Last year, we were all drooling over the MX–5 Superlight at motor shows. It was actually a nine-year-old car. It was nothing but the Mazda Miata Mono-Posto from 2000 in new clothes.
On the plane back home from the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, I tallied that fall’s new crop of cars and realized I only really longed for one: the Mazda MX–5
Superlight. My time with the Superlight was blessed time. On the early morning of the day after the big press rush, I had thirty minutes with nothing but the car and Mazda booth personnel for company. Ample time indeed to study the car’s wonderful wealth of cheeky racing details and lament the inevitable fact of its one-way trip to the factory museum.
I should have known better. Mazda weren’t cheeky for their use of lustworthy racing bits but for essentially pulling the same trick twice, as readers less philistine in late ‘90s concepts pointed out in the comments. For the 2000 SEMA show Mazda had already built a study very similar to the Superlight. It was called the Miata Mono-Posto and it looked like a million dollars.
Mazda can certainly build wonderful cars but they’re not usually in the million-dollar business. To remedy that, inspiration for the Mono-Posto came from a car which very much is, as surviving examples usually sell for around $1,000,000:
Ferrari’s mid-50s sports prototypes. They came in many iterations with two things in common: the name Monza and the supremely un-Ferrari inline-four engine. The latter was designed by Aurelio Lampredi and went all the way up to 3.4 liters in displacement, a monster of an inline-four.
Inline-fours are rare in Ferraris but very common in Mazdas, specifically in Miatas, so to stick to the Monza’s twist of using an alien engine, the Mono-Posto had its 1.8-liter inline-four turbocharged. Only used in certain special edition Miatas, the turbo was supremely un-Miata but it was a definite boon to horsepower, boosting it to 190.
The Mono-Posto suffered the same fate as its 2009 kin would, never entering production. What a shame. And what a supremely cheeky way to make both the Mono-Posto and the Superlight rarer and more expensive than any old ‘50s Ferrari.
Photo Credit: Mazda (Miata Mono-Posto), Giorgio Ferretto (Ferrari 750 Monza), Peter Orosz (MX–5 Superlight)