No Mazda Is NOT Going to Restore Your NA Miata For You
Boy, it sure sounded great. Mazda would soon be restoring your first-generation, NA Miata for you. The problem is, Mazda does not plan to restore any Miatas, and no U.S. cars at all. Rather, and the qualifications are pretty big here, Mazda may restore a handful of first-generation MX-5 Roadsters for select Japanese customers (only).
The MX-5 Roadster is the Japanese version of the car we call the Miata here in the United States. They are almost the same cars, but not exactly the same cars. In fact, the first Roadsters were not branded Mazdas, but rather Eunos brand Roadsters. Recently, the automotive press found the Mazda Restoration Project website which featured images and Japanese text discussing the car, and has been producing incorrect content about the topic. There was also a press release in Japanese, again, which never mentions the word "Miata."
Torque News reached out to Mazda directly for clarification. Our contact, Tamara Mlynarczyk, Manager, Public Affairs, Mazda North America Operations, was happy to assist us in clarifying what has been reported. First off, the program has nothing to do with North America customers or cars. Ms. Mlynarczyk told Torque News, "This program IS NOT intended for the U.S." She went on to offer us some helpful Q&A formatted info on the limited project Mazda is conducting in Japan. What follows is from Mazda:
Q: Is this service available for customers outside of Japan? Can outside customers ship their cars to Japan?
A: This service is not available for customers outside of Japan.
Q: Could this initiative come to the U.S.?
A: Unfortunately, it is currently planned only in Japan. Nothing has been decided regarding expanding the scope to overseas.
Q: The two cars we saw that were restored—were those customer cars are trial employee restorations?
A: The two cars were restored as part of Mazda’s project.
Q: How many NAs can Mazda restore a year?
A: The number of units is assumed to be a small number, but it may change depending on the work required for restoration.
We went a step further and used Google Translate to see what the Mazda Restoration Project actually says. Here are two key quotes (from Google Translate):
"In order to respond to customers' expectations, we are considering re-supply of parts that became discontinued, whether Mazda can restore NA, suppliers, and shops nationwide, everyone at Roadster Fan Club We have repeatedly exchanged information with you, and have continued consideration.'
"Meanwhile, since the work called Restore was the first effort for Mazda, under the support of an experienced third-party organization, we conducted a restore trial and carried out the quality verification. As a result, we are able to inform you about the prospect of providing restore service to customers with reliable process and quality, and the release of reprint parts."
Note that this sounds a lot like a parts promotion program and that Mazda didn't actually conduct the restorations solo, but with a quality-assurance partner.
That Mazda is restoring a small number of Japanese MX-5 Roadsters and will supply original replacement parts for Japanese MX-5 Roadsters is an exciting story. However, the way this topic has been reported by the general press is danger-close to fake news, and any story that told you a Miata would be restored is false.