There are loads of limited editions (typically between 250 & 400 of each edition) with really nice interiors and subtle and not so subtle styling features.
Avoid Imported Eunos - Many parts are slightly different ie: the glass is thinner so replacement requires beading with UK glass. Also Mazda alledge that they cannot read the ECU's on their diagnostic equipment. If it has airconditioning it is 80% likely to be an imported Eunos as very few UK spec cars have A/C.
Always check for a full service history preferable at Mazda.
Check electric windows for smooth operation a thud is normal when reaching lowered position. If you go for a model with popup headlights check that these also work smoothly and evenly.
Other than this general stuff what year are you looking at - generally the later teh better. Friend of mine has a YSL edition with red interior and that is very nice.
They are both well balanced cars and handle very well. I think you will find the 1.6 underpowered when you have driven the 1.8. I've heard that the 1.6 is easier to tune up but I would probably go for a 1.8 anyway.
Check the hood for leaks - they can be really annoying and hard to track down.
Don't agree with avoiding imports, as most NA's are imported anyway and the differences are negligable if any. Don't be afraid of one that's been played with either, ie mods etc - 'cos that most probably means someone has loved it and taken care of it (as long as they have been done correctly) - I think the 1.6 NA is about the best one, parts are widely available and cheap enough and you can do loads to it if you'r into mods etc - jus so 'appens I got one for sale - oops sorry ! Just remember that it's a car that's built to be driven to its limits and when you do you will become addicted to it - bad car, naughty car !
i have just bought a 1.6 with a full MOT for £700 and it's sound. I have been studying the forums and so it seems the early mk1 1.6 (115bhp) is the engine which most respect, high revving and a bit lighter, The imports are a better buy as there is less chance of rust and you will get a lsd and air con thrown in, The 1.6 was later reduced to 90bhp (avoid) as it was too close to the 1.8. Also if you wish the 1.6 is much cheaper to turbo, miata.net is a good forum for info. and now winter is here it will soon be a good time to buy
Well if it all goes well (the owner is MOTing it for me before i hand over the dosh. I will be using it as a work car, Hopefully I can fit a spirit level in it. I wanted a car which would be known for pure handling, I am not a fast driver but do like torque (I know MX5 has none, but the price caught my attention) Of course i have been researching the forced induction ideas and see that on the mx5 forums the dedicated few often sell thier SC kits for around £700 which seems a bargain as to buy new they are well over £2k, failing that a decent turbo kit can be had for around £1200, but to spend monsy on a car this cheap doesnt seem worth it, Maybe if a second hand SC comes up i'll take a punt, almost 200 bhp a ton sounds pretty good and i prefer the big engine linear feel of a Sc over the kick in the back turbo experience, By the way my chosen cars for the job were Porsche 944 (2.7 plus) and VW Corrado (Any engine) and of course the MX5