Purchaser Information: 2004-2005 Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata | Articles

[Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

The unique Mazda Miata is among the most good driving instruments ever created. Positive, different vehicles have extra energy, extra model or extra luxurious, however few can tame a twisty again street and put a smile on the driving force’s face extra effectively than the early Miata. Regardless of its barely increased weight and dimension, Mazda’s follow-up mannequin was simply as cherished.

Nonetheless, even after a 2001 facelift, by 2003 gross sales had been kind of flat. Among the novelty had worn off, and consumers had extra decisions–together with Honda’s stellar, 240-horsepower S2000.

For the reason that subsequent Miata–with its all-new, extra highly effective MZR engine–was just a few years away, Mazda selected the time-honored path of using turbocharging to squeeze a bit extra energy from the present automotive. They added a small IHI turbo, lowered the compression ratio and fitted a small, front-mounted intercooler. The end result was the 2004-’05 Mazdaspeed Miata, a limited-production, high-output model of Mazda’s roadster.

A Pure Match

Including a hair dryer to the Miata wasn’t as a lot of a stretch because it sounds. The automotive’s iron-block four-cylinder hails from the model’s B-series engine household, and factory-turbocharged variations had already been used within the Mazda 323 GTX and Mercury Capri XR2. And, in fact, 1000’s of fans had already proven that the Miata may reliably deal with increase. 

At first look, the Mazdaspeed Miata’s engine bay appears as if it had been designed to accommodate a turbocharger from the get-go. The ducting, for instance, matches completely. 

Components had been chosen with an eye fixed to compact dimension and good avenue efficiency. A smallish IHI turbo with a ball-bearing middle part offers the required 8.5 psi of increase–sufficient to boost horsepower from 142 to 178.

Distinctive 17-inch Racing Hart wheels are the best technique to establish a Mazdaspeed MX-5, however the particular badges and little intercooler within the grille can even tip you off.

The turbo Miata was dubbed the Mazdaspeed after the corporate’s in-house tuning arm. It wasn’t the primary automotive to be so named, although, because the 2003 Mazdaspeed Protegé held that honor within the U.S. market. Delicate Mazdaspeed badges hinted that the automotive was one thing particular subsequent to extraordinary Miatas.

The Mazdaspeed Miata featured a lot of different enhancements over the non-turbo Miata LS, together with Bilstein dampers, shorter and stiffer springs sourced from the beforehand elective Sport suspension, and 17-inch Racing Hart wheels. It got here customary with the LS’s elective six-speed guide transmission and a limited-slip differential.

Down in Flames

The Mazdaspeed Miata bowed to constructive evaluations. It may do zero to 60 in lower than 7 seconds–a few second sooner than an extraordinary NB Miata. And the very best half? The boosted Mazda didn’t lose any of the midrange flexibility and throttle response that made the automotive so interesting within the first place. It was like a Miata, solely extra so.

The largest draw back to the brand new automotive was availability: Mazda introduced plans to supply solely 4000 of the vehicles per yr, though this turned out to be optimistic. Regardless of the bargain-basement value of lower than $26,000, few left seller heaps. Whereas all of the 2004 fashions ultimately bought, a fireplace within the manufacturing manufacturing unit late in 2004 sealed the destiny of the Mazdaspeed after simply greater than 1400 items had been shipped for the 2005 mannequin yr. Meaning solely about 5400 vehicles had been shipped our means. 

The automotive doesn’t lose any of its character when fitted with a turbo. Inside, you’ll discover all the inside goodness of an LS-trim automotive. 

It’s troublesome to see why the Mazdaspeed Miata didn’t fare higher. The minimal enhance in value (solely round $700 greater than a Miata LS) was far lower than an aftermarket turbo package, and the automotive got here with a full manufacturing unit guarantee and seller help. Even when the customer deliberate to improve the engine later, it was an amazing place to begin.

Practically 10 years on, the Mazdaspeed Miata is greater than a historic curiosity–it’s one of many best examples of the unique Miata platform and an astonishing driver’s automotive with sufficient energy to be entertaining. Because of the turbo powerplant, slightly tuning goes a great distance, too, making the Mazdaspeed Miata a sexy different to far newer vehicles.

Issues to Know

The toughest half about shopping for a Mazdaspeed Miata is just discovering one. With solely 5428 vehicles constructed throughout two mannequin years, they aren’t precisely rising on bushes. Assuming you discover an instance in a coloration you’ll be able to reside with–there are solely 4 choices, so don’t get too picky–present e book values are between $6000 and $10,000. In our expertise, there aren’t many vehicles within the decrease finish of the vary. Asking costs are typically close to $10,000 and better. 

Engine and Drivetrain

The Mazdapeed Miata hasn’t been tormented by many issues, however the most typical one is the dreaded “bathroom” brought on by a defective three-way MAP solenoid. When the solenoid fails–normally after a protracted freeway drive–the automotive will buck and refuse to speed up easily. Usually a verify engine mild will accompany the issue. 

A second frequent drawback is a failing gas pump that gained’t enable the automotive to begin. The least costly alternative comes from Walbro: Determine round $100 in comparison with $400 for the manufacturing unit piece. 

The manufacturing unit consumption and downpipe are each extraordinarily restrictive, so changing each with aftermarket elements provides a fast energy increase and extra constant efficiency. (Right here’s a touch: Try the Flyin’ Miata web site in case you’re contemplating shopping for considered one of these vehicles. When paired with their Mazdaspeed exhaust, the corporate claims that the automotive makes an additional 23 horsepower and 26 ft.-lbs. of torque, because of their downpipe and catalytic converter.)

Putting in a bigger exhaust will repay in sooner turbo spool occasions–3 inches is normally the most important that may be fitted virtually. 

When you’ve upgraded the consumption and exhaust, the intercooler can change into an influence limiter. The manufacturing unit intercooler is somewhat small, and bigger, aftermarket replacements assist in some conditions. (We must always be aware, nonetheless, that they might not repay in elevated energy with the inventory turbo.) 

The increase might be raised barely through a guide or digital increase controller, though the manufacturing unit ECU shouldn’t be comfortable above 10 psi or so. The injectors will run out of steam earlier than that time and should get replaced. This, in fact, would require some kind of piggyback ECU to handle the upper circulation charges. 

With all of the tips, the manufacturing unit turbo can circulation sufficient air to prime 200 horsepower. Flyin’ Miata affords a bolt-on package deal that pumps up the Mazdaspeed to 225 horsepower on the wheels. The contents embrace an consumption, throttle physique inlet pipe, blow-off valve, downpipe, midpipe, exhaust, intercooler, Hydra Nemesis ECU and 700cc injectors. They provide extra Mazdaspeed Miata packages as effectively.

To make massive energy–above 250 ponies on the wheels–you’ll want to switch the manufacturing unit turbo. Flyin’ Miata affords a number of turbo replacements that swap the manufacturing unit IHI snail for a Garrett unit with rather more headroom than the inventory turbo. Now you’ll be able to probe the bounds of the engine’s backside finish–determine outcomes of greater than 300 horsepower. 

The Relaxation

The remainder of the Mazdaspeed Miata is standard-issue Miata, which means few issues exist. On the identical time, the aftermarket is able to ship all kinds of suspension and brake upgrades. 


View feedback on the GRM boards

If the cooling followers cease working do not belief the temperature gauge.  MSM’s over warmth simply for some purpose, even in case you aren’t utilizing increase quite a bit.

The engine is working to sizzling with out the followers even when the temp gauge doesn’t transfer previous middle and you’re simply cruising alongside. 

This slowly cooks the pinnacle gasket.  Which then leaks compression into the cooling system and blows up the radiator.       Actually.    

Nice to see the MSM lined. It’s an incredible automotive, particularly as a constructing block for an enormous killer. My automotive has an FM constructed motor, principally the total FM catalog of go quick goodies put in and the efficiency is simply wonderful. Drives like an ordinary Miata however can kill Porsches on a observe. Values are rising quick, so higher act quick in order for you in on the enjoyable!



New Reader

11/25/20 8:21 a.m.

I can vouch after having a completely loaded MSM that it is an incredible little automotive. For my wants performing some autocross and about to hop on observe I am actually happy with it. Concerning cooling points maybe that is solely throughout sizzling observe days and have not seen the needle climb (but) throughout automotive management clinics in summer time and undoubtedly not on freeway. The solenoid is completely a difficulty, although is well cleaned to get it again to rights. I did the FM Little Enchilada and truthfully do not actually really feel a have to go previous it. I had a buddy take a trip alongside so if you wish to see some man automotive banter in addition to hear the FM package, you’ll be able to test it out right here. (There are truth inaccuracies there for positive, although hey, we’re not good.) It is a blast and I’ve had it for 11 years now, combating rust each season although nonetheless loving it. If you may get your fingers on one it is good to see what the engineers can accomplish and yearn for the times after they strive once more.

By no means knew that the block had roots from the Capri/323gtx days. Pal of mine had considered one of these just a few years in the past and actually loved it.

Wow, each the vehicles pictured are lovely. Forgot how good the NBs can look.




5/18/21 10:01 a.m.

Costs have appreciated considerably during the last a number of years on the MSMs… even earlier than the present craziness.

They’re an amazing platform, and might be critical performers with some minor mods.

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