Happy 30th birthday, Mazda MX-5!

By topgear, 08 February 2019
Mazda MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition

Important things turning 30 years old in 2019: the idea of the World Wide Web (weird how that never caught on, huh?) a unified Germany, and real-life Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe. Cor, what a year 1989 was.

However… the biggest event of that heady year wasn’t the end of the Cold War, nor the birth of a future boy wizard. Oh no. At the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, Mazda revealed a diminutive new two-seater sports car. The world first met the MX-5 Miata.

Three decades and four generations ever, the MX-5 is still with us, in finer fettle that ever. As the world’s gone crazy for turbocharged lifestyle crossovers, the MX-5 has held firm. It’s still a relatively lightweight, naturally aspirated, rear-drive sports car that’s as interested in grip, power and lap times as BMW is with fitting sensible radiator grilles to its new cars.


So, happy birthday MX-5. Mazda’s present to itself – and Miata fans around the globe, is the MX-5 30th Anniversary Edition. Simple, no-nonsense car, simple, zero flim-flam name. Good.

All 3,000 examples will be painted in Racing Orange, a colour not offered in the standard MX-5 range. They ride on forged Rays ZE40 RS30 wheels, developed specifically for the MX-5 by Rays, and if you choose the manual gearbox – which you should because it’s ace – you get Bilstein suspension thrown in. Front brake calipers are Brembos, the rears are by Nissin. No, not Nissan, Nissin. They’re Japanese.

Inside, Mazda’s thrown the entire options catalogue at the birthday special. Recaro seats, a Bose hi-fi and Apple and Android phone mirroring all feature. Each example gets a plaque displaying the car’s serial number, whether you pick the soft-top or folding hard-top RF version.

Mazda gets a little bit emotional about the MX-5 in its official reveal notes, gushing “Mazda feels that the MX-5 has grown into more than simply its own creation. It now belongs to the fans around the world who have supported the development of the model. To express its gratitude and the high hopes Mazda has for the future of the MX-5, the company developed Racing Orange for the new limited edition, an exclusive body colour that evokes the breaking dawn of an exciting new day.”

The best bit about that speech? That Mazda sees a future for the MX-5, thirty years and 1 million sales later.

We’ll drink a glass of something orange to that.