Modern MG Roadster Is Only a Digital Dream Based on the Mazda MX-5

The Miata is arguably one of the most successful sportscars ever built, with about one million sold so far. Even though the original came out way back in 1989, many people still consider it to be a copy of the traditional British roadster.
MG Roadster rendering based on Miata 1 photo
Photo: Theophilus Chin
That's only partially correct. In 1976, thirteen years before the first MX-5 rolled off the assembly line, Motor Trend journalist Bob Hall met with Kenichi Yamamoto and Gai Arai, head of Research and Development at Mazda. The Japanese fellows asked Hall what kind of car Mazda should build next, to which he answered: "a simple, bugs-in-the-teeth, wind-in-the-hair, classically-British sports car."

Bob Hall became head of Mazda product planning in the US in 1981 and met with Yamamoto again, who was now the chairman of the company. After that, they went back and forth with the idea, sprinkled in a bit of 1960s Lotus Elan and finally gave the project the go-ahead for production in 1986.

Ironically, the British sportscar industry is gone, so when Theophilus Chin imagined this MG Roaster, he copied the 2016 Mazda MX-5.

Borrowing the body of the Japanese roadster is so popular that Fiat did it for real. We are referring to the 124 Spider that was unveiled last month at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show. This supposedly Italian machine changes most of the MX-5 body panels and adopts a 1.4-liter turbo engine, yet it still relies on Skyactiv technology in many key areas.

The rendering of the MG Roadster doesn't look half bad, yet it's never going to happen. The British company is a husk of its former self and only survived as a puppet of a Chinese car company. Models like the MG3 supermini are assembled in the People's Republic and shipped over to the UK as easy-to-assemble knocked-down kits.

These retro headlights and grille are borrowed from the MG Icon Concept that was presented at the Beijing Motor Show in 2012 as a Juke-like crossover. It never made it into production, so what hope do we have for a niche product like the MG Roadster?
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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