Happy 25th Birthday, Mazda MX-5

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It truly has become one of the greatest sports cars ever.

It may be hard to believe, but it's been 25 years since Mazda first unveiled the MX-5 (then called the Miata) at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show. At the time, not even Mazda, let alone everyone else, could have predicted the little two-seat roadster would go on to become one of the best-selling sports cars of all time. So how did MX-5 come into being? It all started back in the late 70s when an automotive journalist named Bob Hall sketched out on paper the initial idea for a small, light, and affordable sports car.

Hall was soon hired by Mazda full-time and he still worked to convince his bosses this car just had to be built. Once approved, three design concept setups were made: mid-engine/rear-drive, front-engine/front-drive, and front-engine/rear-drive. Obviously, the latter was chosen. The design was finalized in 1986 and Mazda held consumer clinics to gauge interest. People loved what they saw and figured it'd cost a lot more than what Mazda had in mind. The Miata's enthusiastic public and press response proved Hall was right all along. And so after three generations and a fourth on the way, here's to many, many more years of the MX-5. Ahead is a gallery of MX-5s from all three generations, along with a spy shot of the fourth-gen model.

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