When I bought my first 1991 Miata about 8 years back the market was a different place back then. Things seemed pretty straight forward and at that time and most Miatas were not too far off from stock. As things moved forward and my first Miata was on its last leg, came the time to get a newer one. That's when Bob Dylan's famous words "The times are a changin" came to mind.
Buying a used Miata these days, especially a NA or Mark I, has price tags that roller coaster up and down depending on the seller. Seems the market is at a point where the car is in that middle ground between being just an old car and a early classic. How do you price an early 1990's rear wheel drive import car...easy answer...make it up.
At this point looking at the market wondering what the hell do I pay. Yesterday I saw a super charged NA with over 100k miles with an owner asking for $12k and another NA with a V8 swap asking for $10k. Stock Miatas at about 100k to 120k miles are listed at ranges from $1500 to $6500. Looking through all these listings and shaking my head and getting calluses on my forehead from all the face palming that I've been doing lately makes me think... is this what it was like buying a Muscle/Pony car in the 80's? Some of these nonsensical prices seem like they were drawn from a hat in a vaping championship. What do you pay for a new classic? What do you pay for an old rear wheel drive import?
When I took a look at the market and saw the big picture I felt that figured it out. The Miata that was pricey for what it was in it's day. 27 years after the first 1989 models sold, instead of being owned by the Sunday driver crowd they're in the hands of anyone and everyone. Now the Miata is a cheap rear wheel drive people's car...easy to own and easy to thrash about as it asks for more, much like caffeinated Jack Russel Terrier.
As the owner of this car mentioned...this car due to being lowered has already had shattered power steering rack, Crushed sub frame, and snapped axles.
The truth about modified cars is they take a beating wither you're the low and slow kinda of driver, slammed, or the Autocross / SCCA type. These distressed cars often at the end of their life spans as part outs or junked. A car owner has the free will to modify their car as they please but when it comes to the future market of the Miata it's gonna simply equal one thing...less cars on the road...more value they'll hold.
Ultimately I was able to find a completely stock NA with only 68k miles at a fair price point. My plan is to keep mine stock because that's just the kind of owner that I am. My belief is that now is the last great time to buy a Miata at a fair price point before the market continues to add value to stock Miatas or over charge you for modded ones. No matter if you want to cruise around, track your Miata, or slam it look a head and see where the market it is going...these beautiful machines were an instant classic and will continue to be. Happy buying.