Opinion

At $7,799, Is This 2002 Mazda Miata SE A Limited Edition Deal?

While today’s Nice Price or No Dice MX5 is one of only 1,000 special SE models built, it’s been made even more unique by the addition of an aggressive body kit. That may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s still to be seen if the price tag might.

Alarmingly, many of you dismissed yesterday’s 2001 Qvale Mangusta as nothing more than a “cool Mustang.” That was owed to the number of components on the car that were sourced from Ford’s pony car parts bin. The Mangusta is much more than the sum of its less than exotic parts, but that couldn’t overcome that stigma, and that lead to the car’s $28,000 asking price falling in a 70 percent No Dice loss.

There’s little pretense with any Mazda Miata, and with a couple of exceptions, today’s 2002 Miata MX5 SE shows off that unpretentiousness in full force. This is one of 1,000 SE (Special Edition) Miatas built for the 2002 model year and comes in the wonderfully named Blazing Yellow Mica. Other SE package parts on the car include a Torsen limited-slip differential in the back, a leather-covered Nardi steering wheel and shifter in the cabin, and a Bose sound system for the tunes.

Power comes from the standard 142 horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC four, but here those ponies get queued through a six-speed manual to the rear tires. Those tires are wrapped around 16-inch “Y-spoke” alloy wheels which were also SE equipment.

Along with all that standard SE kit, this car has had a good bit of maintenance and upgrade equipment added. According to the ad, that maintenance has been documented in the service manual “for easy verification.” The seller claims that the brakes, O2 sensor, clutch, water pump, and timing belt have all been replaced per the service schedule.

With just 87,000 miles on the clock, that’s a lot of wear items that seemingly wore out early on. A K&N cold air intake has been added on the intake side of the engine, while the exhaust gets some stainless steel aftermarket piping behind the cat. The seller makes no claim in the ad as to if this all works as it should but then doesn’t mention any issues either. We’ll call it a draw.

The aesthetics have also seen some updates. The ad claims the top to be relatively new and the car wears a Wizdom duraflex body kit that replaces the front bumper cap and adds chunky rocker and rear valance extensions along with head and tail lamp surrounds. The fit of these pieces is generally kind of janky, leading to the most important question surrounding their presence being how much difficulty will there be in their removal.

The cabin looks mostly unmolested although the stock head unit — part of the SE’s Bose sound system — has been replaced with a more modern double DIN all-glass unit. That shouldn’t be too much trouble to retrofit if you’re looking for the as-built experience.

That brings up an interesting point about cars of this ilk. The second-generation Miata doesn’t get the love it deserves mostly because of the affection people pour over the first generation. The second-take car added size and weight and threw out the cheeky pop-up lights for fixed units just don’t feel as special. These factors have suppressed values over time and that has led to people modding the cars because they think the stock look isn’t ever going to be worth all that much. That may not be the case down the road. A similar issue affected the de Tomaso Pantera back in the day. Those cars were so undervalued at one point that owners felt no compunction about modifying the cars, sometimes to crazy extents. That may have upped the ante at the time, but today makes them out to be worth less since what people really want is the stock experience.

This SE looks to be a good base for that stock experience if you can peel back the mods and return the car to its factory specs. That’s going to take money, and the start of that expense is the car’s $7,799 asking price. That gets you the low mileage, a clean title, and seemingly no mechanical money business. It also gets you all the aftermarket add-ons that you could either leave in place or, at additional cost, remove, reverting the car to its original, unmolested state.

What do you think about that? Should someone spend that $7,799 asking for the car in its present state? Or should they not? If the answer is yes, what would you do with this Special Edition?

You decide!

Maine Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Peter Skoczenski for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at [email protected] and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.


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