Fans of the Miata will appreciate how far the little sports car has come. Inspired by the Lotus Elan, this nimble roadster has become the entry-level two-door for any budding enthusiast.
It’s not that the Miata is reserved for newly licensed drivers. There is quite a bit of engineering involved in the seemingly small sports car† Yes, it’s not a Ferrari, but you see, not many people can afford a six-figure supercar.
So for high-spirited young people with a valid driver’s license, the Miata is an attractive prospect. But what we have in the news is more of a collector’s item. To be a super rare Miata NB with a factory hardtop†
You don’t often come across a factory hardtop Miata, so this one is special in that regard. There are quite a few attributes that set this Miata apart from its roadster brethren.
We’ll go into the details and give you an insight into how and where to buy this extremely rare Miata.
A brief description of the Mazda Miata NB
If you know your Miatas, then the NB is what Mazda calls the second-generation model. While the famous pop-up headlights remained the most noticeable omission, the rest of the car was fairly identical to its NA predecessor. However, the NB’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder delivered more power (142 hp), got a better interior, and a six-speed manual transmission replaced the NA’s five-speed transmission.
So what about the driving experience? At about 2,300 pounds, the Miata is a fairly light car. And because it was rear-wheel drive, it also provided an enjoyable driving experience. It’s not a fast machine, by any means. But you could describe the Miata as a fun and feisty little sports car. The Miata is the type of car that you can enjoy on the street without the risk of losing your driver’s license.
For a relatively affordable item, the Miata NB came with some pretty advanced technology. It had independent suspension on all wheels, anti-lock brakes, front and rear anti-roll bars, and even 195-section tires around 15-inch rims. While that may seem small by today’s standards, this turned out to be quite impressive in the early 1990s.
Rare Miata NB Hardtop is for sale at a Japanese car shop
The Miata Hardtop in question thus belongs to the “Roadster Coupe” series, which are low volume NBs made exclusively for the Japanese market. Only 200 of these JDM legends were available, but customers could choose from four variants: a base model, the Type-A, the Type-S and the Type-E. The model up for auction is a Type-A, which will receive wider wheel arches, modified headlamp housings, fog lamps and a sporty body kit.
According to Mazda, the Type-A follows a design language reminiscent of traditional race cars. The whole ethos revolves around the car being sporty and lively. Therefore, the only color options available were Lightning Yellow and Velocity Red.
That’s not all: The Miata Type-A gets a 157-horsepower 1.8L inline-four internally called BP-VE [RS]† This engine made about 20 horses more than the US-spec Miata NB and featured Mazda’s Variable Valve Timing technology. Also, the Type-A Miata was only offered with a six-speed manual transmission.
In addition, Mazda claims that the added roof construction results in little to no weight reduction. According to the Japanese automaker, the hardtop Miata weighs just 22 pounds more than its Roadster counterpart, which, to be honest, isn’t that much of a difference.
You can bid on the car by contacting Davey Japan Co., LTD. The ad will be posted on their Facebook page† As far as prices are concerned, there is not much clarity. The listing doesn’t mention the price, but we think it should cost between $25,000 and $30,000.
If you don’t want to bother shopping in Japan, here’s one Type-S Miata listed for £30,000 (about $38,000)† This one is also a hardtop and has undergone a complete restoration. It’s worth noting, though, that both lists have Miatas with the steering wheel on the right.
Can the Mazda Miata Hardtop be imported?
You cannot legally import either car into the United States at this time. Since the Type-A and Type-S Roadster Coupes were made between 2003 and 2004, America’s 25-year Import Act prohibits the importation of these cars until 2029. This is also the reason why certain Nissan Skylines cannot be shipped to the United States. Currently, according to the NHTSA, you can only import a Nissan Skyline (or any car) as long as it was built in or before 1997.
However, our Canadian readers can go ahead and bid on the Miatas. The Canadian import law states that all vehicles (except buses) that are 15 years or older from the date of manufacture are exempt from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program.
Sources: Davey Japan, Pistonheads, Mazda