So folks this car is amazing. Bought back in 1989 and was the 2,355 built. Mom drove it for 20yrs until coming down with Cancer, so she sat in the garage for 5yrs. Recently, dad gave it to me with just a few minor problems. He had stripped the bolt head on the #4 spark plug..fixed. New tires and a good wax down. Now, I drive this on most days. She has 64k on her and runs great. I replaced the computer and updated that. Cleaned out the drains due to minor clogs. Just love it. I've been told and warned if I sell it I would be disowned from the Family. Now, this is the car wonderful and for the folks that have low miles....bank!!!
I bought my 1990 just 2 years ago. It was an early Christmas present to myself. I had admired the Miatas but just never bought one.
Believe me I am making up for lost time. Excellent commuter car, great gas mileage, easy to park, zips all over, looks fabulous and I always have a smile on my face.
I gave it new rims and a new top. I have only had to replace a few minor parts that 25 years dictated needing to be replaced. But nothing major at all. This is the little car that next quits. I am in love !!
Gas mileage, easy parking, responsive engine, comfortable layout, solid steering, sport looks
25 years old and still running strong on the same engine? No improvements needed that I can see.
A great car!!!! I have had mine since December of 1989 and have 115,000 miles on it.
But as my wife points out, it's hell when your mid-life crisis car is 24 years old!
There is one problem to watch out for if you buy a '90.
Some of them have the infamous crankshaft problem.
It usually appears after the timing belt has been replaced and additional miles put on the car.
Mine appeared at about 95000 miles.
The problem has to do with the design of the crankshaft nose, keyway, cam drive sprocket and pulley bolt.
The key was designed too short.
For a good discussion of this problem see www.miata.net/garage/crankshaft.html.
I had to replace the engine with one from a '92.
This car is flat out fun to drive.
Not the fastest in the world but plenty peppy.
The stick clutch combo is outstanding.
Could use a slightly more powerful engine.
The later models have upped the engine power but they seem to have lost the original spirit of the '90.
Watch tire selection - the wrong tire can cause vibrations.
Having gone through the difficult choice of selling my 2011 Camaro V6 to pay for school, the time came to choose something that was equally fun to drive, cheap to insure for a 22yo guy, and easy for me to work on. I had always loved the Miata, and I found my little gem; an early build 1990 model with only 78,000mi. I couldn't be happier, I have yet to tire of driving it, and living in Texas, I can have the top down almost every day, which is a great thing for me. Aside from replacing a few worn out parts, it has been faultlessly reliable, and easily the most grin inducing car out of the many I have owned or fixed up. A highly recommended purchase for those who can accommodate such a car!
Obviously handling takes premise over raw power with this car, 115hp won't blaze you through a stoplight, but it will grip corners like a limpet. Combine that with direct and communicative steering, a pedal-shifter arrangement from heaven, and a nice little 4cyl burble, and you've got the best driving experience this side of a Lotus Elise, with astonishingly cheap maintenance and an abundance of parts to boot. You can't help but crack a smile rowing through the gears on some twisty backroad on a warm day with the top laid back, and the radio off.
Being 23 years old, one will inevitably run into some issues here and there, namely with spark plug wires, water pumps, slave cylinders, etc, but with simple mechanical knowledge and an abundance of inexpensive parts, it really isn't as big a deal as it seems. The short gearing means the little 1.6 is buzzing everywhere you go(4000rpm at 75mph!), the lack of sound insulation means a lot of road and engine noise with the top up. Also, those on the taller side may want to test drive first, I stand a lanky 6'2", and it is quite a squeeze to get in, especially with the top up! My head easily touches the roof if I sit up straight. But once I'm settled in, it's as comfy as can be.