Someone has dared to create the rally version of the Mazda MX-5

The off-road fun of the Porsche 911 Dakar 2023 is not cheap: only the Rally package, which is optional, costs 30,000 euros… and the model itself starts at 256,042 euros. For those who dream of a sports car prepared to leave the asphalt and cannot afford such a whim, there is a much more affordable option: this 1992 Mazda MX-5 NA, which costs much less.

Transformations of this type began as simple modifications that teams made to their cars so that they could survive the Safari Rally during the 70s and 80s. Therefore, the original modifications were led by relatively humble models like the Volkswagen Beetle that won in 1953 or the Datsun 240Z that took the win in 1973 when the appointment was included in the World Rally Championship as a scoring event.

The spirit of the Safari Rally

In order to maintain that tradition, it would be necessary to make the adaptations slightly more affordable than the new Porsche 911 Dakar. However, there are examples of that spirit like this Mazda MX-5 NA with a ‘Classic Red’ finish and removable hardtop.

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The truth is that the rally version of the Miata is not too subtle: what most attracts attention is its free height to the ground, which they have achieved with a (high) suspension kit that is accompanied by adjustable shock absorbers signed by Tokico. With this combination they have made enough space to fit the 27-inch off-road tires, which are mounted on 14-inch Bassett steel wheels painted black.

The rest of the elements that contribute to the transformation are at the same level. On the front we recognize the characteristic shapes of the Mazda MX-5 NA such as the retractable headlights, which, yes, this time are LED. However, attention is to the massive front bull bar and for the roof-mounted auxiliary light kit. A detail reminiscent of the Safari Rally models: they also had this equipment to be able to detect the animals that could be found along the route through Kenya.

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A V8 under the hood

Under the hood there is no trace of the Mazda engine: has been replaced by a Ford 302ci V8 which greatly increases the original power of the MX-5. It is associated with a five-speed manual transmission and also has a rear differential from the American manufacturer.

Inside, there are also traces of the original Mazda MX-5 NA… although they have also made some changes: the steering wheel, gear stick and ‘Hard Dog’ roll bar were obviously not there when the two-seater was manufactured.

an affordable price

The origin of this particular version of the Miata must be sought in Ohio, where its first owner resided: then it spent time in Kansas and Nebraska before its current owner acquired it in July 2019. The odometer shows just over 215,652 kilometers, of which some 1,600 have been traveled in the last three years. Available on the platform ‘Bring a trailer’, is available for 8,500 dollars (8,200 euros, according to the current change).

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