Driving a Mazda Miata is one of the most enjoyable things you can do with your clothes on, which makes the low mileage on today’s Nice Price or No Dice edition almost a crying shame. Let’s see if its price causes some tears as well.
Yesterday’s 1986 Suzuki Samurai is the perfect car for someone who laughs at danger, lives life to its fullest without a care for the consequences, and is desperately seeking to get into a top-flight sorority. That dichotomy between the danger of flipping over and an all-too-cute appearance keeps the Samurai popular even today, a factor that has long been driving up values. Most of you thought $10,000 for yesterday’s Samurai was a drive too far, and the little cutie went down in a 70 percent No Dice loss.
We often see cars for sale that seem to have survived the slings and arrows of time with nary a scratch and so few miles on them that they might be running on their factory tires. The most intriguing of those are cars originally considered kind of one-and-done throw-away cars. You know, the ones that no one in their right mind would purposefully underuse with the expectation that years down the road attrition and condition would magically reveal some true value. Seeing one of those — like last week’s museum-quality Mazda 626 — the result can be a bit of a head-scratcher. When that underuse comes on a car that should be used because it’s just so dang enjoyable to do so, it can be truly befuddling.
This 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of those cars. As we all know, the Miata is the answer to every question ever raised by mankind. What car will make the most fun commuter? Miata. What should I buy if I want to gymkhana on the weekends? Miata! I’m sure that back in the caveman days, after getting stomped to death by a wooly mammoth, the deceased’s friends would gather around and say “if only he’d had a Miata...”
These cars are like the Swiss Army Knife of fun and entertainment, and that’s why seeing one kept from a life bringing joy to drivers over mile after mile of use raises both laments for the opportunities that have been missed, and intrigue for the potential of shenanigans yet to come.
That all being said, we really don’t get to see NA Miatas in this nice of shape all that often outside of a museum or elementary school time capsule in a really rich neighborhood. The car presents in Classic Red over the standard black cloth interior and vinyl top. It all looks to be in stellar shape with no apparent issue in that paint, upholstery, or top. The car even runs its factory alloys and those show no wear on their plastic center caps, a fairly common foible on these from age and using automatic car washes.
It’s not all time-warpage though. The ad notes a lot of maintenance work that has been undertaken to keep the Miata ticking over the years. That includes a refreshed timing belt and most of the might-as-wells that go along with that. New plugs, wires, and fluids have been added, plus a set of tires so new they still have the little poky bits on them. Helpfully, the A/C system has been updated to R134. That makes it easier to maintain, but likely will require more attention (i.e. annual refills) than with the original R12. One last update to note is the top which has been replaced.
The ad says the clean-title car has been “owned by a Miata enthusiast since new” and that it drives “like a new Miata did 30 plus years ago.” The ad further touts the car as having “No leaks, no weird sounds, no vibrations, no rattles, no problems, everything works the way it should on a 30k mile car”
That all paints a very compelling picture and makes you wonder how a “Miata enthusiast” could have successfully fought the temptation over the years to put more than 30K on what’s obviously a fun little car. Still, their lack of use means more for the next owner to enjoy, right? However, should that enjoyment come at the cost of $13,500?
That’s a chunk of change for a NA Miata in general, but perhaps not so for this well-preserved example. What do you say, is this MX-5 worth that $13,500 price as presented in the ad? Or, does that asking take all the fun out of it?
H/T to Greg G. for the hookup!
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