The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
9/17/21 8:03 a.m.

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Classic Motorsports.]

Car makers are often chastised for making modern vehicles bigger, heavier and thirstier than necessary. So how does the new-for-2016 Mazda MX-5 hold up against its spiritual predecessor, th…

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wspohn SuperDork
9/17/21 1:08 p.m.

I think that a Miata was a lot closer to a Lotus Elan than any MG.

Independent suspension all round, DOHC engine, 4 wheel disc brakes?  Hmmm - none of that on an MGB, but all of that on both Miata and Elan.

The Elan did cost more than the MG, mind you.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
9/22/21 6:17 a.m.

We are planning a three way comparison test with an Elan, a Miata and an MGB. Personally, I think while the Miata might have been modeled after the Elan, it has a lot more in common with the mass produced MGB.

I own both an Elan and a Miata (well three Miatas actually). The Elan is super cool to drive, but is built to a different standard than an MGB or Miata.

12/13/21 4:05 p.m.

Perhaps a later model MGB would be a more relevant comparison.  '62 is pretty early in the series.

12/13/21 4:34 p.m.

Very interesting stats.  Comparing a 1962 car to a 2016 car isn't really fair to the '62.

I would certainly hope that the 2016 had better technology and performance.  I own a '74 MGB, chrome bumper and 78 bhp (due to emission control) and even though the performance doesn't compare with the Miata MX-5 I love driving the MGB every time I do so (unless it's raining).  Although it is purely subjective, I also feel the the MGB, which I own, looks a lot classier than the Miata.  I love driving with the top down and can guarantee that I get a lot more complements and looks at my car than the Miata.  For it's time, the MGB was very, very cool.  Yea, MGB!

allant New Reader
12/13/21 5:03 p.m.

I started thinking about the horsepower and just checked it out.  My '74 MGB was manufactured in September, 1973.  It's horsepower was not changed until the September, 1974 models were produced with rubber bumpers.  The model with the ugly black "sabrinas" was a transition model and had slightly reduced horsepower.  The very early '74 MGB had 92 Horsepower which was the same as the '73 model.

nderwater UltimaDork
12/14/21 10:24 a.m.

Really is interesting how the on-paper specs are so similar in a lot of ways. But man, that 0-60 split cool

wspohn SuperDork
12/14/21 11:14 a.m.
nderwater said:

Really is interesting how the on-paper specs are so similar in a lot of ways. But man, that 0-60 split cool

Comparing with the wrong MG model.

A stock 1958 MGA Twin Cam would do 0-60 in the 9 second range and had 4 wheel disc brakes like the modern cars.

RLF3 None
12/14/21 1:59 p.m.

MGBs and MX5s, both great choices for fun affordable cars in their respective eras, and a very interesting comparison.  After retiring a few years ago and having (likely rose tinted) fond memories of my old MG and Fiat 124 Spyder from many years ago, I was considering buying an affordable classic sports car.  However, not so rosy memories of time under the hood or stuck on the side of the road convinced me that what I really needed was a new ND MX5 -- one of the rare smart automotive decisions I've ever made.  Which brings me to the point of this comment: Miatas are consistantly ranked as some of the most reliable cars you can buy in the US, while MGBs, although far from being the least reliable cars in their time, are not likely to be associated with a term like "most reliable."  smiley

frenchyd UltimaDork
1/4/22 10:57 a.m.

In reply to The Staff of Motorsport Marketing :

Apples and oranges. 
    Why not compare the Miata to a MGTC?   
 Time and technology has to be a factor.  
The beloved MGTC is extremely crude compared to its immediate successor.  The MGTD  that's because the TC was built exactly like the prewar TB  while the TD was improved by all the technology of the 2nd world war.  
   Advance 40 years to the Miata  and little other than the sporty nature of the car was unique compared to production sedans in production at the same time.  
    I agree that the Miata is superior  to the MGB.  The suspension geometry of a MGB is identical to that 1950 MGTD. Add the Monique chassis plus a slightly more powerful engine with disk Brakes and little has changed sine the 1950's 

vjonesjr New Reader
3/7/22 12:40 p.m.

I've had my '65 B since 1972 and driven it regularly (and sometimes as my daily for post-divorce intervals since college) nearly all my adult life.  The reason is I never get tired of the top down, full throated exhaust and road feel driving experience that it provides.  It turns heads more than the newer high$ sports coupes that are sometimes in my vicinity.  The Miata comes closest to that experience.

sfisher71 New Reader
3/7/22 2:17 p.m.

In reply to Tim Suddard :

When my friend bought the 1990 Miata (which he still owns) in 1990, he drove it over to my house. At the time, my daily was a 1971 MGB. (I was also building the E Production MGB race car that I would get my competition license in the following year.) So naturally, we put the two cars side by side for a quick comparison.

Length was within a hair, height about the same, and the proportion of hood, interior, and trunk were very close. (I should have measured to see how close each one was to 1.6:1 hood:trunk ratio; when you do the three-way, that's something to look at. Peter Brock will get it, I'm sure.)

The crucial difference: the width. The Miata seemed like it was almost a foot wider. I had reason to recall that the first time we took my friend's Miata out to an autocross. First corner was a tight left out of the gate, and my first thought was, "This thing turns in better than my E Prod race car!"

Second corner was a tight right-hander. The apex cone managed to hit the center of the pop-up headlight panel with a loud THUMP.

"Oh, but it's almost a foot wider," I thought.

I came in second that day to the fellow from San Francisco Region who went on to win CS at nationals. The next time I drove his Miata, I took first in class at a non-SCCA local autocross.

So naturally, I bought a Miata of my own... seventeen years later. What's the saying about too soon old and too late smart?

sfisher71 New Reader
3/7/22 2:30 p.m.

Another Miatas-to-MGBs comparison: six or seven years ago, I was driving my '96 Brilliant Black NA Miata with my longtime friend Jeff Zurschmeide in the passenger seat. (Jeff was editor-in-chief to my Lifestyle Editor position at "Forever MX-5," for the three years we were able to publish before the 2008 recession killed off most of our advertisers' budgets.) We lived outside Portland, Oregon at the time, and I was musing about the suitability of an MGB-GT as a foul-weather classic for tours and rallies. 

Jeff mentioned a 1968 MGB-GT with overdrive that was for sale at a fairly reasonable price. "I know the '67 gets all the coolness points," I said, "but the all-synchro gearbox on the '68 really kicks it up a notch for the kind of use I'm thinking of. In fact, I think that all things considered, the '68 is probably the best MGB ever made."

There followed a delay of about three seconds before I continued:

"Oh, who am I kidding?" I asked. "THIS is the best MGB ever made and we both KNOW it."

Jeff still has "Project: Survivor," the early-production 1990 Miata that he purchased as an ongoing project car for "Forever MX-5." It has, I think, 410,000 miles on it at the moment, the last thousand or so of which I put on it on a drive from Portland to Ashland with my lovely wife a few years ago. 

Me? I sold the black '96, set up as a track-day/autox toy, when I got a text from my wife in 2014, a few months before the 25th anniversary Miata meet at Laguna Seca. The text included several pictures of a starlight Blue Mica Miata -- the '96 M Edition -- with tan leather and a "For sale" sign in the wondow:

"This car has all the stuff done to it that you want to do to yours before you drive to Monterey. I think you should buy it."


Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
3/7/22 9:58 p.m.

I think using a NA 1.6 Miata would be a more fair comparison to a 60's/70's British roadster.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
3/10/22 12:21 p.m.

In reply to Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) :

We will use my 1993 NA, that is bone stock and will do the comparison in a couple of weeks. I want to work my Elan into the story as well.

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