What You Need Is This Unicorn Miata NB Hardtop
Though extremely rare and sold only in Japan, Mazda Miata NB hardtop coupes do exist. The second-gen Miatas built by Mazda were named “NB“. They’re not some aftermarket concoction. Only 179 of what Mazda called the “Roadster Coupe” series left the factory.
Besides the hardtop, what else is unique about the Mazda Miata NB Roadster Coupe?
There were four versions available of the Roadster Coupe. It was only produced in 2003 and 2004. There’s a base version, then Type-A, Type-S, and Type-E. Type-A Miatas received the add-on flares, unique headlight housings, fog lamps, and body kit.
The Lightning Yellow Miata Roadster Coupe seen here is the Type-A. The only other color offered was Velocity Red. And being a JDM-only model, all 179 are right-hand drive.
Was the Mazda Miata Roadster Coupe hardtop heavy?
Miata Type-As were powered by the BP-VE (RS)157 hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder. What is unique about this engine is the increased horsepower, but also the variable valve timing. All Type-As also got the six-speed manual transmission. As to the hardtop, Mazda said it didn’t add much more weight over the roadster, adding only 22 lbs more than a typical Miata.
The Roadster Coupe shown here just sold for $29,000 in Japan by Davey Japan Company, Limited. That’s pretty much what other Miata Roadster Coupes have sold for recently, not that they come up for sale much. Another one in Velocity Red is currently on the market for $38,000 in Hong Kong.
Can you legally import the Miata Roadster Coupe to the U.S.?
Keep in mind that the 25-year import law won’t allow for legal importation into the U.S. Legally, 2029 is when the Roadster Coupe could be here legally. That’s a long time to be sitting on your dream car. There are exceptions for what the NHTSA calls “show or display” vehicles. Could a Roadster Coupe get into the U.S. under those conditions?
Any car under consideration for this loophole must first be proven to be of historical significance with production limited to 500 vehicles or less. Both of those should be no problem proving to the feds. If the car does meet their requirements and is approved, it can only be driven 2,500 miles per year.
Without the intention to drive it at all until it is legal here, that is a murky area for importing a JDM car that is under 25 years old. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, imported a Porsche 959 that was considered contraband. So without DOT and EPA approval, it sat at the Port of San Francisco for 13 years. When the exemption was approved in 1999, Gates could take possession of the Porsche.
What imported cars are exempt from the 25-year import rule?
What are some legal vehicles under 25 years old that are legally here? The 2016 Aston Martin Taraf is one. Also, the 2012-2013 Aston Martin V12 Zagato, 2013 BMW M3 CRT, 2020 McLaren Speedtail, 2010 Porsche Sport Classic, and others. You can find the complete list on the NHTSA website.
So there are and are not exceptions to the 25-year rules. If you’re considering doing something like this, it is imperative to hire a lawyer that specializes in the importation of vehicles. They can advise you about a desire to import a car that is less than 25 years old. Good luck!