Monday 12 October 2015

MX-5 Roadster ND Coupe

Mazda MX-5 Roadster Nd Coupe
There is no official word from Mazda about this, but there are plenty of rumours and wishful thinking about the possibility of a coupe version of the ND MX-5.

There is something appealing (to me anyway) about having all the great driving dynamics the MX-5 is known for without having to worry about the security of noisy, leaking, mouldy soft tops or obsessively clearing leaves out of drain holes with a stick. For this reason, and a few others, the previous two MX-5s I owned spent most of the time with their detachable hardtop fitted.

Mazda MX-5 Hardtop Sunlight Silver Mk2 Mk2.5 NB NB2 Miata

You're probably aware that Mazda E&T did build a fixed coupe version of the 2nd generation MX-5, if not you can read about it here. Sadly they did not continue this work with 3rd generation MX-5, which makes the NB coupe models super rare even in Japan. But what about the new car?

The ND design has no obvious way of securing a detachable hardtop. There are no clamps at the side, or 'frankenstein' bolts at the rear. The only securing point for the roof is the central latch which I doubt would hold a removeable hardtop securely.

The detachable hardtop for the NC was very expensive when new, and unlike with the NB there were no special editions that included a hardtop in the price. I don't remember hardtops being very popular with NC buyers likely due to the inconvenience of needing to buy a seperate fitting kit and having to store the roof in the summer and needing two people to remove it.

Then after just a year of sales along came the NC Coupe model which proved popular and sold well. If sales of detachable hardtops were low before they must have taken a dive after the Coupe arrived. The NC Coupe was a nice compromise between hardtop security & comfort and roof down fun. Unfortunately the Coupe also compromised on aesthetics and to this day still looks awkward from some angles.

So what about an ND retractable coupe model? It's well known that Mazda has filed patents for a new design of retractable hardtop with the 3rd brakelight built into the roof itself. From looking at the drawings it appears to be manually operated without motors. Patents are filed for all kinds of reasons, so it's no guarantee a design will actually make it to production.

Innovative designs can be patented as a protection against competitors to stop them being copied. So it could well be that particular roof design was patented with the intention of licensing it to another company to use on a different car altogether (the Fiat perhaps?). Could a non-powered retractable hardtop work? Would customers still pay a premium for a roof they had to operate manually?

With a detachable hardtop for the ND unlikely, and no official word yet on a retractable coupe model, this leads me to think about the remote possibility of a fixed roof coupe. So just for fun and while we wait for real ND Coupe news, I've been experimenting with some different rooflines.

The red one here is based on a TVR Sagaris with the roof reaching almost to the end of the boot in a fastback style. Perhaps it could use a hinged rear window for access to the storage space. For the white version I have again borrowed the roof from a Ginetta G40. This design stops shorter than the Sagaris roof so would still allow some form of boot access. It also features a smart ducktail type rear spoiler. I really like them both.
MX-5 Roadster ND Coupe
MX-5 Roadster ND Coupe
MX-5 Roadster ND Coupe
UPDATE: The MX-5 RF is real!