The Mazda Miata is no longer the affordable sports car it used to be

If you ask any Mazda Miata with the name of the iconic roadster’s name being an acronym for, they’ll all know exactly what you want in response. The answer, of course, is “Miata is always the answer”. For a long time it was. Now, however, the market has finally caught up to these once-affordable sports cars.

Good luck finding a decent example under $5,000.

Mazda Miata 1995 | Cars and Auctions

It seems like only yesterday that you could find a decent first-generation Mazda Miata for less than $3,000. Now, however, this recently closed Cars and Auctions auction, along with dozens of other sales, seals the safe of affordable happy-face roadsters for good.

The Miata in question has some modifications. The list includes a Tein coilover suspension, aftermarket seat covers (likely hiding stock seats), a steering wheel cover, and even a cluster swap. Thus, the actual mileage of this car is unknown.

Additionally, there is newer paint overspray, faded clearcoat, scratches, a reasonably large dent, and scratches on the plastic rear window. It even has a tape repair done on the driver’s side door card.

So with all these issues, you would think this car would be at the bottom of the price of a Miata. Well, we would be right. However, it still managed to reach an almost insulting hammer price of $6,200. It would also have been much higher if the mileage was verifiable.

Front of red 1994 Mazda Miata with headlights up

Mazda Miata 1994 | Cars and Auctions

For example, this 1994 Miata in another Cars and Bids auction had 81,900 miles. Although it features mostly original equipment, it has inexpensive aftermarket wheels, suspension, exhaust and steering wheel. It sold for $9,269 earlier this year.

Why are Miatas so expensive?

As with any market or product, price depends on supply and demand. While the world slept on Miatas for a while, the fan base surrounding this cheerful little sports car grew significantly. In a Car Throttle interview, Jay Leno even recommended the first-generation Miata as the best affordable sports car money can buy.

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The growing popularity eventually met a head-on collision with the offer. Between rotting rusty Miatas meeting their creator in junkyards or crushers, drifting enthusiasts smashing Miatas into oblivion, and car crashes, good Miatas are getting harder and harder to find. Strange as it may seem, the first Miatas are now over 30 years old. Finding one in good shape is bound to be more and more difficult.

Speaking of good form, if you thought car prices and deals were crazy, venture to the king of catastrophic prices; Bring a trailer. Any low mileage car can fetch a crazy price there. They’re not as crazy as the Integra Type R that sold out recently. However, a special-edition 1993 Mazda Miata with just 8,000 original miles managed to fetch a whopping $35,000.

So if you come across a decent Miata for less than $5,000, you should buy it. It would make a quick and easy flip. Alternatively, you can hang on to it and enjoy the open-air sporty experience that a Miata provides. Then, in 10 years, you can withdraw money and retire when it’s the only good left.

Just food for thought.

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