1989 ‘Top Gear’ Segment Reminds Us Why We Love the Mazda Miata [video]

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The 2014 New York Auto Show is less than a week away, and the teasers and previews are already coming in as fast as we can cover them. One rumored debut for next week is supposedly the next generation of the beloved Mazda Miata, a car that makes you respect handling over horsepower time and time again.

The first generation (or NA) Miata debuted at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, but its life started in 1976 during a conversation between Mazda executives and a passionate journalist. Bob Hall was with Motor Trend at the time, and is fluent in Japanese. He was asked by the Mazda execs what kind of car the Japanese company should build next. He suggested a roadster that harkened back to the MGs and Alfas that used to roam winding back roads. Hall actually took a job with Mazda to work on such a project. Here is the result of Hall’s suggestion, as presented by Top Gear back in 1989:

PHOTOS: See More of the Mazda MX-5

Top Gear’s review refers to the Toyota MR2 in ties to the Lotus Elan — but the Miata is truly the son of the Elan, with influences from MG, Triumph, Fiat and Alfa. It is a purist sportscar that can teach anyone how to become a better driver.

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Anyone who has ever knocked the MX-5 (for “Mazda Experiment No. 5”) has never driven one, because to open up on a back road in the Miata is pure driving bliss. We can’t wait to see what Mazda has in store for us next week!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday. This is our new feature where we’ll look back at car reviews and ads from days done by and poke fun at how ridiculous our hair looked from decades past. Enjoy!

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