I don’t care what my brother-in-law says, Miatas are damned good at being sports cars. I go back to the old C&D philosophy that a car’s “character” usually equates to its character flaws, and well, the Miata really has very few flaws. Especially when it is one of the limited 4000 or so 1991 British Racing Green Miatas. Never mind that the rest of the world could apparently order this color throughtout the 1st gen Miata run. Here, it was special – the color, the first Miata with tan leather interior, the tonneau cover, and the Nardi shift knob and e-brake handle. Outstanding. Problem these days, like so many cars, good, clean examples are increasingly hard to come by. That’s why I am attracted to this extremely low-mileage example
at Vintage Sales in Cincinnati, Ohio for $10,950. It’s a lot of money for an old Miata, but not so much for a practically new one!
I’ve had two Miatas – a 1994 1.8l with the dual airbags and a 1991 with just the driver’s. My in-laws still have the 1994, and I expect it will make its way back to my house one of these years – preferably once my kids are tall enough that I don’t have to worry about the passenger airbag blowing up in their faces and snapping their spines like little twigs. No, for me the only way to go is either an early 1st gen or a 1999+. Frankly, I prefer the styling of the original. It was what the Lotus Elan could have been, if not for being British. The popup headlights were a defining feature of the original, as were the Minilite knockoffs. If I’m going to go later, I’m going to start looking at Boxters and the like.
The fact that this example is so brutally clean and unused makes it truly appealing as either a collector car or a daily driver. The seller wants it to go to someone in the Miata Club – I’d just like to see it go to a car guy who will appreciate it. Someone like, umm, me. The factory hardtops are often sold-off separately from the rest of the car to fund some previous owner’s drug habit, so it’s great to see it here and in what looks like perfect condition. We note that that nose is slightly pushed-in from the license plate frame, a damned shame but probably the difference in the case of this car between $11K and $15K.
Even for fatasses like me, Miatas are surprisingly spacious. The tan leather is normally all kinds of destroyed in cars of this vintage, so it’s pretty cool to see it like this with only the slightest of wear. Miatas are also among the best backroad carvers you’ll find south of forty grand. So what if the producers of Cars made the Miatas the giggling little girls. Are you confident in your manhood? I am.
I am always a fan of cars that come with NOS stuff in boxes, and this one does not disappoint. It’s sort of like those guys who bought-up all the Star Wars figurines and go into some sort of apoplectic shock if you so much as breathe too heavily on them. Well, it’s almost like that. Its amazing how saving the box can make some goober like me think that the car has been meticulously maintained. Even more so if you have the original books and the window sticker. Then you’re my personal hero. I’m all about buying cars that come with that stuff, but I have to say that as an owner I am terrible about keeping it all together. I’m okay with the books and stickers, but service records? All over the garage. For the sake of your retail value, don’t be like me. File folders are your friend.
You could eat off this motor, as clean as it is, although you’d probably get really sick and wonder why you’d done it. Nonetheless, it looks as good as any I’ve seen, and is damn near brochure clean, excepting the better blue ignition wires – a good sign because when the wires on these cars go, they make the car very unhappy. AMHIK. It would be nice to know if the timing belt has ever been done just due to age, and would be pretty smart preventive maintenance if it hasn’t. Otherwise, you could pay upwards of $30K for a new one, or be just as happy with this one for a third the price. Your call. If I had the cash right now, I’d have already done it.