Roadster - an open-top car with two seats.
Coupe - a car with a fixed roof, two doors, and a sloping rear.
If you look at the definition of those two words, you'd quickly realize that the word "Roadster" and "Coupe" don't really get along very well. But it seems that Mazda forgot to look up the dictionary when they were deciding on what to name the coupe version of the famous MX-5.
In case you didn't notice, this is a Miata, an NB to be exact. Yes, at some point Mazda experimented with their experiment car and put a solid roof on it. Not a coupe-like silhouette with a folding targa like the ND RF. Not an aftermarket modification or anything like that. There are Miatas ( or Roadsters in Japan ) that came with a solid roof straight out of the factory.
And if you wonder why you've never about it, you'll quickly realize why.
The Small History On Coupe Miatas
Mazda Miata M-Coupe Concept
The NB wasn't actually Mazda's first attempt to build a coupe Miata. Mazda Experimented with the M-Coupe Concept back in 1996. It was an NA miata with a 1.8 liter and an FD RX-7 style rear window. It was cool, but it never went to production.
That was not even the only one. Mazda made 3 Coupe NA Miatas in total, each varying in shape of roof and bodykit. There's one particular Coupe Miata from the NA generation that really stood out.
This is Called the M2 1008, made by one of Mazda's sub-brand in the 90s, M2. The M2 division of Mazda isn't a particularly famous sub-brand. They didn't make any other cars aside from modified Miatas & AZ-1.
But their cars stand out, like this M2 1008 that never went to production. No Pop-ups, different front bumper, and a completely redone rear end. It doesn't look anything like what we know from the NA Miata to say the least.
So What Is This Roadster Coupe All About?
While Mazda only experimented with coupe Miatas during the NA generation, they went all in and built coupe Miatas during the NB generation. Well, sort of.
It was another JDM exclusive and they only made 179 of them by the end of production. So if you wonder why you haven't even heard about coupe Miatas, now you know why.
Spec wise, there's nothing truly remarkable about the Roadster Coupe. It came in 4 trims ( standard, Type-S, Type-A, and Type-E ) with various engines and transmission. Type-E, which has a strangely weird bodykit, is the only one with a 4-speed auto, while the standard one is the only one with a 1.6 and a 5-speed. The rest gets a 1.8 and a 6-speed manual.
Roadster Coupe Type-E
What's strange with the Roadster Coupe is that it's actually heavier than its roadster counterpart, but only by a 10kg margin. That's because the shell was based from the Roadster, welded with a roof before continuing in the production line. That means that the extra strengthening that went into the hardtop stayed there.
Naturally, the coupe is much stiffer than the soft-top. Reviews said that the Coupe didn't feel like a normal Miata simply because of the lack of a soft top that creates a lot of noise.
The Coupe's Production
Roadster Coupe Type-A
The Roadster Coupe was a special made-to-order car by Mazda E&T division, who handles the bodywork side of the limited run car, hence why there weren't that many ever build. The sport looking Type-A was meant to be a limited run of 200 cars, while the Type-E was meant to be limited at 150. And if you look at the production number, clearly they didn't come close to that target.
Out of 179 that were ever build, 53 of them were equipped with the 1.6 liter. About half of the rest were Type-S 1.8 liter. It was said that there were less than 10 Type-E Roadster Coupes ever made ( and 2 of them are currently for sale in Japan as I'm writing this ), whici leaves to about 50 Type-A models.
One source said that one contributing factor of the Roadster Coupe's end of production was a fire in one of Mazda's painting line on the Mazda Ujina First Plant.
It's hard to say whether Mazda would ever try to bring back the Roadster Coupe again. With the MX-5 being so well known for it's convertible roof, it's hard to justify why it needs to go the extra distance and build hard-top versions of the MX-5. The closest we've ever gotten so far is the coupe-like silhouette RF.
Whether Mazda would bring back a limited run of coupe Miatas is a mystery. But for all we know, the NB Roadster Coupe will remain an unique history in the MX-5's history book.