Ask any MX-5 enthusiasts about the idea of a hardtop Miata, and you're bound to get your ear talked off. Mazda has just unveiled a hardtop for the latest generation of its roadster, but it's not for the enthusiasts -- at least not most of them.
For the not-at-all-low price of $4,420, you can pick up a factory hardtop for your, but there's a catch, and a big one at that. It's not actually meant for the street-legal Miata. Instead, it's an option for the MX-5 Cup racecar. In fact, to keep folks from getting the wrong idea, it will only be sold to approved racers who own or have ordered the Cup car.
Why bother with adding a hardtop, you ask? Adding a roof, even if it's not a permanent one, allows the MX-5 Cup to participate in additional racing series, including SCCA, NASA and the Pirelli World Challenge. This is in addition to the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, a spec series where the cars don't need roofs to race.
The MX-5 Cup is a far cry from the standard car, in terms of both equipment and cost. Its engine features race modification, the brake lines are stainless steel, the suspension is adjustable and there's a big ol' roll cage jammed into the interior. While a standard MX-5 may start around $25,000, the MX-5 Cup more than doubles the price to $58,900.
You might wonder what's stopping you from just finding a racer friend who will buy the hardtop for your street car. Well, for one, there's the look of it. From the angle seen above, it looks fine and dandy. But, in order to clear the rather tall roll cage, the hardtop packs an odd rising roofline.
There's also the matter of what you'll have to do to make it fit. A Mazda Motorsports spokesperson told Car and Driver that adding this racing hardtop "requires things you wouldn't want to do to your street car." By the sounds of it, there's probably some cutting involved.