View Full Version : Opinions wanted: Miata

Steve P.
02-23-2005, 12:18 AM
Yeah, I'm thinking of going over to the dark side!

While I cherish the time I get to spend driving my classic
Britmobiles, I'm finally realizing that I need a car that
I can drive around town *and* take on long trips without
worrying about something going wrong, being wrecked or stolen. I'd still like to have a nimble convertable (i.e.-
something thats FUN). The Miata seems to fit the bill.
I've always thought that the Miata is the car that MG
might have made (hey, it looks a LOT like the MGF) if they
had survived.

At this point, I'm just thinking about it. I'm sure there
are plently of folks in this forum that have had similar,
scandalous thoughts, even though many of you won't admit it.
I'd be interested in hearing from folks out there that
actually own a Miata, and perhaps a comparison with any
Britmobiles they happen to have.

BTW: Right now I'm considering the older (1990-1994) cars,
mostly due to financial constraints (wifee imposed).



02-23-2005, 01:05 AM
What do you mean dark side? You already own three MGs. Seriously though, go for it man. Miata's are fun little cars and are hard to beat in the modern sports car market. Another rice grinding sports car you might consider is a Honda S2000. I haven't driven one but I have heard good things about them.

02-23-2005, 01:36 AM
Wonderful cars! I've always maintained that "the only people who don't like Miatas have never driven one."

They are great amounts of fun...the perfect British sports car! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif I used to race with a guy who owned a '99, and I drove it in anger, and it was beautifully balanced, felt so nimble, and was infinitely easy to control (right up to the point I spun going through the decreasing radius corner where the finish line was within 15 feet.)

Without a doubt, the Miata 5-speed transmission is the best tranny to shift ever. Nothing is quite like it. Like a TR3 but infinitely smoother and more precise.

Engine is fun to rev. Steering provides gobs of feedback.

What's not to like!?!

Buy one!!! Don't think, just buy!

Bob Claffie
02-23-2005, 01:43 AM
Absolutely the best choice you could make. Especially with the price of the first generation cars down in the 3/4K bracket. I have a '92 (bought new) and it is virtually bulletproof. Recently drove solo to Orlando and back, 2600 miles round trip, averaging speeds my MG can barely attain. Covered 500 miles the first day and 800 the second, each way. Best of luck, Bob

02-23-2005, 01:51 AM
I'll add my weight to the debate. Go for it! Great little cars, I am even tempted myself, but, well, I don't live in California! Living where it seems like it's winter five to six months of the year demands something with a little more ground-clearance and the ability to handle more than an inch of snow. I would encourage you to get one of those little gems, and enjoy it!

02-23-2005, 05:05 AM
Hmmm, Darth Vader encouraging someone to go over to the dark side. Who'da thunk it? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazyeyes.gif

I have to say that everything I have heard has been good on them. My Escort shares the base model engine, and it has been wonderful. No complaints at all.

02-23-2005, 09:42 AM
I have an '03 I bought new and it's my every-day transportation. I can't say enough good things about the Miata, it's fun to drive, comfortable, easy to maintain, etc. My only complaint is it isn't as big as the MGB so occasionally luggage room is an issue for long trips but my luggage rack helps with that.

Several people in our Brit-car club now have Miatas, and we're all happy with them and drive them to club events when we don't want to (or can't) drive our Triumphs, MGs, etc.

Here's a picture from our last club fun drive/picnic a couple weeks ago. I've heard no complaints yet - like you said, they're FUN.

02-23-2005, 09:47 AM
Absolutely, positively the best car I have ever owned.
I bought a new M2 in '01, but the first-gen cars are actually more "pure".
And it doesn't take a thing away from my Brit cars....it's really just a modern extension of the same thing.

02-23-2005, 10:46 AM
I'll add my 2 cents. We bought ours new in 01 and we love it. My only minor complaint is it doesn't have as sweet an exhaust note as a litte British car, but on a long trip that's probably a good thing.

Basil /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif

02-23-2005, 11:45 AM
I've never owned or driven one but I've heard nothing but good things about them from friends and fellow car freaks. Friend of mine's mom has one and she dearly loves it. I'm more partial to the later fixed headlight cars than the ones with the pop-ups. I think the earlier cars looked a little to round and capsule like. The later cars seem to have a little more sculpting and character to the body lines, especially with the little tail lip integrated right in with the trunk lid. I've heard that the Mazdaspeed turbo edition was a hoot to drive but a very limited number of cars were produced, which is a shame. Thats pretty much the only thing that I've ever heard people complain about, that the car could use just a bit more power.

How could you go wrong, British style and spirit, Japanese reliability and build quality.

02-23-2005, 01:39 PM
Steve, lots of my buddies of mine from the British car clubs drive Miatas, so they must be good cars. The new, turbocharged one answers many of the "lack of power" problems. It's pricey, though.

You didn't ask, buy have you considered the new MINI? I purchased an '05 MINI "S" model, it has 168 HP at the wheels (BHP) and is the best handling car I've ever owned. The lateral g forces are exceptional, and it will turn low 15 second times at over 95 mph in the quarter mile! Tons of mods are available in the aftermarket, and from "John Cooper Works" for additional power, but I like it just the way it is.

After 2800 miles, I'm averaging 30.5 mpg, mostly highway driving. Not bad for a performance car. Also, it has the greatest resale value of any car in it's class. All this for less than $25,000.

I hate to mention it, but my MCS will run circles around a Miata, curves or strait roads.

Just my 2c worth. Good luck with your choice!

02-23-2005, 03:57 PM
Take it from me, an Ancient Briton, that there's nothing wrong with Miatas. I have a 2000 that I bought new, and it's great. 100% reliable, handles very nicely, reasonably economical, and allows me to kid myself I'm 40 years younger without demanding too much of me!
It's exactly what you might expect if you took the attractive features of 60s and 70s British and European Sports cars, and added 20 years of development and a totally different dimension of build quality.

02-23-2005, 04:24 PM
we own a 94' R package car lowered 2" , cat back borla and cold air box.

150,000 miles (very very hard ones!) and it only just starting to smoke when near redline.

bulletproof, 1 timing belt since new, couple water hoses at 120,000. Shifted at redline every shift , nothing ever breaks.... EVER

buy a 94 or up if possible for slightly more power and TRY to find a r package if possible for limited slip on the older cars. I'm sure there is some mix and match you can do from junkyards as well

02-23-2005, 04:56 PM
I heartily second all the positive Miata opinions. I'm a long term LBC nut (bought my first Austin A40 in 1970), but I'm now a Miata owner. Absolutely bulletproof, with all of the feel and responsiveness of a traditional roadster. The aesthetic considerations are up to you. If you feel they lack power, first try finding the rev limiter. You do need to wind them out to get the best performance from them (that's a big part of the fun) and they'll zing off the rev limiter for 200,000 miles without complaint.

Check out www.miata.net (https://www.miata.net) for excellent forums, tech advice and buying advice and www.flyinmiata.com (https://www.flyinmiata.com) for seductive ways to spend your money.

A bulletproof roadster you can painlessly use as a daily drive - what's not to like.

02-23-2005, 09:03 PM
You weren't hoping that we would try to talk you out of one were you? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/devilgrin.gif

02-24-2005, 03:25 AM
My father owned an '89 Miata and drove it hard. Just sold it a few months ago for a new MazdaSpeed Turbo model. The old one was extremely reliable and a blast to drive. The Turbo is less LBC-like, very light-feeling, but it has the power the old models lacked.

Steve P.
02-24-2005, 01:57 PM
WOW!!!! What an amazing response. Thanks for all of the comments. Don't think i've ever heard so many folks say so many nice things about any car.

I'm more determined than ever to get one. Still planning on
getting an early one (1990-1994). I do realize that the
later cars had the larger engine, and even a 6-speed trans,
but for me thats not as important. Of all of the cars I've
ever owned, by far the most FUN cars to drive are
Spridgets. These are small, generally underpowered little
rollerskates. Driving them well takes some skill. I'm
hoping the Miata will be as much fun.

Steve /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif
p.s.-yes, I'd like to have a Mini, or even a BMW Z3 or Z4,
but these are still a bit pricey to be considered a toymobile

03-01-2005, 01:51 PM
I'd love to consider a MINI, but being able to take the top down is the best way to finish off any day at work. I know that there is a MINI convertible, but I'm guessing that it will be priced to high for me at this point.

If I have to part with my Jeep, then a Miata is a good swap! I'll keep the old Corolla as a snow car.

03-02-2005, 12:25 PM
I kinda stayed away from them initially 'cause I thought they sorta stole the MGB look and were so plentiful. I finally bought a '91 and had it for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. Took several "day trips" and overnighters with it. My neighbor has a '90 with about 215K miles on it. If I had space for my old toys and the daily drivers AND the Miata, I'd still have mine for the reasons you describe.

04-13-2005, 01:13 AM
Well, I've owned my '91 miata almost three years now. Sold a nice '78 spit to pay it off. I wanted a car with as few accessories as possible other than the the factory power steering(because of its ultra quick ratio rack compared to the non powered rack), factory alloy wheels(because of their insane lightness... 12lbs!), and a cassette player.
The original 1600cc engine is a blast to wind out, plenty fast enough for me compared to all my previous sportscars, has the best sounding exhaust that a modern sportscar can have, passes the emissions tests here without trouble and we can bomb through the mountains to the parents' place without worry, at modern highway speeds. At just under 2200 lbs, it's light, feels super nimble and gets pretty darn good gas mileage when driven sanely. And no rust!!
Now, do I miss the spit? Yup, especially when driving to the annual all british car meet here or the vintage races. Do I miss the attention the car got me? Sure. I also miss seeing and hearing the twin SU carbs.
But I don't miss me stinking of exhaust after a drive, the howling rearend, the emission test fails and missing half of the summer with repairs.
Now that the miata is mine and I can start saving for another LBC that's old enough to put collector plates on(hence very cheap insurance!) I will own another that I can take for occasional drives, shows, and not be mad when it doesn't run.
The miata is a great real world, "need a reliable car" sportscar.
Good luck with the decision, and search!

04-15-2005, 01:40 PM
I've owned two, highly recommend the 1993 model... last year for the 1.6 engine. If you have the opportunity, look for an LE model... mine was the '93 black/red leather with the chrome speaker surrounds in the door. The '97 I had didn't seem to have the get up and go, I think that the weight and added emissions equip of the larger engine killed a few horses. The more miles the 1.6 racks up, the peppier it gets. Hope your search goes well and you find the right car. Regards,


04-21-2005, 02:33 PM
Honestly, I would go more for Honda S2000. Im not saying that the Miata isn`t good, but the asian one has that extra ``Woa!`` feeling. However, the S2000 isn`t really a car, its more of a go-cart....in the sense that compare to the Miata, you can barely fit anything in the trunk! (besides food!). Bottom line, Miata suits well the car you are looking for. The only thing you have to do, is to choose a nice color for it!