Dave's 1994 Mazda Miata M-Edition at Wiregrass Autocross
As I mentioned in the "Welcome" blog post, I own a 1994 Miata M-Edition. Or as it is known at Gem Mazda, the Medition (meh-dih-shun). While I'd like to think that I could do an entire post on just my car, it would probably be better to include information on more than just my Miata. So, we will touch on some history of the Miata and the First Generation (NA's), as well as digging in further on the M Editions.
A Brief and Incomplete History*
The Mazda Miata (or MX5, depending on where it was being sold), made it's way to dealerships in the U.S. in May of 1989, though it was a 1990 Model year. Based on the British and Italian Roadsters that had all but disappeared, it won over the hearts of the driving public quickly. So quickly in fact, that demand outstripped production initially.
Roadsters, like the MG B, the Lotus Elan, and the Alfa Romeo Spider, while beloved had fallen by the way. And let's be honest, while they were nice to look at, and fun to drive, they were missing one very critical ingredient...reliability. When asked by Mazda what type of project the company should be working on, a team of California designers suggested a roadster. We take the Miata as a foregone conclusion now, but back then, Bob Hall had quite the time convincing the Mazda executives to take a chance on the car. So, he did what everyone who has tried to explain the appeal of this automobile to someone has done...he got them to drive it. Even then, they told them to make it inexpensive.
What they came up with was a car that took it's cues mostly from the Lotus Elan. They made sure a few key components made up this gamble. Rear wheel drive. Convertible. Lightweight 50/50 ratio. And for the last 23 years they've kept to those components, making the MX5 Miata, the Best-Selling Sports Car in history, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. I guess Bob and crew knew what they were doing.
First Generation 1990-1997 (NA)
The First Generation of the Miata, also known as NA's (because they all have NA in the Vehicle Identification Number), were a game changer. They had classic styling, pop-up headlights, and were fun to drive. Most importantly, they were an affordable, convertible, sports car, when there was a distinct lack of such in the market.
From 1990 to 1993 Mazda used an 1.6L 4-cylinder engine to power the small roadster. By small, I mean it only weighed 2,150 lbs. With the addition of some safety features in the 1994 model year the weight of the vehicle went up, but so did the power. Starting in 1994 Mazda put in the 1.8L 4-cylinder that would stay in the vehicle for the next 12 years. 1994 was the first year to have dual airbags, and a limited slip differential. It was the year that introduced the "R" package (Bilstein shocks, no power steering). 1994 was also the last year that Mazda included an actual Oil Pressure gauge with numbers rather than just Low/High. It was also the first of the M Editions.
There were minor changes through 1998, but the body style was the same.
The M Editions**
From 1994 through 1997, Mazda produced limited quantities of Miata's known as M Editions. Each was a special color, only available that year in the M Edition. They had special badging, and other special features (such as Nardi Shift knobs, and wooden E-brake handles).
1994 - Montego Blue (3,000 production run)
1995 - Merlot Mica (3,500 production run)
1996 - Starlight Blue Mica (2,968 production run)
1997 - Marina Green Mica (3,002 production run)
Mine is not perfect. There is plenty for me to do to it as I can. The seats need to be fixed. I've installed an aftermarket stereo (though to be fair there was a not-as-nice aftermarket stereo already in it when I bought it). It has a few scratches, though I have touch up paint, and a few hail-like dents in the hood that need to be PDR'd. BUT...it is attention getting. The Montego Blue stands out among other Miatas, as does the M Edition script badging, and the wooden Nardi shift knob. Most importantly, it does what every MX5 Miata does...puts a smile on your face when you drive it!
With the Top Down and Loving it,
Love live the King of Sports Cars
For additional information:
* Wikipedia - Miata
** M-Edition Field Guide