Some might say this is the perfect sports car. And this one is now for sale.
The Mazda Miata has never been available with a fixed roof until the ND RF came along, right? Wrong.
As it turns out, the first Miata with a fixed roof was introduced in the early 2000s. Only available in Japan, it was confusingly called the Roadster Coupe (aren't those two vastly different things?). Mazda based it on the second-generation NB model and built a highly limited run estimated to be between 500 and 1,000 units from 2003 to 2004.
One has recently come up for sale in Japan and it looks sensational. It only has 42,000 km (26,260 miles) on the clock, and it's finished in yellow, which is somewhat of an iconic color in the Miata enthusiast community.
Four variants of the Roadster Coupe were built, and this particular version is the rarest of the lot.
You could get a base model, the Type-A, Type-S, and Type-E. The Type-A's aerodynamic kit is said to be Italian-influenced, and it also came standard with a slightly more powerful BP-VE RS version of the 1.8-liter naturally aspirated inline four-pot.
Only 200 were made, which makes it extremely rare. Not as rare as the Type-S, of which only 63 or 64 were made (reports differ). According to Mazda's original PR fluff, the Type-A's design was reminiscent of classic racing cars.
We'd love to experience it, as we know from ownership that the NB feels inherently more rigid and a fixed roof structure would only add to that. A Miata coupe straight from the factory should feel epic. The weight penalty is also only 22 pounds compared to the soft-top, which is nothing compared to the 120 lbs penalty you have to pay if you buy the 2022 Mazda Miata RF over the rag-top.
Add to that the upgrade in power compared to US-spec NBs; the Miata has never been about horsepower but rather a lack of weight, but a little more power feels great in that chassis.
The Type-A used the same 1.8 mentioned earlier, but with variable intake valve timing to increase the power to nearly 160 hp, around 20 hp more than the NBs sold here. Twenty horses aren't a lot, but you'll notice the difference in a car that weighs just over 2,300 lbs.
It's hard to judge how much this car will sell for at auction. A Type-S was up for grabs last year, and it eventually sold for the equivalent of $38,000. The auction house responsible for this sale, Davey Japan, expects this example will go for roughly $30,000. So it's this or a brand-new Miata, the choice is yours
But even if you buy it, it will have to be parked in Japan for a while. According to the law, you can only import a foreign vehicle after 25 years, which means this particular example is still eight years away from being legal.