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Birth of an icon: Part one

3 years ago

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Peter Robinson | Journalist


31 August 2021

From the moment it was launched in 1989, Mazda’s MX-5 was instantly recognised as a modern interpretation of the classic British sports car: small, simple and affordable. Japan’s version of yesterday’s MG, Triumph and Austin-Healey roadsters. Except it was reliable, didn’t leak oil and the roof could be erected in seconds.

For over 30 years it has reigned supreme among affordable two-seat open sports cars, not least because it was so good the competition seemed actively discouraged from trying to steal its thunder. A few have tried to displace it, but to date none has succeeded.

But there’s another reason the story of how Mazda created the MX-5 (or Miata in the USA) deserves telling, because it also provides a perfect example of how one person’s vision and persistence can change motoring.

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