Fiat Barchetta, keep reading below the auction sheet:

1997 Fiat Barchetta auction sheet

“Interior C, exterior C, first registered June 1997, Barchetta model, five-speed manual gearbox, AC, official dealer left-hand drive import, grey and black interior, spare key, ABS, airbag, power steering, power windows, engine oil leak, glue on dashboard, light line scratches on exterior paintwork, seats have minor stains and medium wear and also fraying, shift knob is worn, ceiling lining grime, minor interior grime, steering wheel worn, touch paint marks, scratches underneath bumpers, aftermarket alloy wheels, fuel Paintwork is faded, front windshield has stone scratches, other marks as per map”


Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept Drops Jaws in Chicago

Posted by Stephen On Friday, February 13th, 2015

Today doors opened at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. There’s lots to see from just about every Japanese automaker, but the first car to catch our eye is the Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept, seen below:

Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept

Nissan says that this 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept is a one-off concept study to gauge interest in a NISMO roadster. But we’re calling their bluff – this car looks way too close to production to be a “study”. This is just a coy marketing tactic from Nissan to get everyone psyched up for their new car.

Either way, the 370Z NISMO Roadster is so good looking that we don’t mind the ploy… Whatever it takes to get this thing on the road. As you can see, this is pretty much a topless 370Z NISMO coupe. It’s got that classic NISMO front fascia with blood red front spoilers and an aggressively styled grille. We love the LED running lights and red accented side sills too. And you can’t help but admire those sleek lightweight 19-inch alloys.

Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept rear

From the back, Nissan’s added a sizeable carbon fiber spoiler to keep those super lightweight alloys on the road. The rear bumper boasts slim side vents and more of the red NISMO accent above each of the chrome exhausts.

Under the hood, Nissan’s sport-tuning firm has installed the same 3.7L V6 engine that’s in the normal 370Z roadster. However, they’ve upped the output to a full 350 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque. They’ve also paired it with their 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which they say is the most popular option in the normal 370Z roadster. In fact, Nissan says that so many of their roadster drivers prefer the automatic that it wouldn’t make sense to offer a manual transmission, but we’ll have to wait and see what’s in the production model.

Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept profile

Either way, you’ll find a couple other goodies under the hood, including a NISMO-brand tower strut, performance-tuned springs and stabilizers in the suspension, and extra-large sport brakes to help handle the car’s massive acceleration. A limited-slip differential also helps improve on-road performance.

Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept interior

Finally, moving inside the 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept you’ll find a couple of black Recaro leather bucket seats with red accent stitching and white Ultrasuede inserts. The driver gets a three-spoke Alcantara and leather-wrapped steering wheel complete with wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and both driver and passenger will enjoy the luxurious infotainment system with a vivid 7-inch touchscreen.

In the end, Nissan, we’re happy to play your little game. We’re saying it loud and proud – give us a Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster! We want it, and so does everyone else!


Official 2016 Mazda MX-5 Specs Released

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

four generations of Miata

Mazda has finally released official details for their fourth-generation MX-5 Miata roadster, due out as a 2016 model at the end of this year. We already knew that it would feature a whole host of improvements, including a stiffer, lighter-weight chassis and a new sporty design. With today’s press release, we now have official powertrain specs and full details.

2016 MX-5 Miata top down

So, what can we expect under the hood of the 2016 Mazda MX-5?

The American-spec model will get a SKYACTIV-G 2.0L direct-injection engine that outputs 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. That compact engine will be paired with a SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission and an advanced suspension – double wishbone in the front and multilink in the back.

2016 MX-5 Chassis

The outgoing Miata offers 167 hp and 140 lb-ft, so the new model will get fewer horsies but more torque. However, with a curb weight that’s over 100 kg less than the third-gen model, we expect that the 2016MY will feel faster and more responsive than ever, even if it’s technically less powerful.

2016 Mazda MX-5 roadster rear

To maximize the power of their new SKYACTIV-G engine, Mazda made a number of tuning improvements to the next-generation Miata.

First, the powertrain is mounted closer to the middle of the vehicle for a perfect 50:50 front-rear weight distribution. Second, Mazda has integrated a ton of aluminum into the vehicle’s body – the hood, the front fender, the bumper reinforcements and the trunk lid are all made from the lightweight alloy. The softtop of the convertible has also been reengineered for reduced weight, which enables an overall lower center of gravity in the 2016 model.

2016 Mazda MX-5 interior

This meticulous tuning continues inside the car too… Mazda tells us that the pedals, meters, controls and other equipment have all been positioned for ideal ergonomic driving. Visibility is better than ever with extra-thin A-pillars and a higher windshield header. With ventilated discs in the front and solid discs in the back, even the brakes feel more controllable and reassuring than the outgoing model.

To learn more, you can read Mazda’s full product release for the 2016 MX-5 Miata here

Japanese Car Auction Find – Audi TT 1.8TFSI

2012 Audi TT

Since we’ve already shown you a couple Mazda roadsters up for auction in Japan, today we’re showcasing one of the MX-5’s chief competitors – the Audi TT. What you see here is a pristine white 2012 Audi TT 1.8 TFSI.

2012 Audi TT rear view

This is the baseline model in the Audi TT’s lineup, but it has received high accolades from a number of different editorial reviewers like the folks at AutoExpress. It’s regarded as a fun and efficient sports car that offers a surprisingly sporty drive for its economical placement in the segment. You get a 0 to 60 time of just over 7 seconds paired with a fuel economy of 44.1 mpg.

2012 Audi TT interior

To learn more about this specific Japanese car auction find, keep reading the translation below the auction sheet:

2012 Audi TT auction sheet

“Interior A, exterior condition A, first registered September 2012, 1.8 TFSI model, 2WD, FAT, AC, original RS Coupe front bumper and side steps and rear spoiler, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, original AWs, original navigation system, minor interior grime, minor scratches, official dealer RHD model, marks as per map”


2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster Unveiled Today

Posted by Stephen On Friday, September 5th, 2014

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata front

The day we’ve been looking forward to for nearly a year now has finally arrived. Mazda officially revealed the all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata, the fourth generation of their iconic Japanese roadster. Even though the car won’t go on sale until next year, Mazda has given us plenty of mouth-watering technical details to pique our interest. More importantly, they’ve given us pictures. Behold the next-generation Mazda Miata:

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata rear

You can see that the Japanese automaker has refined their signature Kodo design language for their iconic sports car, giving it “the presence of a living creature and a strong sense of vitality.” It definitely looks straighter and cleaner than what you might’ve expected given the curvaceous Mazda3 and Mazda6, but in a good way. Mazda had already told us to expect the new Miata to harken back to the roadster’s roots by reversing the ‘bigger equals better’ trend of recent generations. We have to say, they really pulled it off; the car looks simple, fast and fun.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster side

The specs tell us that the new Mazda MX-5 is 105mm shorter than the outgoing roadster, but it doesn’t look stubby or fat. That’s because the majority of the length was taken from the front and rear overhangs; the wheelbase is only 15mm shorter than the old model. Mazda said that they were trying to move away from the classic British roadster by making the Miata compact and low-riding with a sharp, minimalist design. In fact, the new MX-5 has the lowest center of gravity of any model in the car’s 25-year history.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata interior

To truly appreciate the engineering ingenuity that went into the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, you really have to get behind the wheel and feel the car’s agility for yourself. Just imagine – the new model is claimed to be 200lbs lighter than the outgoing model with a perfect 50:50 weight distribution. The weight reduction is largely thanks to the heavy dose of aluminum you’ll find in the all-new SkyActiv-Chassis.

Unfortunately, Mazda didn’t tell us too much about the engine. All we know is that the roadster will run on a “specially tuned SKYACTIV-G petrol engine and the first rear-wheel drive version of the SKYACTIV-Chassis.” If you do a bit of poking around, you’ll find that most rumors suggest the new MX-5 will run on a 2.0L direct-injection four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission. A turbocharger is a possibility too.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Cutaway

Clearly there’s still a lot we don’t know about the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. For example, we don’t know pricing, trims, technology options or verified powertrain specs, and we don’t even have a definite arrival date. All we know is that it’ll be a 2016 model – which means it’ll go on sale in 2015 – and that we’ll definitely be hearing more about the next-gen roadster at a major auto show sometime before then, possibly in just a couple months.


25th Anniversary Mazda MX-5 Miata Sold Out in 10 Minutes

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

2015 Mazda Miata Anniversary Edition Front

Mazda opened preorders for their 25th Anniversary Mazda MX-5 Miata just a few days ago on May 20 at 1:25PM. By 1:35 PM, all 100 special edition models of the iconic roadster had been accounted for; the 25th Anniversary model was available for a full 10 minutes. It turns out we’re not the only die-hard Mazda fans left in the US.

Apparently there were actually 250 people who registered at the special edition MX-5’s pre-order site in those first 10 minutes, but only 100 will be lucky enough to complete the payment verification process. However, each recipient will still have to wait several months to pick up their 25th Anniversary Edition Miata, as they won’t arrive until the rest of the 2015MY MX-5’s hit dealerships later this year.

Now that you know just how fast Mazda’s special edition roadsters flew off the shelf, you’re probably curious about what you missed…

2015 Mazda Miata Anniversary Edition

The 25th Anniversary Edition MX-5, as you can see, gets a very vibrant Soul Red Metallic paint job with Brilliant Black trim. This color scheme is accented by the black Power-Retractable Hardtop and the Dark Gunmetal 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. A similar color scheme continues in the interior (below) with Almond leather seats, black stitching, red accents and satin chrome finish across the dash, along with beautiful 25th Anniversary badging on the headrests and scuff plates.

2015 Mazda Miata Anniversary Edition Interior

The goodies don’t stop there, either… To help each of the 100 lucky drivers live up to the beauty of the limited edition MX-5 Miata, each vehicle will come with a custom Tourneau automatic watch. We’re talking the full Swiss treatment here – Italian-made black leather straps, Mazda’s custom Soul Red stitching and deployment buckle, sapphire crystal face and case back, and of course a Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 movement. You’ll even get a Mazda-badged display winder box to keep the watch wound when you’re not wearing it.

The premium trend continues beneath the hood of the 25th anniversary edition Miata, where those lucky 100 customers will find only the best of the best. Each and every model has been tailor-made with the hand-selected engine parts by Mazda’s best engineers. Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations, elaborates by saying, “It’s no secret the MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition is a specially-crafted ‘Thank you’ to every MX-5 fan – former, current and hopefully future… Since day one, this vehicle has been a true driver’s car and we hope to continue to build upon its dynamic legacy for generations to come.”

So, even if you missed out on this amazing 25th anniversary edition of Mazda’s beloved roadster, stick around for another 25 years and you’ll probably get a chance at their 50th anniversary edition. This is a car that Mazda intends to keep in their lineup for a long, long time.


Original Red 1991 Honda Beat At Auction in Japan

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 9th, 2014

Yesterday we learned that the Honda S660 Concept from last year’s Tokyo Motor Show is officially slated for production. As you may remember, the S660 is based on the Honda Beat, a subcompact two-door roadster that enjoyed a five-year production run from 1991 to 1996. It’s held with special regard among Honda enthusiasts because it was the final car approved by Honda’s original founder, Soichiro Honda, before his death in 1991.

As it turns out, there are 13 different Honda Beats up for auction in Japan at the time of this writing. One in particular stood out as a share worthy find – it’s an original 1991 model with a classic red paint job in good condition. You can find the auction sheet at the bottom of this post, but first let’s take a look at the retro roadster’s front and back:

1991 Honda Beat Front
1991 Honda Beat Rear

If you do a bit of research, you’ll find that the original Honda Beat is often referred to as the Pininfarina-Honda Beat. This is because its design was sourced from an Italian design firm called, you guessed it, Pininfarina. To put the name in context, Pininfarina was founded in 1930 and has served prestigious automakers like Ferrari, Fiat, Peugeot and Alfa Romeo for generations. This is probably one of the big reasons why the Honda Beat saw such success in its first year sales.

To give you an idea of what lies beneath that shiny red hood, the Honda beat runs on a three-cylinder 656 cc engine modified with a Multi-Throttle Responsive Engine Control system, distinguished by its use of individual throttle bodies for each cylinder. The MTREC system served as a substitute for the turbochargers and superchargers which were popular at the time, allowing the Beat to achieve 63bhp and a top speed of 84mph. The car was only ever available with a five-speed manual transmission, so this isn’t the car for you if you’re an automatic-only driver.

Now, you’re probably wondering what you can expect from this kei sports car’s interior. Take a look at the interior image included with the auction below:

1991 Honda Beat Interior

As you can see, the interior definitely reveals the era from which this car comes. You can’t expect anything less than zebra print from the 90s, but it’s not over the top in any way. Since it’s a two-seat roadster there’s plenty of legroom for the passenger, along with all the tech goodies of yesteryear, including Air Conditioning, a coin holder and a cigarette dispenser.

As you’ll see if you continue reading through our translation of the auction sheet, this particular Honda Beat has been registered as a Grade 4. This means that it’s in good condition for its make and model year. We’ll go into more detail below the official auction sheet:

1991 Honda Beat Auction Sheet

Translation of the Auction Sheet

Interior C, first registered in 1991, 5-speed manual, power windows, one owner, first time in auction, 9622KM, AC doees not work, drivers seat has minor, rear screen is cloudy, door mirrs and rear spoiler paint is faded, scratches and dents, front windscreen stone scratches, exterior paintwork faded under front bumper at left front corner, exterior paintwork faded under rear bumper, marks as per map