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Is The Mazdaspeed 'NB' Miata Really Worthy Of Being A Collectible?

Pictured: a not-a-Mazdaspeed ‘NB’ Miata I took a picture of once
Pictured: a not-a-Mazdaspeed ‘NB’ Miata I took a picture of once

The Mazdaspeed Miata was a limited-run production of the second generation Miata, and is most notable for being the only production MX-5 to come with a turbocharger. The Mazdaspeed’s turbo and relatively small production run make some consider it to be a collectible, but does it really deserve that status?

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The Mazdaspeed Miata and its special official turbo went on sale in the U.S. in 2004 and ended production a little short after a factory fire in 2005. This short run, as well as factory modifications including the turbo, wider tires, an upgraded suspension, and a six-speed manual has made the Mazdaspeed MX-5 well sought-after by some Miata enthusiasts.

In the video below posted to TheSmokingTire’s YouTube channel, Matt Farah drives a slightly-modified Mazdaspeed Miata and ponders its special status:

In his “One Take,” Matt enjoyed the typical qualities expected of a Miata, acknowledged that the turbo makes the Mazdaspeed feel slightly faster but not fast, and seemed to take issue with the gearing. The car is also not his size, but it’s a Miata.

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Reading into forum discussions about the Mazdaspeed ‘NB’ Miata I discovered the car has quite a few issues that might knock it down from a “collectible” status.

Evidently the gearing on the six-speed transmission is not just an issue for Matt, but with owners of the car as well. There’s an entire forum discussion mulling the Mazdaspeed over as a potential track-day car, and multiple people claimed the gearing on the car was a major issue, along with a “really narrow power band.”

Some users also faulted the ECU on the car, saying the “engine management was horrible.” Most suggestions by forum members were to either skip getting the Mazdaspeed for a less finicky Miata, or the responses included a long, relatively expensive list of modifications and upgrades to make the car enjoyable.

But I’ve never driven one. Matt Farah just drove one and ended up liking it. Perhaps one of you are better suited to answer the question of whether the Mazdaspeed ‘NB’ Miata deserves any special status?

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

rb1971
rb1971 ARGQF+CayenneTurbo+E9+328GTS+R90S

Highly dependent on your definition of collectible. I’d love to have a ‘Speed Miata, but if I were looking for one to put in the garage, drive carefully on the weekend, and potentially have a financial upside, it would be an NA car (preferably 1990) with low miles. With the LSD. In a non-red color. Like this cool blue one.

I’ve actually been pondering getting one for a few years, but don’t have the garage space.