Your complete guild to the best and worst paint jobs offered by Mazda on the NA Miata.

Full disclaimer: there are potentially a small number of Austrialian and Japanese specific colors that were left out, but it’s also very possible that those colors are just named differently in different markets and are in fact represented down below. Are you an expert in all things Miata? Feel free to drop a knowledge bomb in the comments below! Without any further ado, let’s get started!


Silverstone: An original first-year color, and objectively the worst one ever available for the NA. With the worst sales of all colors in each year silver was offered—by far—it’s surprising that Mazda kept it around for so long. Even a pristine, all original roadster does little to improve the viewing pleasure of this bland silver. Mazda later rectified this by offering multiple gorgeous greys on the NB, but for the NA, Silverstone should be avoided like the plague.

An effort was made to find the best photo for every color. Unfortunately there’s only so much one can do to paint Silverstone in a pleasing light.

Crystal White: almost as bad as Silverstone, Crystal White is a particularly unbecoming color for the 1st gen Miata. This and Mariner Blue—mentioned further down the list—are all but impossible to find in decent shape, and tend to look dramatically worse with a bit of wear and tear than the other colors on the list.

You’ll never see (an original) white this clean in the wild, which is a shame as the above Miata is almost palatable.

Brilliant Black: Despite the name, there’s very little brilliance to this paint job. Mazda was clearly putting it’s money into the sporting aspects of the car, and not the paint. That’s something that is very much apparent for the first half of this list. Over the years, Brilliant black has been offered with both tan and red interiors for the NA. While black over red sounds nice in theory... The low quality paint job coupled with Mazdas strangely colored red interior make for a tacky combo. The black and Tan however is quite handsome if well-maintained.

For the hairy-chested, gold chain wearing senior citizen who can’t quite swing payments for the ‘Vette.
Simple, understated and classy. One of the better paint choices if you desire a tan interior Miata.

Mariner Blue: Take Ford’s Grabber/Nitrous Blue, remove a bit of depth and a bit of saturation, and you’re left with Mariner Blue. No color so greatly depicts “$300 Maaco special” than Mariner Blue. Certainly not awful, but with the surprisingly wide array of blue’s Mazda has given us, this one should be at the bottom of your list.

It’s hard to describe just how terrible this color looks when faded. So instead we’re just going to again mention how nice the Black & Tan combo looks.

Classic Red: The quintessential Miata color, and by far the best seller. There’s a hint of depth and overall it responds quite well to a good detailing, but as far as red goes this particular paint is nothing special. Credit where credit is due, Modern-day Mazda sure knows how to make a gorgeous red.

Ducati, Ferrari... Miata? Just because they’re most well-known in red doesn’t mean that’s the correct choice to make. Live a little.

Laguna Blue: With a slight sheen almost reminiscent of a wrap, Laguna blue is just different enough to earn last place in the “good colors” side of things. Be warned, it starts looking a bit strange when faded.

Up close under direct sunlight, this color has a bit of a “matte chameleon” effect. There is quite literally no other color like it on the original NA, but weather that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I’ll leave for you to decide.

British Racing Green: entering the scene in 1991, the BRG Miata was the first special edition offered by Mazda. Hands-down the best color to showcase Mazda’s traditional flat paint, the lack of sheen suited this dark green so much better than the lighter colored offerings. That becomes even more true as the years and miles pile on, and UV exposure takes it’s toll on the clear coat of roadsters worldwide. Even faded, BRG somehow manages to stay quite handsome.

Not your grandfather’s roadster.

Montego Blue Mica: If ever a Miata would be mentionable in the same sentence as “premium”, it would be a Miata done up in Montego Blue Mica. While not *truly* chameleon in nature, MBM has a huge color pallette hidden within it’s inky depths. Dark blue to black with a healthy serving of green under most circumstances, purples and lighter blues find themselves swimming among the layered paint as well.

Notice all that metal flake? The gold mica makes Montego Blue appear aqua-marine in direct sunlight.

Starlight Mica: if you think of Starlight Blue Mica as a Montego Blue Mica with the green pigments removed, you’d be correct. A bit darker with a deeper blues, this is a very rare color. It’s also quite tricky to distinguish from the other blue micas to the untrained eye.

In low light, the above combo is like a more lustrous version of Black & Tan. When the sun comes out, blues slowly start to peek out from their homes deep within the inky blackness.

Merlot Mica: The velvet robe to British Racing Green’s field jacket. With the Mica paintwork, Mazda finally decided to offer a higher quality paint job. With a bit of metal flake, and quite a bit of depth, the only factory purple Miata ever made is .quietly stunning. Vivid enough to be unashamedly purple, dark enough to be unquestionably formal, this is one hell of a color.

This is the one you want.

Excellent Green Mica: BRG is a flat single stage paint, whereas Mazda’s green Mica is a mettalic paint with an abundance of metal flake and pearl. Scroll back up to the BRG and the difference will be readily apparent.

Again, thanks to the gold mica this paint is absolutely radiant day or night.

Twilight Blue Mica: for Twilight Blue, the mica is silver, as apposed to the gold found in the other Mica Blues above. This gives it an absolutely stunning level of depth and saturation. Another rare color, it can easily be the star of the show, or a supporting member to a cast full of Miatafications.

Stock has never looked so good.

Sunburst yellow: stealing a place in our hearts since 1992, “the yellow Miata” perfectly embodies the charm of our favorite little roadster. With roughly 1500 examples ever created, a well-maintained example will now command a hefty premium.

LS swap for the ultimate sleeper. Don’t forget the mufflers!

And there you have it. A ranking of every NA Miata color from worst to best. Moral of the story? Unless you’re lucky enough to grab a Sunburst Yellow Miata, you want a Mica paint job.


Let me know what your dream color is, and come back next time where we’ll be tackling the 2nd generation... NB!

Share This Story

Get our newsletter