What is it?
Here we have another special-edition Mazda MX-5: a car that has been sold in more special editions, over the years, than almost any other. The global tally is already beyond fifty (not all of which were limited-number runs, incidentally), with several – like the one you’re here to read about – built to commemorate a significant anniversary.
Some were built for others reasons, of course; and if you remember the very first to come to the UK in 1991 – the MX-5 Le Mans – you’ll certainly remember the visually arresting paint job it carried in tribute to Mazda's 24-hour race-winner. With the benefit of hindsight, it wasn't unlike what Ronnie Corbett might have looked like on a golf-themed stag do. Let’s just say the 787B carried off the look rather better.
After that, it’s remarkable enough that the special-edition MX-5 survived to a second instalment at all. But it did, and now here we are, more than a million MX-5s and Miatas and some thirty years down the pipe, with another one.
The MX-5 30th Anniversary brings its own lurid colour scheme, which Mazda calls Racing Orange (and, yes, that’s the only colour it comes in) and also lets that colour seep into the special interior treatment, to crop up in accents on the Recaro seats, the dashboard and the decoration on the controls.
The car is otherwise distinguished by specially engraved forged aluminium wheels by Rays that, on the front axle, are wrapped around upgraded Brembo brake calipers painted in the same colour as the body. Discreet 30th Anniversary badging also features on the bodywork.
Mechanically, however, there's little else to separate the car from a normal series-production 2.0-litre Sport model. It gets Mazda's stiffened sport suspension springs, uprated Bilstein dampers and an under-bonnet strut brace. Like all 2.0-litre models, it gets a six-speed manual gearbox and a helical limited-slip differential. But that’s your lot. No light-pressure turbo conversion here. No shortened final drive or racey performance tyre. At least it doesn’t cost a fortune.