Mazda MX-5 10th Anniversary Model
In 1999, Mazda launched the Mazda MX-5 10th Anniversary Model (in the US and Canada: Mazda Miata 10th Anniversary Model). 7,500 units were produced for the first worldwide limited edition of the Mazda MX-5.
The model's nickname among owners and enthusiasts was 10AM or 10AE (as in "10th Anniversary Edition").
The 10AM came with until-then exclusive features to the MX-5:
- exterior color - sapphire blue mica (called innocent blue in Japan)
- seats in two-toned black leather and blue alcantara
- Nardi-brand turning wheel and shifter knob in two-toned black and blue leather
- carpets, shift lever boot, soft top and boot cover, all in blue
- blue door keys (in some markets)
- Bose sound system (in some markets)
- 10th Anniversary floor mats (optional in some markets)
- six-speed transmission (sourced from a third-party supplier)
- chromed gauge rings around speedo and tach
- carbon-fibre-style center console panel
- highly-polished alloy wheels
- sports suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers
- front strut bar, to increase stability in the front end and improve reaction of the steering system, especially on curves
Each car was sequentially numbered on a badge on the driver-side front quarter panel. A "Certificate of Authenticity" with the same number came with each car, signed by Mazda President James E. Miller and dated 10 February 1999. On certain markets, a gift set was also included, consisting of a 1/24 scale diecast model, two Seiko-branded wristwatches (his and hers) with matching blue faceplate and Miata logo, and metal keychain in the form of the Miata logo, all encased in a luxury blue velvet box.
The addition of the sixth gear made this the first special edition to differ technically from production models, with different performance results.
The 10AM did 0-100km in 8.4 seconds, a tenth of a second faster than the 1.8 litre production engine, due to the tighter gear ratios. However, as the 10AM was heavier, its top rated speed was slower, at 203 instead of 205 km/h. Combined consumption was 8.8 instead of 8.5 l/100 km (27 instead of 28 mpg).
7,500 units were produced, thus distributed:
- 3,150 - North America, of which:
- 3,000 - USA
- 150 - Canada
- 500 - Japan
- 3,700 - Europe, of which:
- 600 - UK
- 20 - Portugal
- 150 - Australia.
Car number 7,500 was sold in the UK.
The 10AM came off the production plant in different specs according to the markets. These are the differences relative to the USA version, other than the exclusive features detailed above:
- Rear mud guards, no fog lights for Canada
- No sports appearance package (front/side/back skirts, rear wing) for Europe
- Turning signal light on front quarter panels for Europe (same as for standard models)
- No air conditioning for Europe
Despite the prestige and considerable publicity that Mazda gave to this model, it took more than a year to sell all units, drawing criticism that too many units had been produced (another factor was the high price with an MSRP of $26,875, about $6500 more than a base model). For comparison, there were 3,500 units of the NC's "3rd Generation Limited" launch model in 2005, and regular limited editions produced each year do not usually exceed 1,500 units per region.
The polished wheels are notorious for corroding once the thin lacquer coating is damaged. Mazda replaced thousands of sets under warranty, but this has now expired on all 10AE cars and owners need to pay for them to be repolished and relacquered. Powder coating with a clearcoat is probably the toughest finish that can be applied.