Wondering which years of the Mazda Miata/MX-5 have those iconic pop-up headlights?
Here’s a quick guide … and it’s only quick because the answer is so simple!
The pop-up headlights were the hallmark of the NA Miata (1st Generation, 1989-1997). This feature gave the Miata an undeniable cool factor, combining style with aerodynamic efficiency.
When not in use, these headlights lay flat, preserving the Miata’s sleek silhouette. Then, in a flash, they would pop up, endowing the car with a distinctive, playful look.
This was more than just a design quirk; it was a symbol of the Miata’s unique character.
But with coolness comes compromise.
Pop-up headlights were mechanically more complex than fixed lights, leading to potential maintenance issues. They also struggled to meet evolving safety standards, especially concerning pedestrian safety in accidents.
Post the NA generation, Mazda moved to fixed headlights with the NB Miata (2nd Generation, 1998-2005). This shift was driven by changing design trends and stricter safety regulations. While the NB lost the pop-up feature, it retained the Miata’s essence of fun and agility.
In summary, it’s the NA Miata, produced from 1989 to 1997, that stands out as the bearer of the iconic pop-up headlights, a feature that continues to be celebrated by car enthusiasts for its unique blend of style and nostalgia.