Tips, Tricks & Trends

Mazda Has a Program Set up to Restore Miatas to Factory Condition

You rarely hear of a program that would help restore cars to factory condition. But Mazda has taken on this project and has been at it since 2017. They’ve equipped special technicians to accept older Miatas and give them a makeover, so to speak, so you look like you have a brand-new car — one that can even perform like new.

Mazda’s Engineering & Technology division took on this huge process, which takes place in Rheinland Japan. Depending on what the owner wants, the restoration can cost around $40,000 or 4,400,000 yen.

What does the Miata restoration involve?

The chassis of the first generation Mazda Roadster is displayed at the Mazda booth's restore section of the Tokyo Auto Salon
A first-generation Mazda Roadster is displayed at Mazda’s restore section of the Tokyo Auto Salon | TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

Mazda plans on offering a few packages, depending on your car’s needs. The basic one will get you a new trunk lid and hood. Your Miata will also receive newer front fenders and door replacements. As for exterior repairs, Mazda will take care of any small imperfections and top it off by respraying paint to give the roadster a refreshing, new shine.

Miata owners can choose to have the interior restored, too. This includes a facelift of the dashboard trim, leather seat coverings, and new carpeting. Concerning the power train, Mazda can give new intake, exhaust parts, and an exchange of the transmission with drive train.

There’s also an option to get a suspension rebuild that would cover the replacement of the bushings, bearings, and all braking parts. Along with this, Mazda can revamp the air conditioning and install 14-inch alloy wheels with Bridgestone tires.

What are the downsides to Mazda’s Miata restoration program?

The service sounds great, but a few elements will disappoint. First, this service is only available for Japanese citizens. Since Mazda started the program, there have been discussions of expanding it globally. The problem is that the automaker has no plans in place, and it has done nothing to get it moving forward. At least, not yet.

Second, the only eligible Miatas are the 1.6L roadsters from the basic, V Special, and J Limited vehicle lines. The 1.8L or M2s aren’t qualified for the restoration project yet. Again, Mazda discussed plans for it, but there has been no progress yet.

How does Mazda’s restoration process work?

Mazda Engineering technicians can take on about six Miatas a year. Each vehicle takes around two months to complete, depending on the desired package. Currently, four Miatas have experienced the restoration project, now looking just as good as when the owners originally bought them.

Before the process, a Miata owner will meet with the restoration techs. These technicians get just as much pride from restoring one as the owner does.

The Drive asked Mazda whether it would take on popular models like the RX-7 in the future. The automaker reported that there were no plans for it, but they welcome any comments from Miata owners through email and social media platforms. If enough people wish to see this restoration project expand, Mazda just might make their wish come true.