Gearhead News

May 12, 2021
‘Art Deco’ Craigslist Miata Must Be Seen to Be Believed

The automotive scene can be a judgemental place, where scorn is heaped upon those whose builds tend towards the original or extreme. However, there will always be those who strut their own path, free of concern for what others might think. A great example of that ethos is this ‘Art Deco’ Miata, recently spotted for sale on Craigslist—a car clearly much loved by its owner, and crafted to their own exacting specifications, and submitted for your unsparing judgment.

The ad notes that the car sports parts from a ’28 Ford, with the grille from that car being perhaps the most striking feature of all. It’s worked in to the Miata’s bonnet with a not-quite-straight cowling made out of thin sheet metal. Paired with chrome bumpers which are reportedly from a mid-century Triumph or Jaguar, these styling flourishes do most of the heavy lifting towards the ‘art deco’ aesthetic. There’s also a rear-mounted spare tire, along with a striking red and black paint job to complete the look. 

via Craigslist

The interior has been given a full working over, too. The seats feature rich black leather with red piping to match the exterior treatment, with chrome touches on everything from the HVAC controls to the manual window winders. One area where it does fall down is the dash, however. Sadly, one of the bezels has fallen off inside the instrument cluster, likely a consequence of installing the aftermarket faceplate inside. It’s unclear whether a stereo is still fitted, with the original space in the dash covered with a strange leather cushion with a single knob in the center. Another cushion appears to be glued on top of the center console to obscure the plastic parts underneath.

via Craigslist

Due to the age of the Miata itself, rather than the styling choices, it’s classified as an “antique” vehicle in North Carolina, meaning it no longer needs to pass regular vehicle inspections. Despite getting on in years, the owner claims that the vehicle is reliable, which tracks given the stout Mazda B-series engine under the hood—presumably unmodified as no changes are noted in the ad. It’s not clear if the car has the 1.6L or the later 1.8L engine, but both are reliable powerplants that can run well past the 200,000 mile mark. This example quotes a mere 131,000 miles on the odometer.

via Craigslist

To call the build ‘art deco’ is certainly a charitable interpretation. The vast majority of the original Mazda bodywork and hardware is still present, after all. Throwing on a few chrome accents sourced from eBay does little to obscure or change the feel of the 90s plastic interior, and the original pop up headlights, oval plastic indicators, and stock Miata wheels don’t exactly scream Depression-era styling, either. An off-the-shelf front end conversion like the Pitcrew bodykit would get a lot closer than this build did, and that’s aping a 1960s design at that. 

via Craigslist

For those wanting a Miata, there are plenty of better options out there in nicer condition and without the… unique… aesthetic customizations. However, for the budding YouTubers and LeMons racers out there, this car could be just the ticket to getting you and your buddies a few solid chuckles as you cruise around the ‘hood. To truly do it justice, however, you really ought to spring for a set of wire-spoke wheels. Let us know when you do. 

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