Looking like the Lotus Elan from the 1960s, the Mazda Miata (MX5 in UK) re-ignited the sportscar market single-handedly in 1989. Like the Elan, it used a very simple formula of front-engine, rear-wheel drive with tight suspension, all in a lightweight package. The car started with just 97ci (1.5 liters) and 116bhp (86kW) thanks to 16 valves and a slightly increased redline over the Mazda 323 model it came from. Underneath was a steel monocoque with engine/transmission plus rear axle subframes, and double wishbones front and rear. The rack and pinion steering was made high-geared so drivers could adjust the car's line very quickly in corners, though it needed a lot of provocation to go off line as the handling was well-balanced and neutral. The car was easy for a convertible, too, requiring just two buttons to be pressed and two levers to be folded before the roof would go down.
Mazda Miata Specifications
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