Many car enthusiasts will happily tell you that a Mazda Miata is always the answer to every question (Miata Is Always The Answer). Want a superb roadster? Miata. Need a cute convertible? Miata. Running from the IRS? Miata! Logically, this means the answer to your off-roading desires also requires you to purchase a Miata. Look, those are the rules, I don’t make them! I’ve seen a lot of off-road Miatas over the years, but I think I’ve found my favorite. This Japanese Domestic Market Eunos Roadster import was at one point a sporty car with a Ferrari 250 GTO-like body kit, then someone took it, slapped on a lift kit and chunky tires, then took the doors off. It’s silly and impractical and I’m here for it.
Doing a lot of Gambler 500 runs teaches you a lot of things. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that a lot of folks actually have more fun modifying and off-roading a road vehicle than something that was actually built for the task. Why buy a Jeep or a side-by-side when a $500 Toyota Corolla, an angle grinder, and used mud tires will do the trick? So, I’m enamored by this 1992 Mazda Eunos Roadster for sale on Cars & Bids that’s been turned into a battle car. I just want to put on a pair of aviators and then hit the desert in this bad boy.
The Miata isn’t just an excellent roadster, but a cultural phenomenon. Car enthusiasts from multiple generations love the Miata and its overall excellent package. There are not many cars that offer top-down fun, sharp handling, a compact size, and affordability in one attractive package. The MX-5 Miata is so good that there have been many competitors over the years, all of them trying to capture the magic of nearly everyone’s favorite Mazda. Mazda’s brilliant roadster is so famed that as we learned earlier this year from the CEO of Mazda’s European arm, Martijn ten Brink, the Miata is basically eternal.
That’s great! Even I’ve been bitten by the Miata bug after taking an early ND for a spin. Part of what makes the Miata so awesome is how versatile it is as a platform. There have been barchetta-style Miatas, like the Gorgona Cars NM Concept:
There have been exoskeletal kit cars based on Miatas, like an Exomotive Exocet:
Someone even turned a Miata into a pickup truck!
That’s barely scratching the surface! There’s also at least one Miata four-seater rolling around out there:
In other words, if you can dream it, some builder with a Miata could probably create it. One of my favorite genres of Miata is the MX-5 off-roadster. Contributor and all-around badass Emme Hall has an epic off-road Miata and I’ve seen a ton of them in the Gambler 500. A friend of mine, Austin, used to have a Franken-Miata build of his own before the poor car got wrecked.
Yet, none of the off-road Miatas I’ve seen looked like the one up for grabs on Cars & Bids. This car started off life as a 1992 Mazda Eunos Roadster. Indeed, this car is not a North American market special, but a car originally sold in Japan with a name for that market. You’ve probably read the Miata’s story numerous times, but here’s how Mazda describes how the car came to be in Japan:
Mazda revived the lightweight sports car that was popular in the 1960’s in Europe and called it the first-generation Roadster. The car was launched in 1989 in its home country bearing Mazda’s new sales channel name, Eunos. Priced at 1,700,000 yen, pre-sale order taking events at venues across Japan attracted enthusiastic buyers. The enthusiasm soon spread around the world with the Roadster’s “fun to drive” coming out of Mazda’s pursuit of Jinba-ittai, a refreshing driving experience in an open-top sports car and emotional, cute design. The Eunos Roadster opened up new ways for people to enjoy driving through one make races and spawned a community of the Roadster fans and owners to share their passion.
Anyway, this 1992 Eunos Roadster is a first-generation vehicle that was sold in Japan and was imported into America just last year. This is what it looked like back then:
At some point in the car’s life, it got a Monocraft body kit. Monocraft is a custom parts subsidiary of Japan parts and accessories chain Autobacs. Think of Autobacs as Japan’s equivalent of O’Reilly Auto Parts. But that’s maybe a bad comparison because Autobacs is more than just a parts chain. Back in 2001, Autobacs bought out tuner and manufacturer Tommy Kaira to create Autobacs SportsCar Laboratory.
A body kit for a Miata isn’t unusual, as a number of companies have sold all sorts of kits to turn your Miata into other cars. Ever wanted your Miata to look like a Chevy Corvette? Pick up the Mitsuoka Rock Star kit. Maybe your speed is more Aston Martin, in which case the AMX07 is your kit.
In this case, this Eunos Roadster sports an apparently rare Monocraft kit that makes the car look like a Ferrari 250 GTO. When this car arrived in America and was sold on Cars & Bids back in March, the car sported TEIN coilovers, a Bride Low Max driver seat, a Nardi steering wheel, and a list of other options. The buyer paid $15,800 for this car and then turned it into something even more wild.
The car had a set of newer Miata wheels on it, but those were tossed out for Bassett Racing Wheel 15-inch wheels. On them, you get 235/70R15 Forceum ATZ tires. The Tcoilovers remain but the car is now raised with a Paco Motorsports lift kit. The buyer, now seller, added other bits here and there such as RaceQuip safety nets, tow bar attachment points, headlight covers, sweet rally lights, wheel arches, and more. Sadly, the air-conditioning has been removed, but you do get vinyl flooring and the original doors should you decide to tame the beast.
Power comes from a 1.6-liter four making 118 horsepower and 101 lb-ft torque. Those beans reach the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission and a 1.5-way limited-slip differential. Even with the lower output and the big tires, I bet this thing is a blast in the dirt or on trails. The car has just the equivalent of 47,800 miles, too. Having an off-road Miata that looks like a Ferrari is bound to get you so many questions and comments.
If you’re looking to join the ranks of people with silly Miatas, this 1992 Eunos Roadster is currently bidding at $5,800 with two days to go at Cars & Bids. The car’s located in Florida, which might make it one of the coolest things in the state right now. Please do buy it, then let me take it for a spin on a Gambler 500. I promise I won’t break its suspension.
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