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.
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.
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.