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1989: The MX-5 Miata Debuts!

After soliciting design proposals from its Japanese and American operations, Mazda picks the American option, which becomes the production MX-5 Miata. Unlike the Tokyo proposal, which was mid-engine, rear-drive like Toyota's contemporary MR2, and the front-drive sketch from Hiroshima, the product of Mazda's American design studio boasts a classic British sports-car layout: It is rear-drive, with its engine in front.

A Quick History of Mazda's MX-5 Miata Sports Car, from 1989 to Now

See the full evolution of Mazda's plucky little roadster.

From Car and Driver