1. Mazda Miata
The Miata might be a small car, but it’s a Goliath in the automotive world. Derived from the European philosophy of small, light weight and roofless, the Miata made many automotive enthusiasts forget about cars like the Triumph Spitfire, MGB, Fiat 124 Spider and Lotus Elan.
It also introduced the idea of a small roadster to a whole new market and demographic, is an icon when it comes to top-down motoring and the go-to car for wannabe race car drivers.
Sitting at just 2,100 lbs in 1990, the Miata soon became the MX-5, but hasn’t lost its way. Now in 2013, an MX-5 weighs about 2,500 lbs, but still maintains its brilliant 50-50 weight balance and is also now outfitted with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine making 167-hp.
Over 23 years it has lost very little of the personality that made it such a success in the first place. Look for a return to its roots when the fourth-generation Miata hits the market soon.