26 May 2014

Generation Gap: Convertibles | 1964 Ford Thunderbird vs. 1991 Mazda Miata

Hagerty parts expert Davin Reckow spends his days hunting down hard-to-find classic car parts and his nights wrenching on his two Chevelles, while Matt Lewis drives a 2011 Mitsubishi Evo X and spends his days interacting with classic car owners across the globe as Hagerty’s social media analyst. Davin thinks that nothing worth owning was built after 1974; Matt thinks that a car doesn’t have to be old to be great. In this episode of Generation Gap, these two diehard car guys argue for their favorite convertibles — a 1964 Ford Thunderbird vs. a 1991 Mazda Miata.

Whose argument do you think carries the most weight? Davin, with the Thunderbird, or Matt with the Miata? Weigh in on the latest episode of “Generation Gap” by casting your vote below.

Voting for this episode of “Generation Gap” has ended.

120 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Pontus Sweden June 3, 2014 at 15:44
    I personally do not see the point in owning a car that cannot be driven hard. That thing would tip like a containership in rough seas if i were to corner it like i wanted to. It almost understeered going like 15mph.. Miata for me any day!
  • 2
    Greg Los Angeles, CA June 4, 2014 at 13:10
    T-bird, hands down! sorry Miata folks.
  • 3
    Paul F. Miami Beach & Malaga June 4, 2014 at 13:20
    I've had my '64 Thunderbird for over 46 years now, a Landau which has roamed the U.S. and down into Central America during its time. Still an eye-stopper.
  • 4
    Chuck Minnesota June 4, 2014 at 13:32
    I own a 1990 Miata. I like it but it is a dog power wise and only gets 32 miles per gallon. Even a Ford Pinto gets 33 per gallon with the 1600 engine and a carburetor and it doesn't have a rediculous belt drive for the in-block cam unless your Ford has the 2000 cc. engine. There's too much high tech. crap on the Miata and no payoff with extra gas mileage. My MG midget gets 36 per gallon with two carbs and point ignition. And no, I don't work on my old cars "all the time" like so many fuel injection lovers exaggerate.
  • 5
    ivan sanford warwick NY June 4, 2014 at 13:37
    I owned a 66 t bird convertible years ago and wished I still had it . it was a posh riding , gas guzzling bear , but it was a beautiful looking automobile . it would always gather a crowd of people around it that would love to watch you put the top up and down. not to forget the sequential taillights
  • 6
    Craig San Jose, CA June 4, 2014 at 14:07
    Why couldn't you have chosen a 1955 T-bird to make the comparisson at least a little closer? I agree with the two comentators, you want to look at the T-bird, you want to drive the Miata. You want a tough convertible choice? I have a 1955 Jaguar XK140MC Roadster and a 2001 Corvette Convertible. Don't ask me to choose which one I like more!
  • 7
    Ron Holland, mi June 4, 2014 at 14:21
    You are comparing Apples to Oranges. The Ford is a classic, sweet ride...even though I'm not a Ford guy. I'm sure the Miata would be much more fun to drive as far as handling and agility. l'll take both thank you very much :)
  • 8
    Jill Gates Denver, CO June 4, 2014 at 14:28
    Not sure how anyone could pick a Miata over a Tbird!
  • 9
    grody United States June 4, 2014 at 14:31
    I do not believe any car is more beautiful than the Morgan's with their chrome and running boards with those hand hammered flared fenders and that leather belt over the bonnet!
  • 10
    Kerry Pleasant Grove, Utah June 4, 2014 at 14:34
    I'm a Chevy guy. But I'm also a patriotic American citizen and I'll NEVER vote for an import over a domestic brand!! There's no comparison at all between American Muscle and Foeign wannabes!
  • 11
    Jim Price United States June 4, 2014 at 14:46
    Like trying to compare apples to grapefruit. Totally different animals and can't be compared. Both have their place and are both great
  • 12
    Ed Wolfe Doylestown, PA June 4, 2014 at 15:12
    I grew up around cars of the 50' and 60's. I own a 2005 Jeep Wrangler and 2013 Corvette coupe, BUT I also own a 1999 Mazda Miata which I bought in Dec 2013 and it had 7,108 miles on the clock. The Jeep is my foul weather and going fishing vehicle. I love the Corvette and I had been wishing for one for the past 51 years since the 1963 C2 Split Window Coupe was released. The Corvette may be getting driven 2,500 miles a year. However, it is the Miata that is probably the most fun to drive especially with the top down. The Miata is excellently balanced and handles like a dream.
  • 13
    Peter Long Island, NY June 4, 2014 at 15:26
    Should have compared a TR3 to the Miata - the original vs the copy
  • 14
    Jim Bowden Mesa, Arizona June 4, 2014 at 15:26
    Love the Thunderbird and lincoln convertibles. Cant think of anything past 1974 I'd think about collecting unless its a Corvette. Current cars owned are my 1972 Corvette I've owned for 34 years and is now in a minor restoration, my wife's 1968 Camaro owned for 28 years and a 1987 Corvette I gave to recently gave to my Granddaughter.
  • 15
    bruce Minnesota June 4, 2014 at 15:49
    Not even close. T-Bird hands down.
  • 16
    Gary Chittenden Canada June 4, 2014 at 16:00
    I can relate to both, but being 66 and having owned a 64 T-Bird, my vote is for the big square one. Most classic car guys call the Miata a fine girls car. "Nice car you have there fella, I bought my daughter one." Miatas' are a great little sports car. The Thunderbird is a great cruiser. I prefer chrome and cruisin'.
  • 17
    Richard Conroy Tucson, AZ June 4, 2014 at 16:03
    I don't see it as as an apples to apples comparison. If the Thunderbird had been a 55-57 two seater, I would have voted for it. Ford lost me when they went to the 4 place "Square Bird". I drive a 71 and a 78 MGB. Would I like a Mazda? Yes, but not to replace an MGB.
  • 18
    John Guertin Ottawa, ON June 4, 2014 at 16:03
    I own a 2008 MX5 with a six speed, so I have a bias towards small, fun to drive (and in my case good looking) cars. Oh, and I own a 1975 Spitfire too, so I have the classic perspective as well. Because the two cars are very similar, nimble and leave massive grins on my face after driving I would lean towards the Miata in the video. However, there is nothing sweeter than a nicely restored classic of any style - yes there is definitely some class in that T-Bird. Still voted for the MX5, but it was a tough one.
  • 19
    ThunderBoy Berkeley, CA June 4, 2014 at 16:04
    '64 T-Bird all the way! I know these birds have their downfalls, but I still think this is a very underappreciated hot rod cruiser. I get more comments, stares, and thumbs up driving in my '64 hardtop than guys in Ferraris do. I think Matt makes a good point about the qualities of the Miata as a driver's car. I've always considered one for a track car build someday. But for normal street driving and cruising, you can't beat the Thunderbird.
  • 20
    Tom Wynkoop Baltimore, MD June 4, 2014 at 16:06
    The Thunderbird wins. I am biased because I have owned a 65 hardtop and now own a 1966 Convertible. When I want to look good and rat-rod around I do that it my 93 Infinity J-30. The J-30 might be a contender in a contest with Old School rides. These are quietly being collected.
  • 21
    Dave NE TX June 4, 2014 at 16:25
    Normally I'd go for the classic, but the Mazda Miata is a special car (I never actually had one). The T-Bird isn't. Classy, yes but I can't honestly say I want one. A Miata would be a fun toy and if I had any more space and money to maintain I'd be tempted.
  • 22
    Fred Bicknell Lacenter WA June 4, 2014 at 16:27
    If you can find them in a salvage yard they are not a classic. Classic = style, not jelly bean shape
  • 23
    Joe NJ June 4, 2014 at 16:31
    I have a 91 Miata that has never been repaired. Maintenance only.
  • 24
    dave gentry detroit June 4, 2014 at 16:33
    thunderbirds are my favorite cars period. i've had 5. currently a 67 4dr. the styling is the best especially the interior. unmatched for the time. they were the first with a center console in 58. try to buy a car today without one.
  • 25
    Mark United States June 4, 2014 at 16:37
    The T bird swiveled heads when it first came out, as most cars that are INTENDED to be "HEY, LOOKIT ME" cars. But after a short time, once the look wore out, they reminded one automotive writer of a "Pendulous Sea Bass." However after to many years of cars looking like "animated jelly beans," the T bird is refreshing. After that, the 1991 Mazda has it all over the T bird. BTW, that's 300 SAE GROSS HP from the T Bird's engine. in reality, more like 225 DIN (net).
  • 26
    Hamad Dubai June 4, 2014 at 04:41
    Good epsoid
  • 27
    B. Michel N.W. Ohio June 4, 2014 at 16:45
    Currently have a 1992 Miata semi-track car. Racing beat suspension, Jackson Racing stainless exhaust with long-tube header, Koni adj. shocks, and large MAS & throttle body. Handles the road like it is on rails! Pretty obvious which way I'm voting.
  • 28
    Joe United States June 4, 2014 at 16:58
    No offense to Davin, but the Miata is a car I'd still consider driving daily. As much as I love old Detroit iron, I keep my two classics in the garage, drum brakes and all, for occasional cruising with the traffic is light and do my regular driving in a Mini S convertible. And life is fun.
  • 29
    Malcolm Ontario, Canada June 4, 2014 at 17:11
    It's worth the 5 month wait to get our Z3M out of the garage. What a perfect cruiser. It loves straight roads but not as much as curvy ones. No wonder those guys on Top Gear love it so much.
  • 30
    Robert OKC June 4, 2014 at 18:16
    I don't care for either of these cars but I will always vote for the true classic
  • 31
    Kristopher Indiana June 4, 2014 at 06:21
    I am not a Ford fan, But yes, I would have to pick the Thunderbird.
  • 32
    Len Davis Fort Worth, TX June 4, 2014 at 18:37
    There is no contest. The 1964 Thunderbird wins.
  • 33
    John Trischan Franklin Park, IL June 4, 2014 at 18:42
    I've never driven a 1964 T-bird convertible, but I drove quite a few NA and NB Miatas. I don't think the T-bird would be anywhere near as much fun.
  • 34
    M. Sheahen Hickory, NC June 4, 2014 at 18:51
    I was born in the middle of the (WWII) "Baby Boomer" generation, in '54, and not even I can see the comparability in any way of the '64 Ford Thunderbird and '91 Mazda Miata; not quite as bad as "apples vs. oranges", but near so. Said T-bird was in the class of "personal luxury" & 1st and foremost in its' entirety, while the Miata was & is "2-seater open sports car" 1st and foremost in its' entirety. An appropriate comparison would be a '64 T-bird vs. say a Mercedes or other modern European rag-top, and the '91 Miata vs. a '64 Austin-Healey Sprite or MG Midget, as they & the Miata all have 4's & are close in size, '64 Corvettes are much bigger & have V8's).
  • 35
    Mike Mawhirter Derby, Ks. June 4, 2014 at 19:28
    Ironically---I own and regularly drive a 90' MX-5 Miata and a 1963 Thunderbird. I wouldn't trade either one of them or would I compare them for only picking one. The Miata is a everyday driver and is superior in toughness and handling, and of course MUCH better in fuel economy. Also has a removable hardtop for better winter driving. The T-Bird however has better "WOW" factor which can't be denied and is more comfortable for the long drive. I'm keeping them both Mike M.
  • 36
    Henry Idaho June 4, 2014 at 19:28
    WHAAAT?? American icon T-Bird or a Miata POS??? Try a more fair comparison, like a T-Bird vs. Corvette, or Mustang, or LeSabre, or Polara. What man with an ounce of testosterone in his system would be caught dead in a Miata?
  • 37
    Jim Rio grande, nj June 4, 2014 at 20:07
    Being a part of the younger generation between these two cars (I'm 32), I have to go for the Miata. I'm a driver, not a cruiser. I like the comfort of a solid frame v8 that floats down the road, but as a owner of a 80 Triumph Spitfire, I'm a bit biased toward the Miata.
  • 38
    Howard Grant Canada June 4, 2014 at 20:09
    The Thunderbird is beautiful and eye candy but not what I would buy. The miata is very much like my Spitfire small and fun but my Spitfire gets lots of look's. Sorry Davin!
  • 39
    B. Michel N.W. Ohio June 4, 2014 at 20:09
    Currently have a 1992 Miata semi-track car. Racing beat suspension, Jackson Racing stainless exhaust with long-tube header, Koni adj. shocks, and large MAS & throttle body. Handles the road like it is on rails! Pretty obvious which way I'm voting.
  • 40
    Vaughn Kansas June 4, 2014 at 20:33
    Thunderbird hands down.
  • 41
    Judy Carson Valley June 4, 2014 at 20:44
    Of those two the Miata is much cuter but I'd take a '57 Chevy over both of those!
  • 42
    Bob Leonard NC June 4, 2014 at 21:42
    As a person's age seems to have the most to do with this discussion, I'll have to say the older cars are my favorite. I grew up in the 60's. I have both older and newer cars and they both have their good and bad points. I currently believe that the older cars will hold out in the long run as there will not be more "computer' related parts manufactured by aftermarket companies as time goes by. As it stands now, you can get most every part you need for the older collector cars. Don't think that will be the case for the newer cars in the future.
  • 43
    Drew SE Michigan June 4, 2014 at 21:52
    I actually own both a 1964 TBird convertible (Britany Blue Metallic) and a 2001 Miata (Arrest Me Red). This video was so right. The TBird is for cruising and being seen it. It represents a unique era as a differentiated full size convertible with a hard tonneau and an "aircraft-inspired" interior. The Miata is for enjoying twisting roads and rowing the gears... For doing it without fear of breaking something.
  • 44
    jay gerding United States June 4, 2014 at 21:59
    Much as I like open roadsters (i drive an MGB and TR8), I have t say that the mid 60's Tbirds are the most beautiful convertibles ever made. They are timeless.
  • 45
    Bob S. United States June 4, 2014 at 22:08
    You got to be kidding VS. these two cars is like , putting a 66 VW beetle up against a Rolls Royce.
  • 46
    Irv Johnson Central Illinois June 4, 2014 at 23:10
    I love old iron. Cars built during the 50's and 60's were art on wheels. Each manufacturer had it's own distinct styling. At just a glance you could tell whether it was a Chevy or Ford, a Cadillac or a Lincoln or Chrysler, a Pontiac or Buick, a mercury or Plymouth or Dodge. The 50's 60' and the early 70's were the hay days of the auto industry because of the styling, the performance, and the affordability. It is my opinion that the cars that are being built today, with a few exceptions like specialty cars such as the Corvette, Mustang, and a hand full others, will be long forgotten in forty or fifty years due to their lack of personality and their cookie cutter appearance. It is hard to tell one manufacturers car from another whether it be domestic or foreign. The current crop of cars just won't become collectibles or classics. Forty or Fifty years from now who in their right mind would pay a premium price for a 1980, 90, or 2000, Ford (any model), Chevy (any model except Corvette, Plymouth, Dodge, or Chrysler of any model, like they do for those forty and fifty year old models today? But then again, that is just my opinion.
  • 47
    Big Guy LA Area California June 4, 2014 at 23:31
    I am well over 6' tall. I cant even get half of me into the Miata! (I cant get into a 57 Vette either) It dont matter how good a car is if you can not fit inside. Maybe you want to compare the Miata to a pedal car that normal adults cant fit into.
  • 48
    Brian Chilliwack BC June 4, 2014 at 23:39
    I voted for the Miata because I would rather drive it as a daily driver over the thunderbird. But I would definitely rather take the thunderbird to a car show.
  • 49
    BILLY DUGGER Yorktown,IN June 4, 2014 at 12:40
    I like American cars best!
  • 50
    Kenny NW Louisiana June 4, 2014 at 12:49
    Neither of these could hold a candle to my '91 Buick Reatta convertible. GM just builds much better cars, hands down!
  • 51
    Herb W.Bloomfield,Mi. June 5, 2014 at 13:25
    I happen to like my 1985 300zx 2+2 better than either one of them
  • 52
    Glenn W S.E. WI June 5, 2014 at 13:35
    Jared beat me to it with the word "disposable" as that's what the Miata was designed as from the ground up. Fun to drive? Heck yes, but as valuable as last weekend's beer cans in the long run.
  • 53
    Patrick North Carolina June 5, 2014 at 16:31
    Classic Ford T-Bird all the way ! Own a Mazda, fun to drive but made cheaply and no way I see it lasting 50 yrs.
  • 54
    GA Wittsend Brick, NJ June 5, 2014 at 16:59
    Satabov Rate Grew up in this era and current looking for a 61-63 T-Bird (prefer the '63 with the hi-ouput 390 cid. The 1964 Convertible is a CLOSE 2nd.
  • 55
    Angelo Riccio Brampton, Ontario. Canada June 5, 2014 at 17:31
    T Bird. Hands Down. I have one T Bird In My collection of 90+ cars. National Show Winner 1957 E CODE.
  • 56
    CoolcarzMike Studio City CA June 5, 2014 at 18:53
    I am also lucky to own both of these cars. I enjoyed the episode and they raised some good points for both cars, but other then the fact that they are both convertibles they are in different worlds. I find my Miata to be a lot of fun and a great example of a true modern day "sports car". As they said, a lot of bang for the buck. I also feel that the Miata has some future collectibility. Low mile examples of first generations Miatas are already getting hard to find and pricey. But for pure cruise-ability I have to go with the Tbird. They also failed to even mention the elaborate "top into the trunk" convertible mechanism similar to the same era Lincolns. The Tbird wins on that fact alone. Always a crowd pleaser. They were also a little misleading on the Tbird production numbers. The overall total for '64 was 92,000 but they only made 9,198 convertibles. I truly enjoy both cars but I drive the Miata, and cruise the Tbird.
  • 57
    Dave Texas June 5, 2014 at 18:54
    Ford never built anything for public sale as good as my 91 Miata
  • 58
    Rich PA. June 5, 2014 at 18:58
    For me both are great.
  • 59
    Paul Holland, Mi June 5, 2014 at 07:07
    I have to say I like the Tbird, Not only because I have a rangoon red one, but I think the styling is much cooler than the mazda
  • 60
    Matthew Catlow Stilwell,OK June 5, 2014 at 19:36
    My grandfather has a 95 Miata. But I defiantly prefer the looks of the Thunderbird. An American Classic.
  • 61
    Matthew Catlow Stilwell,OK June 5, 2014 at 19:57
    My grandfather has a 95 Miata. But I defiantly prefer the looks of the Thunderbird. An American Classic.
  • 62
    Bob Verrmont June 5, 2014 at 08:02
    I'm 62 so I grew up with big V8s and cars like the T-Bird that were boats. Yes, it's flashy and nice for cruising, but c'mon, I want a car for driving, the Miata. I don't want my living room on wheels.
  • 63
    Cynthia J. Carrion United States June 5, 2014 at 08:39
    I have owned both, and though I did love my little Miata, I still own my 64 T'bird.
  • 64
    Tim Gross Demotte, In June 5, 2014 at 08:59
    My next Classic I am looking for A 64 65 Tbird. Preferably a convertible. A loaded one has some really cool interior features.
  • 65
    Bud Dealey Wilmington, NC June 5, 2014 at 09:03
    Why not both?? I have a 1990 Miata A package, purchased new, in the stable with 19,000, yes, 19,000 mires on it. We lived in Michigan for a lot of those years and it wasn't allowed out in the winter and overnight only on trips then a car cover. Terrific fun and stable at all speeds in all conditions. Hagerty's got good taste-also have a 72 Land Cruiser restored and a 1961 Corvair Monza, both also low mileage and purchased new, if Mom counts for the Corvair.(Both covered by newsletters.
  • 66
    Jim Orl fl. June 5, 2014 at 09:12
    The T bird is one of the most beautiful works of art ever made by man. The cockpit is out of a jet plane. It is a luxury car. My sister had a new 64 Blue hard top. Girls would go out with me just to ride in the car. What MAN would ever drive a Miata? It is an ugly girly go cart. Be real, compare a Tbird to a Vett maybe. real cars. Bird to vet maybe.
  • 67
    Dave Florida June 5, 2014 at 21:22
    Don't get in a wreck in the Masda you will not be a happy camper. Class , style , curb appeal is what the t bird has . Fifty years later when I drive my 64 t-bird drop top I get thumbs up every time I take it out . Let's see if the Masda is still running in thirty years . NO CONTEST it's the 64 T-bird !
  • 68
    Matthew Catlow Stilwell,OK June 5, 2014 at 21:22
    My Grandfather has a 95 Miata and I love it. But I would rather have an American Classic Especially a Ford Thunderbird.
  • 69
    steve Washington IL June 5, 2014 at 09:34
    What episode do we report on '69 Chevy Camaro? Editor's Note: @Steve, coming soon! In the next episode, the guys will talk Corvettes, but Camaros are on the docket this season, as well (and we just happen to have one handy: http://www.hagerty.com/camaroproject)
  • 70
    Tim Nipomo, CA June 5, 2014 at 09:39
    My daily driver is a 1965 Mustang, my weekend wrench is a 1966 Mustang, one of the cars that's finished in my garage is a 1937 ford pickup, and my next project is a 1964 convertible Thunderbird. At 17 years old, I'd say I go for the classics PLUS it's domestic made so T-Bird all the way!
  • 71
    Chuck Minn. June 5, 2014 at 09:50
    I have a 1990 Miata and like it but it only gets 32 m.p.g. with all that stupid fuel injection junk under the hood. Even my MG midget gets 36m.p.g. With two carbs. and point ignition. The Thunderbird is a much classier car and you can actually fix yourself!
  • 72
    Bobby Blurgrass June 5, 2014 at 09:51
    I agree with the others who said this is a bad comparison for older vs. newer. A "personal luxury" car vs. a two seater sports car? A 60s Alfa or MGB vs Miata or a 64 Thunderbird vs 80s T bird Turbo Coupe would make more sense. That being said, I'd rather look at the T-bird and drive the Miata. And I had a 64 T-bird coupe.
  • 73
    Clint Elvin West Caldwell , New Jersey June 5, 2014 at 09:56
    The Thunderbird is a " WoW ! "... The Mazda is a " what ? " ...
  • 74
    Jared California June 5, 2014 at 09:59
    this article misses its own point entirely. older vehicals were made with metal parts. metal parts that dont rot in the sun or degrade and crack because they were stored out side. Lets see your POS miata after 50 years.... They were simply build to be disposable. If you want to put money in to somthing put money in to somthing that will last. If you want a real car thats fun to drive. do your research.. pick up and austin healy or and MGB. To try and say old means slow and bulky is entirely stupid. I'm some what surprised hagerty would write such a bogus article.
  • 75
    Rick Florida June 5, 2014 at 10:28
    Truly the Miata is a modern day classic. I put over 300k miles on my '91 Miata and have it being restored. I own a '94 Miata that is daily driven. What more can you ask for, classic styling, a tremendous amount of parts, built like a tank yet nimble. Oh and for you testosterone challenged folk that think it is a girly car I say meet me at the track or Autocross.
  • 76
    Joe W Western NY June 5, 2014 at 10:34
    I voted for the Tbird. But the Mazda has it's place. No car fits every niche.
  • 77
    gary down south June 5, 2014 at 10:56
    Both cars are great in their own ways. But since I am budget and space limited I'd have to go with the Miata. Because it is easier to find and get parts for it I'd be able to drive it every day and thrash it if I wanted to. Those big 1960s cars make great cruisers but I'd have to drive it sparingly and treat it with kid gloves.
  • 78
    Denise L. Clumpner United States June 5, 2014 at 11:00
    Sorry, even some of us ladies are wondering what the heck we are even doing discussing a Miata here? Not worth the time or money. NOT a classic. NOT fast. Zero resale or investment value. I wouldn't date a guy who drove one. I wouldn't permit one in my garage. Give me good old American muscle any day!
  • 79
    Bob Niagara Falls ON. June 5, 2014 at 12:45
    I had a 1991 Miata LE and regret the day I sold it, however I would take the Tbird IF they were of equal value. The Tbird is a classic, gets the looks and great for cruising. BUT I would go out and buy another Miata in a heart beat as they are still cheap enough, and a blast to drive.
  • 80
    david phoenix az June 6, 2014 at 02:29
    T-BIRD HANDSDOWN AMERICAN MADE CLACCIS beautiful but Im a chevy guy after owning over 150 chevys its gm all the way convs 63then, 64, 62, 56, 58, 59, 57and 60 in that order of cores ss series Impalas belairs then a hadtop would b a 65. my opionion David. sorry mazda NO CONTEST A SQUERILY, LITTLE, SQURT not American and no stilley.........
  • 81
    Bob Wis June 6, 2014 at 07:41
    I can't fit in the Miata, but, the Aussie Ford/ mercury Capri fits just fine. Wish I could insure it as a collector car along with the others. (Hint hint)
  • 82
    Guy Forbes Lake Forest Park, WA June 6, 2014 at 08:23
    I thought when Ford came out with this version of a Thunderbird, it was the ugliest car on the road and also a "shop" car!
  • 83
    Jon Illinois June 6, 2014 at 21:51
    Have owned my 90 Miata since 93. Puts a huge smile on my face every time I go for a ride (Jackson Racing modifications improved the performance). Impossible to have more fun for the price. Had a huge impact on the auto industry. Had a 65 T-bird. Totally different type of car. Absolutely gorgeous and a great cruiser but not as fun as the perfectly balanced Miata.
  • 84
    Drew Appleton, Wisconsin June 6, 2014 at 09:57
    For ride, performance, looks and pure character, I'd go with the '64 T-Bird any day. Maybe I'm too old at 53, but the Miata strikes me as the perennial used car -- not old enough to be interesting, not new enough to be techy-cool. So I'll go T-Bird. And Jared above? Hey, you're a real ray of sunshine buddy!
  • 85
    Tracy B Alabama June 6, 2014 at 11:14
    I am a big guy. I need TWO Miatas, One for each foot! peace
  • 86
    Yuri NJ June 6, 2014 at 00:29
    Miata... i want to drive a car, no sail on the roads.
  • 87
    Josh Palm Coast, FL June 7, 2014 at 21:33
    My parents bought a 1965 Thunderbird convertable. I was 13. Had the sequential taillights. People would ask us to do the turn signal. Still remember that car. Sadly, a tree fell on it and totaled it.
  • 88
    Clay Minnesota June 10, 2014 at 14:21
    I wish we would have never sold the '66 T-bird that Dad owned. The T-bird wins anytime.
  • 89
    Paul Kettering, OH June 11, 2014 at 13:04
    I reluctantly agree with Matt (daily driver) but that's as far as it goes - the looks, sound & style of the Bird takes it hands down - it's like comparing a crotch rocket vs a Harley - the CR will outperform an H-D but who cares, not me! give me style & comfort any day
  • 90
    David Eureka, CA June 11, 2014 at 01:20
    That T-Bird and I are the same age, borne in 64, and prettier than me by far, but I own a 99 MX5. LOADS of fun, and even though it doesn't have the horses, it can out drive the T-Bird hands down.
  • 91
    Marty Maryland June 11, 2014 at 10:22
    How can a car like the Miata be "fun to drive" when my lawn tractor has a bigger motor and more style? I'll take my lawn tractor and the T-Bird! LOL
  • 92
    Larry L Broken Arrow, Ok June 12, 2014 at 13:51
    Many years ago owned a 1966 Thunderbird with 428 Cubic Inch engine and Four Barrel Carb. It had a lot of extras including rear window defroster, power windows, power door locks many other options. It was great car very low to the ground and boy on the open highway would really cruise!
  • 93
    Philip Lau Nyc June 12, 2014 at 22:50
    Classic all the way
  • 94
    Michael Noblesville,IN. June 16, 2014 at 22:25
    No Comparison! Keep the jap-crap out of a classic car article. T-Bird ten thousand times over that little hamster mobile, I would crush it day in and day out in my classic '77 Cutlass Supreme!!!
  • 95
    carl kelly St thomas ontario June 17, 2014 at 13:04
    I drive a 99 mustang gt convertible my son has a Miata I like to feel the power in the car I drive when im in the Miata I feel like my bum is dragging on the road t-bird for me all the way you don't even have to drive it you can see the power old school is best
  • 96
    Kurt Graber Wylie, Texas June 19, 2014 at 20:52
    Yes, the 64 T-bird may not handle as well as the MX-5 but then again, your missing the point of having and driving a vintage T-Bird. When I need to hit the twistys hard, I roll out my RX-8!
  • 97
    Ricky McGill SC June 19, 2014 at 22:53
    I have a 1999 Miata. Which has more power and looks better then the 1991 Miata. I've had it since 2003, it has been the funnest car to drive. But, there is no way I pick it over the T-Bird. Give me that red T-Bird any day.
  • 98
    Gunnar Lacy Marion, Iowa June 20, 2014 at 16:20
    really......I mean really.......are you kidding me........really........a Miata......a t-bird would crush that car. they need to show a crash test :) t-bird hands down
  • 99
    Carl Montreal, Canada June 21, 2014 at 22:48
    I owned a 1990 Miata, 1994 Miata, two 1996 Miata, and my all time favorite a 1997 Miata STO. There are very few cars that are as enjoyable as a miata. I have also owned a 2001 Audi TT 225 Quattro Roadster and today I am currently driving a 2013 Audi S5 convertible. As much as I love my Audi I always catch myself looking through my old miata pictures reminiscing on how much fun and inexpensive it was to own. Miata all the way for me!
  • 100
    Bob Hood Fallston, MD July 2, 2014 at 15:39
    So how did the voting end up on this one??
  • 101
    JimmyMack Md July 30, 2014 at 01:23
    I think I can speak for everyone here. The T-Bird is stylish. The Miata is a pod. Its obvious the T-Bird is the BIG winner here.
  • 102
    Dave L.I. N.Y. September 8, 2014 at 15:48
    I have a 1965 classic car (not a T-Bird) But it is beautiful. I also have a 1994 Miata which is very dependable and alot of fun to drive. I can only say I am lucky enough to have both.
  • 103
    MYTFAST Maryland September 18, 2014 at 07:03
    My son had an early 90's Miata (bought after college) and I have a 1964 TBird conv (bought & restored in the late 70's). The TBird is unique & a time capsule for unique styling, it draws a crowd when I drop the top (which retracts into the trunk like the older ford retractable hardtops). You can go 100 mph down the remote areas of a country expressway & it rides like you're going 50. Incredible low profile 4 seater that's so solid that it feels like your riding in a concrete block. The sides of the TBird actually have a lower profile than my 69 Mustang! By contrast, the Miata at 50 feels like it's going 100 (although you may have to wait a bit while the Miata struggles to get to 50) . I've always likened the Miata to riding in a tuna fish can with wheels. However, it is a fun car for anyone who can't afford something better. I also have a 65 TBird that is currently under restoration. If you can afford a pleasure cruiser & the gas mileage that comes with the 390 V8, then you'll enjoy the ride & looks you get when out in the TBird!
  • 104
    Barry Iverson Spokane Wa. October 7, 2014 at 14:30
    T-Bird of course. I have a 65 Convertible, I love it and we get thumbs up all tine.
  • 105
    Dick Reel LaPorte, In. October 31, 2014 at 19:29
    I have had 3 Miata's (90,94,99) and now have a 2004 BMW Z4. I still like the Miata's much better. The 64 thunderbird is not comparable. It's a family car.
  • 106
    Gordon Chatham, Ontario Canada December 23, 2014 at 21:16
    I have owned my 1964 Thunderbird since 1967 and it is the most comfortable car I have ever owned on a long trip. As for the Miata if you want a small convertible go for a 2002 to 05 Thunderbird, a blast to drive, V8 power and it will kick the a-- of the Miata all day long. I have both T-Birds so I got the best of both worlds.
  • 107
    Evan San Diego February 3, 2015 at 16:07
    I'd pick the T-Bird, and comparing to the Miata, I own a 1968 Autostick VW beetle,so I do like small cars, I just think some people don't understand the beauty, time and thought of the inside dash/seats and outside chrome and emblems on an old car. Hey, being 22, and having a classic car as your daily driver, you can't beat that.
  • 108
    Skeezix Midwest February 17, 2015 at 16:58
    This comparison isn't even apples and oranges, it's apples and velvet paintings.
  • 109
    Aubie Auburn, AL February 17, 2015 at 21:13
    Miata ALL DAY over the lead sled Thunderbird
  • 110
    Ron Palm Winston-Salem,NC February 25, 2015 at 18:13
    Both are beautiful and should be appreciated. I just do not think they should be compared against each other. could have been 1964 T-Bird vs 1991 Mercedes-Benz E Class Cabriolet 1991 Mazda vs 1964 Lotus Elan 26R etc. There are many other
  • 111
    Bill Central New York February 25, 2015 at 20:17
    I have 3 60's Mustangs and they are fun, loud and 1 stupid fast. 65' 347 Stroker 5-speed, 66' 289 4-speed and a 69' Mach 1 351-4v Close ratio 4-speed. BUT we also have a 2012' Miata Special Edition, modern, 33 mpg, 6 speed, performance handling for those nice top down cruises on the windy gorge road!
  • 112
    Mike Rion Southern California February 26, 2015 at 03:44
    Having owned both cars at one time or another the decision isn't even difficult. Miata all the way for a road trip, but I'd rather take the T-Bird to a cruise night.
  • 113
    Dieter Harre Sky Valley, Ga. February 26, 2015 at 08:19
    I just love that T-Bird, my kind of Car. Thank you Ford. Sincerely Dieter Harre.
  • 114
    Jim Canada February 27, 2015 at 15:25
    Miata all the way. There is no better feeling then cruising down a hilly country road bright sunshine cool breeze and your best gal inches away
  • 115
    Rick Oregon City, OR March 4, 2015 at 20:00
    I have recently thought about buying a Miata for the fun to drive quotient and low maintenance cost. The T-bird is nice to look at, but I would not want to maintain it. I just sold my 86 Mercedes 560SL even though I loved driving it. Reason was the cost part of the equation.
  • 116
    Mike Schaller California March 4, 2015 at 22:42
    I vote for the T-BIrd b/c you can't find many that nice. If you're going to get a Miata, why not get a newer one with better, more modern features
  • 117
    Del Cranford asheboro, nc March 5, 2015 at 13:56
    I have a 64 Thunderbird and mine has the back seat cover which makes it look like a 2 seater. I love it and definitely vote for the TBIRD.
  • 118
    Edward Valade Ontario, Canada March 28, 2015 at 17:22
    would personally prefer the Mazda Miata
  • 119
    J-F Lavallée Laval, Qc, Canada August 13, 2015 at 21:38
    I have never been able to drive a 1st gen Miata. Not even enough space for my head. However, I always liked the 61-66 convertibleThunderbirds, they very stylish but I prefer the 61-63 model.
  • 120
    Eric Baldwin San Jose, CA June 25, 2016 at 21:26
    The Thunderbird is too much eye candy to ignore. It clearly out classes the Miata despite the insanely fun 5 speed.

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