At $7,500, Does This 1995 Mazda MX5 Have You Saying "I Could’ve Had a V8"?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe MX5 says in his ad that the car needs little to be perfect. With a Ford 5.0 under its hood it’s already a good way there. Let’s decide if its price pushes it over the top.

I’m really disappointed that the vast majority—as in, not a single one—of you shared my enthusiasm for yesterday’s wild custom 1980 Volvo 242DL. What happened to you, man? You used to be cool.


Okay, you all are still cool. That was uncalled for. Seemingly also uncalled for was that droptop Brick. In fact, most of you wanted to drop kick it into the obviously alternate universe from whence it came. Seeing as you didn’t like the car, it’s not surprising that its $7,500 price also proved unpopular. Sorry there wasn’t a ‘Kill It With Fire and then Nuke it from Orbit, so, You Know, You’ll be Sure” option in the poll. As it was, Crack Pipe was enough, garnering 87 percent of the vote.

I want to let you in on a little prognostication: sometime in the near future, NA model Mazda Miatas—those are the ones with the pop-up headlamps—are going to command upwards of twenty-grand to start. It will likely happen within the next ten years and the dramatic upswing in valuation will, to most, seemingly happen overnight.

How do I know this? Am I some mystical Nostradamus who can see the future? Or, am I just full of opinionated shit? I’d say the truth lies somewhere in between.


Seriously though, the first generation Miata has been popular from day one. It’s also a generally cheap set of reasonably capable wheels, and that encourages yahoos to buy them and then wreck them, either literally or through poorly chosen and inevitably irreversible modifications. That culls their numbers significantly, and if junior college econ 101 taught me anything it’s that when supply fails to meet demand, prices go up.

That’s all why, if at all possible, you should go out and buy a Miata right away. Hell, pick up two. You know where might be a good place to start? The driveway of the present owner of this 1995 Mazda MX5 Miata, that’s where.


This Miata packs something special under its hood and behind those joy-inducing pop-up lamps. That’s a small block Ford Windsor V8. Next to the flathead, the 302—or 5-litre for those who don’t consider the metric system Satan’s yardstick—is perhaps the company’s most famous V8. It’s powered innumerable Mustangs, GT-40s and a ton of racers since its 1967 model year introduction. Small and stout, and satisfyingly malleable for increased performance it’s a perfect fit turning Mazda’s little roadster into something entirely different.


The 302 isn’t just drag and drop in the MX5. There are some firewall and frame mods to be made before you can Eight-it-up. Those seem to have been done here, as this silver on black MX5 appears to be a driver with most all the hard-coded bits already accounted for. The Ford mill is paired with what’s said to be a Mustang five-speed which is likely a T-45. Outback the weaksauce Mazda pumpkin has been replaced with one out of a Thunderbird Supercoupe as one does. New calipers and rotors plus new struts help with the stopping and the bouncing.


Everything looks reasonably tidy with the install, with the heater hooked up and enough room under the Mazda’s hood for the carb and traditional frying pan air cleaner to fit without issue. The A/C is notably absent with the connections at the firewall still sitting open, but then this probably isn’t a car for those afraid of a little sweat.

In fact, the ad notes that the car could stand a little sweat equity. It says, in shouty all-caps confidence, that it ‘NEEDS LITTLE TO BE PERFECT. What exactly that little is goes undisclosed. What is told is that the car is rust-free and comes with a clean title. It presently resides in Massachusetts, and I’m unfamiliar with what’s involved in a title transfer in that state. Here in California that requires a smog check with visual inspection and that can open a can of whoop ass on you if the exchange wasn’t done with emissions compliance in mind.


The rest of the car seems worth the risk. The silver paint is perhaps not the best Miata hue, but it looks serviceable. The interior seems likewise ready for work. Extra gauges sit below the stereo, however the ad says nothing about whether the factory needles have been trained to talk to the new engine and driveline. The top is only shown in open position, but even if it’s a tattered mess, that’s not that much to replace.


The car itself isn’t all that much either. The asking price is $7,500 and while that’s (currently) high-market for okay Miatas, you have to factor the desirable V8 into the equation.

What do you think, is this V8 Miata worth that $7,500 asking? Or, for that much, would it need to be perfect?


You decide!


Boston, MA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to onlytwowheels for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at 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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