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1989 Pre-Retail Production “First Article” Miata


At first blush this seems to be an ordinary used Miata with 145k miles.  The door jamb decal however notes this Miata is special as was made before retail production started on March 31, 1989.

Own a piece of Miata history. While this Miata is not low mileage or a perfect concourse specimen, it is 1 of 4 “First Article” cars released to the North American Market (“MANA” - Mazda North America) prior to the March 31, 1989 start of mass retail production of the iconic Miata. VIN #00064 was assembled March 22, 1989.

Miata pre-mass production history can be found at this link: https://sites.google.com/site/miata00508/ (in full disclosure, the seller is the author of this site and started compiling data for it in 2006 when April, 89 VIN #00508 was restored by him).  

See this Miata.net MANA sales production numbers for March 1989 at this link: https://www.miata.net/faq/production/MazdaMX-5_MonthlyProduction_CY1988-2006.pdf

#00064 is an 'A' package with VLSD and AC. There are several paint pen markings on the chassis and other various interior pieces not found on production cars and presumably used for assembly line training. After release to MANA Sales it was initially assigned to the press fleet for dealership marketing and was provided to the John Rotola dealership in Lakewood, CO in April 1989 to be used for showroom display.  After it had accumulated 300 demonstrator miles it was released for sale in August 1989 and purchased by its first owner.

#00064 was purchased by the seller in 2011 with the intent as a display car for their collection. Many aspects of the car, such as the chassis and interior, are in fantastic shape and amazingly original.  It went through a cleaning and partial disassembly/reassembly process to document all the uniqueness of the car and assembly line markings. It seems to have been assembled with several "check sample" parts such as suspension control arms, door cards, throttlebody dash pot and several other parts have unique markings and writing on them. Other uniquenesses include many un-anodized fasteners and parts such as the jack is unpainted and not the typical blue.

#00064 could best be described as a "resto-vivor". The interior is in like-new condition with no dash crack or no rip/tear/hole seats, The only real wear in the interior is the steering wheel. All mechanical systems except the AC function as they should. The body condition can be described as "fair" with just about every panel having a dent or ding as well as the white paint had peeled in about 5 areas.  Under the pretext of “the paint is only original once”, the paint finish was spot painted and blended where the original white paint had flaked off. The car wears approximately 70% of it’s original paint.  Unfortunately the color match is not perfect and those areas can be identified in the right lighting conditions, no additional peeling has occurred since 2011. For “period accuracy” display purposes a 1989 original Miata top (G WOPAVIN) was sourced and installed as well as 1989 dated Yokohama 221 OEM tires with full tread.  Additionally a Miata Club of America windshield decal, tail of the dragon decal, passive cellular antenna, ignition cut fob/dongle and an Oakley sunglasses “thermonuclear protection” decal were added for display purposes.

Where necessary to allow the car to be driven occasionally a few mechanical repairs were made, this included new clutch master and slave cylinders and restored ignition switch contacts.  There is evidence of a minor accident early and its life as demonstrated by an incorrect (late 1990+ style) core support, Mazda “RDOT” aluminum hood, and 1993 dated factory replacement radiator and fans. 

During the partially disassembled process photographs were taken of all pre-production uniqueness and any dated parts found (see pictures). The chassis was apparently undercoated at some point which preserved a lot of fasteners/brackets/shields to a like-new condition. Select areas of the undercoating were removed/wiped down to reveal paint pen markings and the original fasteners.  Examples of items found are paint pen markings on suspension, ink stampings on various underhood parts, door panel dates, and “Kilroy was here” tape drawing.  All the known early parts exist on this car: fully welded control arms, single piece ECU cover, gloss black top latches, “dimple” control arm eccentric nuts, smooth case differential,  flat suspension top spring perches, and open baffle muffler ("B690").

For the last 7 years of ownership the seller has regularly started it to operating temperature and driven around the block to circulate fluids. Known issues are 1) dime sized spider crack in windshield, 2) not original front bumper cover, hood and core support as described above. 3) paint and body flaws as described above 4) battery is at end of life and will need to be replaced soon. 5) moderate oil leaks from both front and rear seals, quarter sized drop after each drive 6) occasional hot restart, presumably from a leaking injector (immediate hot restarts and cold starts are fine). 

Included are the original 03/89 dated wheels and center caps.  Automobilia included with sale are:

  • Millionth Miata #64 dash plaque.
  • Original B6Y1-14-302 oil filter.
  • Early 90’s style Miata baseball cap.
  • MX-5 by Brian Long.
  • Mazda Miata MX-5 by Yamaguchi.
  •  "Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster By Toshihiko Hirai.
  • Original unused Mazda car care kit.
  • Moss Motors NA Miata cut-out.
  • 1989 Miata dealer training VHS video.
  •  3-ring binder of all Miata club magazine except fist issue.
  • Miata 5th anniversary book.  Signed.  Includes first Miata Club issue.
  • Stack of misc Miata club issues – used.
  • Original unopened “do not open until July 1” promotion flyer.
  • Original Valvoline ad with Miata.


If you are interested in owning this car it is because you want to own a significant heritage Miata in your collection or museum and want to be the next steward of this car, and not because you will drive it regularly. There are plenty of other Miata’s available for daily driving . Car has Georgia title in seller name. Scheduled personal viewing and/or a PPI is welcomed.

Cold Start video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vg8tZkYb-E4

Monthly drive around block video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36LR_YTWfC8