A car is born
In February 1989 the Mazda MX5 made its debut at the Chicago Motor Show. A month later it went on sale in Hiroshima. The rest, as they say, is history. The press loved it and the public couldn’t get enough of it. The thrilling looks and sense of fun, that classic English roadster feeling – available to everyone. It took the world by storm. The Mazda MX-5 mk 1 was hailed as the renaissance of the roadster and the car revived the whole segment. As for the name? MX stands for Mazda experimental. ‘5? was the next number in the sequence of ‘M’ concept cars. The Mazda MX-5, a name that would make history.
In 1993, as a result of tightening emissions standards and new safety requirements the MX5 had a change of engine in the form of a new BP-ZE 1.8 litre four-cylinder model. This was followed two years later by another major update with improved performance thanks to a lighter flywheel and a more powerful engine management computer, which optimized the air/fuel ratio.
1999 was a significant year for the Mazda MX5. After five years’ development and in response to more stringent safety requirements, the Mazda MX5 mk 2 evolved and the result was a design classic. New contoured headlights and a sleek, muscular body meant this was a runaway success. In the words of its designer Tom Matano, “we like to think of it an MX5 that has been to the gym, adding muscle and tone”.
The New Generation
At the 2005 Geneva Motor Show The public were treated to a glimpse of the future. The Mazda MX5 mk 3 was unveiled, having undergone a complete overhaul. The concept of “gram strategy” was introduced, meticulous weight watching of all components; the next step in roadster evolution, with increased athleticism, heightened power and natural good looks. Then, in April 2009 the mk3.5 model was unveiled, again with much improved performance and refinement together with the introduction of a Powershift automatic gearbox to the UK market. This latest incarnation has brought accolades from motoring writers around the world and more than 900,00 Mx5s have been sold since the car’s introduction in1989.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the MX5 in 2009, Mazda produced a special interactive brochure containing a full history of the car. Click on the picture above to take a look. You can also download the brochure so you can read it offline.