Category Archives: Mazda

Mazda MX-5 Miata, Time In A Bottle

Red Mazda MX-5 Miata roadster (NC chassis designation)

Mazda MX-5 Miata

It was 1989. Mazda came out with this neat little car called the MX-5 Miata, an anachronistic two seat roadster that looked of 1960s British origin, with solid build quality (shiny paint, precise and consistent body panel gaps, reliable electronics), and a starting price of around $13,000 ($25,000 in 2014 dollars).

Lo and behold the market embraced it and the Miata became a runaway hit. Fast forward to 1998 and Mazda did it again with the next generation model. By 2000, with more than 700,000 units sold, it was named the best selling two seat convertible of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records.

At the 2005 Geneva Motor Show Mazda unveiled the third generation MX-5 for model year 2006. The U.S.-only Miata moniker was formally dropped in favor of global consistency, but seems to have survived nonetheless.

Body and Chassis

Designed as a lightweight, compact two seat roadster with the simple purpose of pure driving pleasure, it shares its platform with the rotary engined Mazda RX-8. Engineers worked diligently on a “gram strategy” to reduce weight wherever possible.

Compared to the outgoing model (internally designated NB), the third generation NC model is slightly longer and wider. The wheelbase grew 2.6 inches while track width increased more than three inches. These changes allowed for placement of the engine and gearbox about six inches further back in the chassis for improved weight distribution and reduced polar moment of inertia, which can be explained as running around a corner with a bowling ball instead of a ladder of the same weight. It’s easier with the bowling ball.

Further weight savings were achieved through the use of aluminum in the hood, trunklid, wheels and front suspension arms. Double wishbone front suspension and a five link setup at the rear, to better control toe angle, are connected to the road via standard 16 x 6.5 inch wheels all around.
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2014 New York Notables At the Auto Show

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As one of the world’s major auto shows, New York always has its share of new vehicle introductions, and 2014 was no different with the new Nissan Murano, Toyota Camry, and Ford Focus sedan. Our interests, however, center specifically on sports car events (and non-events). Below is a summary of this year’s notable moves.

Alfa Romeo is returning to the States. It’s for real this time with the mid-engine 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C. Sporting a 237 hp four cylinder turbo and a twin clutch six speed semi-automatic transmission, this is a big deal. Little else in sports car land pairs approximately 2,000 lbs with wait… wait… wait… manual steering! Yes, it’s true. There will not be any power assist filter between the front wheels and the driver. With 258 lb-ft of torque and 80 percent of it available at a diesel-like 1,700 rpm, count on this to be loads of fun and the purest sports car since the Lotus Elise.

Aston Martin rolled out an “entry level” V8 Vantage at just a hair under $100k. Aside from the lower price, power increased to 430 hp and additional styling tweaks were made. The power upgrade certainly helped it avoid regular Special Ed status below. Aston also launched the DB9 Carbon Edition but we’ll let that one slide.

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