Like many opponauts, you probably often find yourself yearning for a coupe version of the MX-5. It goes like this:
"Ahh, if only Mazda made a coupe MX-5, the world would be a better place..."
I know, I've said it too. But what if I told you that it exists? And that's it's been mass produced by Mazda?
Well it has.
Back in 2003, Mazda offered a coupe Mazda Roadster for the Japanese market. These RHD-only cars were available with the base 1.6 engine (125hp, 5-speed), as well as with the 1.8 engine (158hp, 6-speed manual or 4-speed auto). And we didn't know about it.
The exact number produced is unknown (more on that in a bit), but is believed to be between 500 and 1000 cars. The shells started as roadster which were then modified into a coupe (before assembly), so it's not an entirely new shell but not a retrofit either. Adding the fixed roof actually increased the car's total weight by about 10kg, and thus made it a little slower in a straight line, though the presence of a roof did increase rigidity, which improved the car's handling. Having a roof also freed created a storage space behind the seats:
In addition, and to add to the weirdness, Mazda actually produced several variants of the NB coupe:
Base and Type S:
Those cars shared the same global design as the roadsters, save for the addition of ... well, the roof. Base models had the 1.6 engine with a Japan-rating of 125hp (mostly thanks to higher octane fuel), and Type S versions had 158hp from the 1.8 liter engine, with the 6-speed manual box.
Then came the weird versions, starting with...
The Type A:
This car was supposed to have an "Authentic design reminiscent of traditional racing cars", which is press blurb for a different bumper, fender extensions and a ducktail. Only 200 made, and only with the 1.8 and the 6-speed.
in real life:
And the fancy ducktail:
And then there was its weird sister..
The Type E:
This is the one with a "refined an elegant design" ("we made it look ungainly"), meant to be more about luxury than speed. 150 were made, all with the detuned 154hp 1.8 liter and the 4-speed autobox.
And in the real world:
Now at this point, some of you probably find themselves wanting to own one ("but not the Type E"). If you're in the US, you may or may not be able to register it by saying it's similar to the US NB Miata (like some people imported B5 RS4's). It might not be easy though. If you live in Europe, things might get quite a bit more complicated, but a Danish owner manager to register one.
They're not cheap though, and will fetch around 30 000$ on the used Japanese car market.
Though they look pretty and are quite desirable, I still think an NC softtop with the fixed hardtop looks better. But I was glad to learn about another car I did not know about.