The hammer fell at $17,251 for this 1991 Mazda Miata Special Edition (SE).
The first generation Mazda Miata is the purest expression of a modern and reliable analog sports car. When it was introduce back in 1989, the two-seat convertible had all but died in the United States. Mazda brought open air motoring back to America in a fun and reliable package. The styling of the car was timeless and today it remains one of the great designs of all time.Because of their popularity as track cars, investment-grade low-mileage first generation cars can be hard to come by. Recently, there has been several sub 20,000-mile first-generation cars coming to market.
The car in question is a comparatively rare Miata—only 4,000 Special Edition (SE) Miata’s were built. These cars came fully optioned in British Racing Green over tan leather. A color-matched hardtop was standard. Other extras included a Nardi wooden shift and brake knob and stainless steel rocker panel covers. Speakers were cleverly built into in the seat headrests and this particular car is optioned with anti-lock brakes. The SE had no performance increase—the 1.6 liter engine and 5-speed manual gearbox remains identical to a normally equipped Miata from the period.
This Miata has all of the attributes of a true collector grade example: 10,000 miles, window sticker, and Arizona ownership. The car sold for $17,241—the seller hit it out of the park and should be thrilled with this outcome. First generation Miata prices are slowly rising as enthusiasts grow to appreciate the many wonderful attributes of this affordable and fun roadster. A shrinking pool of investment-grade examples is pushing prices northward. The Special Edition cars are beautifully appointed and soften the spartan feel of the base model. The SE evokes a feel of modest luxury without losing the pure essence and simplicity of the base model. Several low-mileage base models have recently sold for much less than this SE. While the SE option improves the car and gives it some rarity, there is no material performance difference from other first generation base-model cars. If you have the money than this is the ultimate Miata for you. However, if you want a good Miata to drive and enjoy one can easily be found for half the price—or even less.
Miata’s should be driven. They are reliable and fun cars that have just the right power to weight ratio. There are great club events across America and there is a strong following of passionate owners. There is also growing interest in using Miatas for track days and this trend is attracting many amateur and weekend race enthusiasts. The Miata is a timeless classic who’s time has come.