HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1990 Mazda Miata, the first year of now-classic...

Pick of the Day: 1990 Mazda Miata, the first year of now-classic sports car

The white roadster looks well-cared-for and ready for top-down motoring


Of all the new cars introduced in the past 30 or so years, the single model that captured enthusiastsā€™ hearts at every level was the original Mazda Miata.

When Mazda set out to design the Miata MX-5, they took great pains to be sure they were creating a sports car that appealed to the classic roadster enthusiasts, people who had once owned MGs, Triumphs, Alfa Romeos and other such cars. The team put together to conceive and design the car were hand-selected people who fundamentally understood the idea of a classic sports car.

The measure of how well they succeeded in their project is evident both in the fact that not only is the Miata the biggest selling sports car of all time, it is also the winningest sport car on track as well. There are literally more Miatas racing on any weekend than any other single car model. This is because the Miata is easy to drive at the limit, as well as being inexpensive to own, nice looking and overall a blast to drive.

The Pick of the Day is a first-year 1990 Mazda Miata finished in Crystal White with a cloth interior. This Miata is being advertised on by a dealer in Sonoma, California, who describes it as a one-owner car in completely original condition.


Back when I worked for Classic Motorsports and Grassroots Motorsports, our editorial director David Wallens educated me quite a bit about Miatas, and due to his tutelage, I can accurately assess one of these true modern classics.

This Miata comes with a new soft top, original books, owner’s manual and a clean Carfax. The mileage is at 115,000 miles, which the seller says occurred mostly in the first 5-6 years as a commuter between Santa Cruz and the Silicon Valley.Ā  The owner moved to the California wine country in 1998, and the car was only used for pleasure and always garaged, the seller notes.

Looking at the photos of this Miata tells me that it is a clean car with few if any issues. The correct Mazda sticker is still present on the bumper, something that is often left off when a car is repainted. The overall look of the paint is exceptional as are the engine compartment, undercarriage and interior. The only modification from original is the addition of a period Alpine cassette deck, which to me is right in line with the era.

On a side note, it you want to learn more about Miatas, I highly recommend picking up a copy of editor Larry Edsallā€™s book Miata 20 years. It is a great read and will be a nice addition to your car book collection.

This classic roadster is easy to own and does everything that an MG, Triumph or Alfa Spider will do with none of the hassle, and itā€™s priced at only $11,900.

To view this vehicle on, see Pick of the Day

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 carsā€”none of them normal or reasonableā€”as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


  1. These older Mazdas are extremely over rated. Sorry to admit that I had a new 91′.
    The handling was great. The power was not! 2 people in the car and the car struggled to make 65 on the freeway on a flat road.

  2. I owned a 1990 model & I agree with TonyB in that the car had no power & is suited only for the driver. Was so glad when I sold it.

  3. I own a 1990 Miata with 220,000 miles on it. It does have a 1991 engine and newer radiator since the original engine died due to the infamous 1990 crank nose breakage. If you look closely, it is possible to see the antifreeze stains on the right front fender. It goes like “H” with 1 or 2 people and is just a plain fun car to own. I will not part with it!
    Karl E. R.

  4. I purchased the first 1990 Miata (red) offered in Colorado on September 14. 1989. VIN # JM1NA3512L0111286. What a kick. Drove it frequently up winding mountain roads as fast as I could go without sliding off the narrow routes. It hung on like glue. Also fun being one of the first convertibles in recent years seeing all the people cranking their heads to admire my new toy. The dealer must have notified our local paper for which I was immediately interviewed for my experience.
    Love and still play with my fabulous toy.


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