Miata 20 Years
by Larry Edsall
When I was invited to review this book, I expected to see a sort of coffee table book with lots of pictures and not a lot of text. The reality is a near polar opposite. The first chapter plunged me into the details of back story – G.I.s and MGs following World War II – along with an homage to the cars that inspired the Miata. The second chapter brings to the details of the conception of the Miata and the folks at Mazda that made it happen. I do not feel like any detail has been left out and am left wondering how Larry managed to collect all of this information. The depth of detail in the prose is not to say there are not illustrations. The book has something on every page: photographs, line drawings, reproductions of water colors and even some examples of brochures and advertising copy. The only thing that seems to be missing in that regard is any hint of the many magazine covers that were graced by the Miata. I presume there are copyright or other restrictions that prevent the use of these.
The book continues on the course of the Miata’s history, describing the upgrades to the 1.8 in '94 and M2 in '99. Midway through the book, Larry takes the reader on a side trip, describing the many other sports cars inspired by the success of the Miata, before turning to the evolution of the third generation car that more and more of our members seem to be enjoying. Once again, I find the details in the coverage amazing.
After thoroughly recounting the history of the Miata from inception (and before) to the current models, Larry covers the myriad of variations -- both factory and otherwise -- that were based on the Miata. These include the Monster Miata and M Speedster as well as lesser-known variants. Beyond this, we read about Miata Maniacs (like us?) and finally there’s a wrap-up speculating on what the next 20 years will bring to our little cars.
Larry Edsall is an automotive journalist and author who clearly knows the industry and where to find information. I cannot imagine that any interesting tidbit regarding the history and development of the Miata has escaped his research for this book. If you are looking for a source of information regarding any aspect of the Miata, you really need to start with “Miata 20 Years.”
Hank Barta
Windy City Miata Club President (Ret.)


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