What Does MX-5 Stand For?

The Mazda MX-5 (or ‘Miata’ as it is known to our North American readers) is the most popular sports car of all time – and for good reason.

Combining a winning formula of good looks, great handling, and top-down fun, the MX-5 is a true icon.

But what does MX-5 stand for?

In this short edition of Car Facts, we are going to explore the meaning of MX-5.

What Is MX-5 Short For?

MX-5 stands for “Mazda Experimental Project – Number 5”.

That – of course – is a bit of a mouthful (and imagine how much those badges would cost to produce) so the name was shortened to MX-5.

This is in-keeping with the naming conventions of other Mazda cars of a similar vintage, for example RX-7 which stands for “Rotary Experimental Project – Number 7” (or words to that effect, the exact project name of Mazda cars seems to vary slightly).

Without going too much in depth into the history of the MX-5, the project stemmed from the idea of American motoring journalist Bob Hall, who in the 1970s started working on a concept for a simple, enjoyable roadster in the vein of classic British sports cars like the Lotus Elan (which were becoming an increasingly rare thing).

In the 1980s, Bob Hall wound up working for Mazda, which was the genesis of the development of the MK1 MX-5 which launched in 1989 (the full design and engineering process falling to Mazda’s expert team, with “Experimental Project Number 5” under development for much of the 1980s).


To recap, MX-5 stands for “Mazda eXperimental Project – Number 5”

In previous editions of Car Facts we have looked at what Miata means, as well as why the MX-5 is called Miata in the American market, so make sure to check those out.

Finally, make sure that you take the time to read our comprehensive Miata/MX-5 buyer’s guide. This covers all generations of this legendary sports car, and goes into great detail about what you need to be aware of when looking to buy one of these cars.

If you’ve got any questions or corrections, then feel free to leave a comment below – we always love to get reader feedback.

Also make sure that you check out our YouTube channel, where we produce original, short documentaries on the history of popular performance/sports/racing cars.


  • Sam

    Sam focuses mainly on researching and writing the growing database of Car Facts articles on Garage Dreams, as well as creating interesting list content. He is particularly enthusiastic about JDM cars, although has also owned numerous European vehicles in the past. Currently drives a 3rd generation Suzuki Swift Sport, and a Volkswagen Touareg (mainly kept for taking his border collie out to the hills to go walking)

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