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Mazda MX-5: A first step 25

Mazda chose the Auto Show in New York to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the MX-5, this legendary roadster dominates the market for a long time still small exclusive sports. If you're wondering why we invite people to the festival in America and not in Europe or Japan is that the MX-5 is a product imagine our continent, which is also its most important market.

Of course, we had together over a dozen previous models representing the three previous generations. Of this group, a couple of race cars and even a "cut" Miata is found.

We take this opportunity to unveil a commemorative model whose production will be limited to 200 copies: 100 in the United States and 100 in Canada. This time, Mazda Canada is not treated as a poor relation. This special edition is a version with retractable hardtop red mica. We find all the accessories to own this category of vehicle, either leather seats with exclusive design, a dashboard paint, unique wheels, identification plates, aluminum pedals, short, the list goes on. But the most important element is the use of engine components perfectly balanced to optimize performance. It goes without saying that special shock absorbers and sports 17-inch Bridgestone tires are the party!

This particular model sells for $ 40,925 for the manual box version and $ 42,125 for the automatic.

Ten years of waiting

If the MX-5 celebrates 25 years on the market, its gestation was longer. It all starts with a simple conversation held in 1979 between Kenichi Yamamoto, director of development for Mazda, and Bob Hall, American automotive journalist. At the end of the interview, Hall spoke of the eventuality to build a "sports car slight." Hall, who all his life had led British brand cars (MG, Triumph and Lotus) and deplored the poor quality, decided to sleep his idea on paper. His first sketch aroused the enthusiasm of several engineers from Mazda. However, there remained many skeptics to convince; Yamamoto and Hall had therefore to find allies.

And it was only when Yamamoto was promoted to president of Mazda Motor Corporation the project beneficia truly all the necessary support. In 1984, a concept imagine in California by Mark Jordan and Tsutomu "Tom" Matano emerged victorious from a combination of internal design, over two other contenders. Additionally configuration type motor in the front / rear wheel drive, it showed the characteristics that remain on the current MX-5.

Curiously, he was never planning to use yet so dear a Mazda rotary engine. Group management decreta indeed for be both small, mild and reasonable cost, the sporty Mazda must imperatively use parts of existing models produced in large series. The engineers of the brand found the engine of their dreams under the hood of the Mazda 323, a 4-cylinder 1.6 liter. They also opted for the manual transmission has five reports of the Mazda RX-7 for transferring the 115 horsepower of the engine to the rear wheels, and made BENEFIT chassis of an independent suspension on all four wheels, the last being provided with disc brakes. In May 1987, a prototype was unveiled pre-production for the very first time has a selection of automotive specialists who were literally enthusiasm. In April 1988, there were 12 prototypes of the MX-5 / Miata, and American journalists who had the privilege to try them in July this year even strongly prompted Mazda to produce this model. The rest belongs to history: the story of a legend.

Faithful to the original concept

The Mazda MX-5 was launched into production and unveiled February 9, 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show. Its rounded forms, which contrasted sharply with those of its competitors of the era, like a Toyota MR2 and Fiat X1 / 9 - the production would soon abandoned - proved even more disconcerting. But she made unanimously and several associates this figure has the legendary Lotus Elan of the first generation. Due to the extreme lightness of his roadster, Mazda has been able to exploit the full potential of its relatively low cylinder engine but capable of performing 0 to 100 km / h in 8.8 seconds. An exceptional driveability, a road manners, and a strong competitive prices explain the planetary success.

A second generation was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1997 and after a few months in Europe during the 1998 edition of the Geneva Salon. The new version of the MX-5 had kept the winning formula of the original model by combining a design classic roadster has Driving qualities and superior performance yet. As for the exterior design, it has remained virtually unchanged.

Launched in 2005, the MX-5 third generation inherited a longer wheelbase, wider track with wider tires and associates has more prominent wheel arches designed to accommodate 17-inch wheels. Although largest and most richly endowed than its predecessor, this new version only displays additional 10 kg. It beneficia including a trunk lid in aluminum, and a higher proportion of steel at high and ultra-high resistance.

Barely a year later, to meet the demand of the market, Mazda launched another version electric retractable hardtop can disappear in just 12 seconds and without limiting the boot volume.

During the years that followed, several improvements have been made. But each version, it is still faithful to the original concept of lightness, of maneuverability and driveability. And the new platform UNVEILED at the New York suggests that this tradition will be respected during the coming years.

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