Now, however, Mazda is stirring the revolution once again with the new MX-5 Miata.
So what do the cards hold in store for the fourth iteration of this iconic drop top?
For starters, the Miata is in fact an open top and it has two seats.
The new MX-5 went on a diet and shed around 100kgs, using more aluminium and high-tensile steel.
The power plant of the new MX-5 received a bit of a watering down as the model for the Japanese market received a new 1.5-litre engine, developing 97kW compared to the previous figure of 126kW. The model for the American market will be fitted with a SkyActiv 2.0-litre direct injection engine, producing 115kW.
Additionally, the new car is also shorter, lower and wider – improving the balance of the car while aiding the now 50:50 front-rear weight distribution.
According to Mazda however, the horsepower figures in the new drop top will not really matter thanks to the more scientific approach on the balance of the new MX-5.
Chief engineer of the MX-5 project, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, claimed that the driving dynamics of the new MX will be even better, thanks to the new chassis and lightweight suspension.
Has the MX-5 swapped its character for a level-headed scientific approach then? Let’s hope not.
The question now remains if and when Mazda will bring the drop top sports car to sunny South Africa and more importantly, which engine option will it have in store for our market.