Kimiko Kidd
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What Makes the NA Mazda Miata a Great Restoration Project?

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First-gen Mazda Miata
Photo: Bruno Kussler Marques

If you’ve ever wanted to get into vehicle restoration, but weren’t sure where to begin, the NA Mazda Miata is a great starter model. Its straightforward design, affordable price tag, and thriving fan community all take the hassle out of your first foray into the world of car restoration. Here’s a closer look at this classic convertible’s perks.

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Easy access to critical parts

auto mechanic repair tools

US News praises the first-gen Miata as one of the easiest cars to maintain, and once you pop open the hood, you’ll see why. The first-gen Miata is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive model, giving you plenty of room to work. That makes it a breeze to swap the engine in a single afternoon. You can even switch out the timing belt in just a few hours — without even moving the engine!

The NA Miata’s simple, durable parts make it easy for even beginning mechanics to work on. You won’t have to disassemble much to access other parts. For instance, you won’t even have to take anything apart to swap out the shock or spring coilover. On top of that, the NA Miata is a popular model, so you won’t have any trouble finding aftermarket parts to customize your ride. Mazda even offers original parts for this classic car.


Money Wallet
Photo: 401(K) 2012

Let’s be real — if you’re getting started on a new hobby, like vehicle restoration, you don’t want massive startup costs. That’s what makes the NA Miata a brilliant pick — many used, beat-up models can cost as little as $1,500. If you’d rather have one in better condition, expect to shell out $6,000-$10,000.

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A thriving community

computer laptop office woman(1)

The internet is teeming with knowledgeable Miata fans. Check out Miata-centric forums to get the scoop on various Miata tips, tricks, and issues. For example, while there aren’t many issues that crop up in the Miata, helpful forum members will gladly assist you in diagnosing any problems with your model. It’s way easier, faster, and cheaper to consult a knowledgeable fanbase than it is to call in a mechanic for every leak, busted belt, and burnt fuel pump. And since NA Miata parts are common and affordable, you’ll have your car working good as new in no time flat, without breaking your budget.