RICHMOND HILL, Ontario – For 27 years, the Mazda MX-5, otherwise known as the Miata, has changed the way we think of cars, and garnered a cult following in the process.
It all started with a sketch from Bob Hall, then General Manager of Product Planning and Tom Matano, the former Vice President of Design who put together a design for Mazda of a small, low-to-the-ground, lightweight sports car. The two-seat roadster was simply about driving fun—a concept that preached “less is more.”
The MX-5 would grow to be more than just a cult following, but a global sensation as the best-selling two-seat, rear-drive roadster. It's now into its fourth generation with a lighter package and bold looks, yet more in line with some of the basic philosophies found in the original Miata, code-name NA.
Millionth MX-5 Miata Celebration Tour
Back in April 2016, Mazda produced the one-millionth MX-5 and to celebrate that achievement, they created a global tour for that special car. The tour began on April 22, 2016 on home soil in Japan, with multiple stops made in Europe and the United States, before heading to Canada for its only stop at Mazda Canada headquarters in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
The tour provided a chance for owners and fans to come together and celebrate the joys of the MX-5 and their personal stories along the way. The parking lot was full of old and new MX-5s—almost as if it was its own museum exhibit. It was fascinating to see the differences between the tricked-out custom MX-5s and the pure classic NAs and NBs which hadn't been toyed with. On a rainy day, some MX-5 owners couldn't resist keeping their tops down and enjoying the breeze come across their face.
In total, close to 250 people joined the celebration with 10 of the 18 Canadian MX-5 clubs present, thanks to some travel assistance from Mazda Canada. On hand were giveaway t-shirts, hats, customized miniature license plates and cake, but the one thing everyone had their sights on was the right-hand drive, millionth-edition MX-5 with a soft top.
As an added bonus, they all had the chance to put their mark on the millionth edition with a signature in one of the over 13,500 dedicated spots that surround the exterior of the roadster. It was a special moment, especially for MX-5 owners who truly feel a part of the roadster's success, and now thanks to Mazda, they can literally be a part of history.
The hidden secret underneath
Signing the MX-5 on its own felt surreal, but then we were tipped off about some secret signatures that were hidden underneath the hood. A hush came over the crowd as the hood was lifted to unveil an abundance of signatures from designers, engineers and everyone who has worked on the MX-5 since its humble beginnings in 1989. To the “oohs” and “aahs” that were heard in the building, it felt as if we uncovered a hidden chest of gold. And that's exactly what it was to these loyal customers; a special scene indeed.
After the one-day stop in Toronto, the Millionth MX-5 will be on display at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in November, followed by stops in Australia and New Zealand before eventually resting in the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima.