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Miata designer Tanaka helped hone Mazda’s identification

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Shunji Tanaka, a key designer of the enduring Mazda Miata, has died. He was 75.

Tanaka led the outside and inside design of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a light-weight Japanese roadster impressed by postwar-era British sports activities automobiles. The automobile went on sale within the U.S. in Might 1989 with a beginning worth of $13,800 and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 116 hp.

The roadster, which featured a light-weight aluminum hood, weighed a feathery 2,116 kilos and will hit 60 mph in lower than 9 seconds.

U.S. gross sales peaked in 1990, the automobile’s second 12 months in the marketplace, at 35,944. The 1 millionth Miata rolled off the road in 2016.

Although annual U.S. gross sales have declined as convertibles have fallen out of favor with customers, the automobile stays a key a part of Mazda’s identification. In 2019, Mazda celebrated the MX-5’s heritage with a thirtieth anniversary particular version.

Following his stint at Mazda, Tanaka joined Kawasaki, the place he designed bikes.

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