At $20,000, Is This 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Turbo A Miata You Oughta Buy?

Illustration for article titled At $20,000, Is This 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Turbo A Miata You Oughta Buy?
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

With 178 horsepower under its hood and a mere 18K under its tires, there’s a lot to like about today’s Nice Price or No Dice Miata. Let’s find out if its price is another.

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I think that most of the negative responses to yesterday’s $88,000 Shelby F150 Super Snake focused on the absurdity of the truck itself rather than that of its price tag. Many of you, seemingly, wouldn’t have taken it for free. The positive responses? I don’t know, I couldn’t find any of those. That deluge of derision ended up right about where you might have expected, with an 85% No Dice loss.

What do you suppose is the most important question ever asked in the course of human history? Is it: “why are B-cell batteries so uncommon?” Or maybe: “why are farts so damn funny?” It’s a conundrum.

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When it comes to the automotive world, the importance of a question doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as that of the answer. And, as we all know, the answer is always Miata.

Illustration for article titled At $20,000, Is This 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Turbo A Miata You Oughta Buy?
Photo: Craigslist

Here we have a 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 in Titanium Gray Metallic over a black interior. This was one of just two colors offered on the special edition this model year, the other being Velocity Red.

Miata may always be the answer, but this response happens to be fairly unique. This is the turbocharged, six-speed-equipped, and otherwise massaged version of the late-in-the-game NB MX-5. The company built 4,000 of them for the U.S. market in ’04, and then just 1,428 more the following year.

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The reason that the ’05 production number is so much lower is due to—as the ad points out—a fire at Mazda’s Ujina No.1 plant in Hiroshima which damaged the line. Once the smoke cleared the company started retooling for the NC and tossed all the unused turbos to the parts counters.

Illustration for article titled At $20,000, Is This 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Turbo A Miata You Oughta Buy?
Photo: Craigslist
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Now, that’s not quite as sad a tale as Jaguar losing nearly half the production run of XKSS roadsters in the Browns Lane fire, but it still makes the existing MazdaSpeed cars fairly rare.

This one is also notable for having remarkably low mileage. That’s a mere 19K on the clock if the ad’s description is to be believed. Those miles appear to have been made by just a single owner and the car has been garaged in between the abbreviated outings.

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Factory Racing Hart wheels underpin and in the under-car shots you can note that the tires look like they might also be the originals. The rest of the undercarriage looks to be in fine shape, although some surface rust does evidence the years this car has lived.

Illustration for article titled At $20,000, Is This 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Turbo A Miata You Oughta Buy?
Photo: Craigslist
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Strangely enough, we don’t get to see the engine bay, interior, or the top in the ad. To make up for that I guess, the seller has provided pictures of a contemporary road test of the model from Car and Driver magazine. Annoyingly, the angle of the pictures in the ad will give you a crick in your neck should you attempt to read the story from there. The original Monroney sticker is included too. I rotated that for you so you won’t spill your coffee trying to read it.

Illustration for article titled At $20,000, Is This 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Turbo A Miata You Oughta Buy?
Photo: Craigslist
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Everything we do get to see on the car paints a picture of a solid little Miata with little indication of the more potent turbo mill that lives under the hood. The headlamp covers are appreciably clear and un-yellowed, and the paint looks to be free of major issues. The larger wheels and subtle aero-aids also serve to make this one of the best-looking NBs you could want to find.

The cherry on the top, of course, is a clean title. To have that appear in your name you’ll need to strike deal with the seller, and in order to do that you’ll need to come up with the $20,000 they are asking for the car.

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Yes, that’s a lot of Miata money, which unlike Monopoly Money, you have to actually work for. What do you think, does this Miata’s mix of exclusivity and low miles add up to that $20K price being a deal? Or, does that have you Mazdaspeeding to the No Dice button?

You decide!

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Hudson Valley, NY Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

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DISCUSSION

mountainbikingandtrackdays
mountainbikingandtrackdays

The MSM is the worst Miata made.

Source: Me, a former owner.

I wanted to love mine. It’s turbo! What’s not to love?!?! But Mazda half-assed this car. Intercooler is too small. It suffers from heat soak on a hot day of normal driving. The turbo lags and then a surge of power hits like a freight train. Many a spin was to be had during autocross. Power delivery is inconsistent. Due to the aforementioned heat soak and crappy tiny turbo. The redline was reduced from 7000-ish to 6500 rpm. Because you know, reasons. But Mazda decided not to alter the gearing to match the lower revs on the 6 speed. Oh no no no. You’re at 23 mph at the end of 1st gear. And 5000 rpm on 3rd to get to 60 mph. So couple that with inconsistent power delivery and turbo lag and having to shift mid corner and you have a recipe for the worst Miata ever made. Can you tune it? Sure. Or you can just get an S2000.

Now I own an ND2 BBS/Brembo, which is truly the best Miata ever made. So far.