30th Anniversary Edition Mazda Miata is somehow not a roadster

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the world’s most beloved, best-selling roadster—the Mazda MX-5 Miata. The cooperative brainchild of Mazda’s USA and Japanese operations, the Miata single-handedly rescued the affordable roadster tradition and introduced an entire generation to the joy of driving an open-air sports car. And now, three decades after its debut at the 1989 Chicago auto show, Mazda is bringing something special to the 2019 Chicago Auto Show—a 30th Anniversary Edition.

But there’s something afoul here, if you take a look at Mazda’s teaser for the 30th Anniversary Miata. The blurry image, and the barely discernible roofline, would suggest that this special Miata will be based on the targa-top Miata RF. As in, not a roadster. My head hurts.

The 25th Anniversary Edition Miata, a 2015 limited-run car of 100 examples that was based on the NC-generation’s power-retractable hardtop model, sold out in 10 minutes. That car combined some special bits, including stiffer Bilstein shocks, a unique off-white interior, special badging, and a contrasting black roof. It was available with both an automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

This upcoming 30th Anniversary Edition Mazda Miata will likely adopt the same look, albeit (most likely) on an RF foundation. While that seems somewhat sacreligious, at least the Miata (as of 2019) now revs faster and has 181 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque, up 26 hp and 3 lb-ft from before. And we expect the 30th Anniversary car to crib the Bilstein shocks and limited-slip differential from the Miata Club, combined with a unique leather interior and all the top equipment from the Grand Touring trim.

The Mazda Miata 30th Anniversary Edition will be revealed at the Chicago Auto Show on February 7-8.

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