Project with central engine and propulsion
Before the front engine, rear-wheel drive MX-5 we all know and love, there were three platforms that vied for Mazda's affections. One of them was the rear-mid engine, rear-wheel-drive project in the photo above.
Can you imagine what the venerable MX-5 would be like if it sported this layout today?
Fortunately, of Mazda's competing designs, the front engine, rear-wheel drive option was selected. These two were the prototypes; the one up front was a working one while the one behind was just a model.
MX-5 Mk I (NA)
The first-generation MX-5 was introduced in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show and was in production until 1997. Its most prominent design was the retractable headlights.
An electric prototype of the MX-5 was created in 1993 with the help of Chugoku Electric Power. It could reach a top speed of 80 miles per hour and had a range of 110 miles. It's also substantially heavier than the petrol-powered car, weighing around 1,400 kilos. Subsequently, a hydrogen prototype version of the MX-5 was also born.
M Speedster Concept
The M Speedster Concept was conceived in 1995 and featured a small windscreen with side mirrors mounted on the A-pillars.
M Coupe Concept
In 1996, the M Coupe Concept was introduced at the New York Auto Show. It had a 1.8-litre engine that could produce 133 horsepower. Unfortunately, it never made it to the assembly line.
MX-5 Mk II (NB)
The second-generation Mazda MX-5 (codenamed NB) was introduced in 1997 but went on sale in 1998 as a 1999 model. Confusing, isn't it? It disappointed some of the fans, too, after it dropped the retractable headlights.
Debuted at the 2000 SEMA, the Mono-Posto Concept imposes a retro-flavoured single-seat body and a turbocharged inline-four 1.8-litre engine with 190 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque.
MX-5 Mk II (NB) Coupe
Towards the end of the MX-5 NB's production, a coupe version was made but only sold in Japan. Only 179 units were made with just 63 of those accounted for by the 160 bhp 'S' version.
MX-5 Mk III (NC)
The third-generation MX-5 NC was born in 1995 and went on production for 10 years until 2015. This was the first MX-5 to have a power retractable hard top version, which became the predecessor to the gorgeous RF (Retractable Fastback) version we know and love today.
MX-5 Superlight Concept
On its 20th anniversary, Mazda introduced the MX-5 Superlight Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It only had 126 horses, but it also boasted very little weight, allowing it to go from 0 to 62 mph in 8.9 seconds.
MX-5 GT Concept
The MX-5 GT Concept was unveiled in 2012. It was developed by race specialist Jota Sport. Apart from its specialist suspension and interior, its most notable trait was the 208-horsepower 2-litre engine that that resided under its bonnet.
MX-5 Super 25 Concept
The MX-5 Super25 Concept was conceived with endurance racing in mind. It was introduced in 2012 as a tribute to the brand's historic 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans win.
MX-5 Mk IV (ND)
The current-generation MX-5 ND was unveiled in 2014 and considered one of the sexiest roadster in the market today. It has a retractable fastback (RF) version and comes with two engine choices. After a 2018 update, a modified engine gave the roadster more oomph with 181 horsepower.
MX-5 Number 1,000,000
The millionth Mazda MX-5 came off the production line on April 22, 2016 after 27 years and four generations of the world's best-selling roadster.
MX-5 Spyder Concept
The MX-5 Spyder Concept was introduced at the 2015 SEMA alongside the Speedster Concept. It showcased the car's lightweight construction with its bikini top and carbon-fibre aerodynamic body kits, allowing it to just weigh 1,042 kg.
MX-5 Speedster Evolution Concept
The Speedster Evolution was an attention-grabbing machine at the 2016 SEMA. Further stripping down on weight, the concept was claimed to be under the 2,000-lb (907 kg) mark. Even its aesthetic was stripped down, donning a white and black theme, inside and out.
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