Turbocharged driving thrills at a bargain price.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata needs no introduction. The first generation was introduced in 1989 and remained in production until 1997. Its successor, internally known as the NB, had a lot to live up to and the jury is still out for some whether or not it did so. But there was one key thing the second-gen Miata had that neither its predecessor nor its two successors received: a Mazdaspeed version.
Mazdaspeed is the Japanese automaker's in-house performance division that was sadly shut down in 2020. It's not that Mazda is abandoning its "Zoom Zoom" way of doing things, but rather a greater focus on going upmarket. Mazda wants to be Asia's Alfa Romeo. We're totally fine with that. But the loss of Mazdaspeed still hurts. The good news is that several great cars came from the division including the Mazdaspeed MX-5, built for the 2004 and 2005 model years.
To date, it's the only factory-spec Miata to come to the US powered by a turbocharged engine instead of the typical naturally aspirated unit. Sold only as a roadster, the newly upgraded 1.8-liter inline-four powerplant produced a total of 178 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. Mazdaspeed claimed 0-62 mph could be accomplished in 6.7 seconds while the top speed was 127 mph. The already excellent six-speed manual was tweaked, too. Along with the improved engine, the division added better Bilstein shock absorbers and wider tires.
Only a few exterior colors were offered: Velocity Red and Titanium Gray Metallic for its first model year while Lava Orange Mica and Black Mica arrived for 2005. A grand total of just 5,428 examples were shipped to the US. The count would have been even higher if it weren't for a fire at the Hiroshima production plant in Japan.
Finding a Mazdaspeed MX-5 isn't particularly difficult but given that they're at least 16 years old now, getting one in solid shape can be a challenge. Fortunately, there's one up for auction on Cars and Bids right now. This 2004 example is painted in Titanium Gray Metallic and has a darn reasonable 59,600 miles on its odometer.
Aside from standard factory equipment like a body kit, limited-slip differential, and a Bose sound system, one of its two previous owners performed a number of modifications. A few include a new intercooler, custom cat-back exhaust, SuperMiata clutch and pressure plate, Tokico shock absorbers, and an RX-8 shift knob. As of this writing, the highest bid is just $8,500 and the auction ends on November 8.