MAZDA MX5 NA - The housewife Porsche becomes a youngtimer convertible

The MX-5 NA heralded the rebirth of the roadster at the Chicago Auto Show in mid-February 1989. Because it was particularly popular with women and managed to combine the feel of a sports car with the price of an everyday car, it was often referred to as the "housewives' Porsche". It is now in its 4th generation and has become the best-selling two-seater sports car of all time. It inspires just as many men as it does women. After all, anyone who drives the little Japanese car experiences real driving pleasure thanks to its lightweight design and fun rear-wheel drive, and has done so for more than three decades. However, the idea for the MX 5 was born 10 years earlier. In 1979 the then Mazda development boss Kenichi Yamamoto mentioned in an interview that the only thing still missing in the Mazda program was a light, small, inexpensive roadster, which in contrast to the earlier MG's should also start in the rain. Still in the interview he drew a car and the idea for the MX-5 was born. On the European market it comes then in the spring 1990.

Body check when buying the youngtimer convertible MAZDA MX5 NA Roadster

thousands of MAZDA MX5 NA Roadsters were built, but rust has reduced the number of first-generation MX-5s over the years. Look for corrosion on the sills, window frames, wheel wells, trunk and footwell. Damp carpets may indicate a worn soft top; replacements are available, but factor that cost into your purchase price. Uneven gaps, mismatched paint and overspray may indicate previous accident damage.

Interior check when buying the youngtimer convertible MX5 Roadster

On the first generation MX5 NA Roadster, most of the interior trim is prone to wear and tear over the years, especially if it has been driven open frequently. Many seats and door panels have been repaired, replaced or look shabby. Special attention should be paid to the power windows. If these work slowly, the window guides need to be disassembled and cleaned or even the bushings replaced. Even if the electronics are reliable, you should check all the knobs and switches to make sure they work.


On the first generation MX5 NA Roadster, the standard suspension and brakes are robust, look for seized calipers, cracked rubber bushings and corroded front control arms here. Due to oversized wheels and severe lowering, the suspension and wheel bearings may have been subjected to additional stress. Other than regular brake pad replacement, the brakes don't need much attention, they are good for fast road use.


Both the 1.6- and 1.8-liter engines of the Mazda MX5 NA Roadster have a high mileage with regular maintenance. Of course, there are leaks from time to time, but they can usually be traced back to defective seals. The interval of 60000KM for the timing belt should be followed. The engine oil should be changed every 10,000KM. With the engine running, check for loose crankshaft pulley and if you hear knocking or howling noises, have the timing belt and water pump checked as well. Although extra power can shorten drivetrain life, aftermarket air filter changes, camshafts, turbo and supercharger rebuilds, or other performance-enhancing modifications have also been made. Check to see if these were performed by a professional.

Our articles for the YOUNGTIMER CABRIO MAZDA MX5 NA Roadster

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