Mazda MX-5 Celebrates 20th Birthday Photo:
Tony O'Kane | Feb, 11 2009 | 4 Comments

Mazda's classic MX-5 roadster will be celebrating its 20th birthday this week and boy, has it aged well. While other cars have grown bigger, fatter, and in a lot of cases, slower over the years, Mazda has resolutely stuck by the MX-5's original formula of a lightweight chassis, revvy engine and sublime suspension tuning.

Since its debut in 1989, the MX-5's less-is-more approach and keen pricing has seen it to the top of sales charts worldwide; and with over 850,000 cars sold over the past two decades it also rates as one of the world's most popular sports cars.

Mazda NA MX-5

It may not be especially powerful (the first-gen NA MX-5 had just 88kW, while the latest NC boasts a relatively low 118kW), but what the plucky MX-5 lacks in straight-line speed it more than makes up for with its crisp cornering ability and neutral chassis balance.

Mazda NC MX-5

Besides, with a strong enthusiast following a variety of power-adders have sprung up for the little roadster over the years, with everything from turbo and supercharger kits to off-the-shelf V8 conversions available. Fancy an LS2 V8 in a chassis that weighs under a tonne? Not only is it possible, it's relatively affordable.

So, "many happy returns" to the Mazda MX-5. May your redlines be high and your gearing short for many more years to come.

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