1999 Mazda Miata

The 1999 Mazda Miata MX-5 2-door convertible had a base price of just under $20,000 and was powered by a dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine delivering 140 horsepower. They had a five-speed manual gearbox or optional four-speed automatic, along with disc brakes at all four corners. Zero-to-sixty mph was accomplished in just 7.4 seconds.

1999 was a big year for the Miata as it was the first year to receive a significant modifications since its introduction a decade prior. Trunk space was greatly increased and it was given flush mounted headlights. The first generation's retractable headlamps no longer passed pedestrian safety tests, so fixed ones were substituted in their place. Styling cues were taken from the third generation Mazda RX-7 model, designed in 1995 by Tom Matano. The car grew slightly and the aerodynamics were improved, achieving a Cd figure of 0.36.

The Second Generation Miata was given a four-wheel independent suspension, with enlarged anti-roll bars, enlarged wheels and tires, and larger brakes. An anti-locking braking system was available as optional equipment.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Mazda introduced the 10th Anniversary limited edition model. The 10th Anniversary model (nicknamed the 10AM or 10AE) was given a six-speed transmission and Bilstein shock absorbers. The sixth gear helped improve the car's performance slightly, racing to 60mph 0.4 seconds faster than its five-speed counterpart. They were painted a unique sapphire blue mica with two-toned black leather and blue alcantara seats. Each car was sequentially numbered on a badge on the driver-side quarter panel. Each car was also given a 'Certificate of Authenticity', signed by Mazda President James E. Miller and dated 10 February 1999. In some markets, a special gift set was also included, a metal keychain in the form of the Mazda logo, two Seiko wristwatches with matching blue faceplate and Miata logo, and a 1/24 scale diecast model. Priced at nearly $27,000, these special edition models were about $6,500 more than a base model. This steep price and the number of units produced resulted in slow sales. 7,500 examples were built and it took more than a year to sell all units.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2015
Rumor to be designed after the Lotus Elan, the Mazda Miata is the world's best selling sports car. With over 720,000 produced between 1989 and 2005, production proves Mazda held its title consistently.

The history of the Miata is one of interest and success. Unveiled in 1989 as the 'Eunos Roadser', prior to the name change to the Miata, it was a designed collaboration between the USA and England. Created to be a basic roadster without unnecessary weight, it was an instant success with over 23,000 sold by the end of its first year. With a starting price of $13,800, the Miata, despite its small design, made a sizeable impact in the success of Mazda's future.

The shell of the Miata is all steel with an aluminum bonnet. Weighing in at over 2,380 pounds, the Miata confirmed its small roadster appeal. The trusswork is uniquely called the 'Powerplant Frame', which connects the engine to the differential, creating a more firm and responsive feel. It's quick and responsive handling is helped due to independent double wishbone suspension on all four wheels with an anti-roll bar at the front. Optional paddle shifting was available with the six speed automatic versions of the Touring, Sport, and Grand Touring models. With power to the rear wheels, drivers thirst for corners even if they're beginners.

The Miata's appearance ranks among attractive qualities. Its cozy, subtle, curved design helped to propel sales to customers of all ages to a higher level. The bright color palette offered during production accented the appearance and still turns heads today, making onlookers yearn to get behind the wheel of this convertible on owners pine for the summer months.

A 'Special Touring Option Edition' was also offered, which included stainless steel scuff plates, Twilight Blue paint, and 15 inch Enkei wheels. The 'Club Spec' version was available with 16 inch alloy wheels and four wheel disc brakes with ABS, but also offered a limited amount of color options: Winning Blue Metallic, Marble White, and True Red.

The interior, though tight, beckoned stereo enthusiasts and those who revel in the appeal and stigma of leather. Optional passenger-side airbags and standard drivers–side airbags provided safety without drastically impacting the beauty of the interior.

With the introduction of the 'M Edition' came a wood shift knob and chrome wheels with Montego Blue paint. The option of a wooden parking brake handle was available on this edition for complete look. Other editions such as the 'Touring Package' included power steering, a leather wrapped steering wheel, power mirrors, aluminum alloy wheels, and power windows. Also, the available 'Club Spec' model included CD player with speed sensitive sound, four speakers, black cloth trimmed upholstery, power windows, locks, and mirrors and black vinyl top.

Engines for the Miata were available with a 1.6L, 1.8L or 2.0L. The 1.6 L dual overhead cam inline four-cylinder engine produced 120 horsepower with 0-60 times consisting of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 119 miles per hour.

The 1.8L produced 140 horsepower with help of the raised engine compression ratio and the additions of domed pistons. The additions also helped the 0-60 time, which was marked at 7.9 seconds with a top speed of 123 miles per hour. In 2005, the 2.0L was the latest engine thrusting the Miata. The 16 valve engine produced 170 horsepower with a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, bringing the Miata to a fast finish when production ceased in the same year.

Even though all 3rd generation 2006 models all over the world now go with the name 'MX-5', the Miata will always be the true coupe that helped to accelerate the sports car appeal with today's roadsters.

Kyle McMullen
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