Currently reading: Celebrating 25 years of the Mazda MX-5 - picture special
Take a tour through a display of some of the most valuable MX-5s, including the rare M-Coupé version

Mazda celebrated the 25th birthday of the MX-5 with a special display at the New York motor show.

Kicking off the collection of rare and exclusive cars were the three exact cars that made their debut at the Chicago motor show in 1989.

The manufacturer had set out to reinvent the fun of British sports cars from the 1960s. Suffice it to say that the combination of British sports car fun and Japanese reliability proved to be a hit with customers; the original Mazda MX-5 – also known as the Eunos or Miata, depending on market – sold almost 100,000 units in its first year of production.

The MX-5 quickly became a popular platform for tuners, with a range of engine modifications and performance enhancements quickly offered. The Club Racer concept, the second car of the original trio, featured lowered suspension, different headlights and wider wheel arches to accommodate its 15-inch alloys.

The third car to be shown as part of the original debut cars was originally supposed to take part on the Sports Car Club of America's Escort Endurance racing series, but had to pull out when the team running it was unable to secure sponsorship.

Rather than retire, the car was donated to racer Dan Edmunds and became the first ever MX-5 to compete in motorsport, racking up 6,500 miles. Today, Mazda says more of its cars are raced at the weekend in the US than any other car brand.

Mazda's M-Speedster concept car made its debut in Chicago in 1995, with more aggressive styling and integrated storage for two racing helmets. Power from its 1.8-litre engine was boosted by a supercharger, taking its overall output to 197bhp.

In 1996, Mazda showed its M-Coupé concept at the New York motor show. While similar to the previous M-Speedster, the M-Coupé received a wider stance with new rims and lowered suspension.

Two years later and Mazda was ready to preview the second generation of the MX-5 with the 1998 model. Part of the design brief given to Mazda's engineers was to find a way to increase the boot space of the original model without compromising its shape. If the continued success of the Miata in second-generation form is anything to go by, they succeeded.

In 2004, Mazda released its Mazdaspeed-badged MX-5, with the model on display here celebrating the 700,000th model built. This was the first time a turbocharged Mazdaspeed model had been sold without the Miata badge, instead the firm chose to use the more global MX-5 name for the North American market. Just 5142 units were made over two years.

Jump to 2011's SEMA trade show in Las Vegas, and Mazda revealed its MX-5 Super20. Thanks to its supercharged engine the Super20 had 247bhp available, as well as special alloy wheels and performance Toyo tyres. The MX-5's standard soft-top roof was also replaced with a hardtop, while the interior was outfitted with special leather seats.

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Mazda also revealed a new special edition model to celebrate the car's 25th anniversary. The special features an engine upgraded with new hand-selected parts including a new flywheel, connecting rods and pistons. 

The company claims this special MX-5's 2.0-litre engine will rev more freely than before, and will have 165bhp on tap. Inside new off-white leather seats feature alongside new logos and stitching.

What are your memories of the Mazda MX-5? Let us know in the comments section below.

Read Autocar's history of the MX-5

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Pistachio 19 April 2014

Still looks good

The original mx5 still looks great even after all these years whereas all the facelifts and new ones have aged
Let's hope the new one is like the first one for purity rather than Japanese Mazda excess