Shunji Tanaka, a key designer of the long-lasting 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 automotive went on sale within the U.S. in Might 1989 with a beginning value 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 automotive’s second yr available on the market, 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 shoppers, the automotive 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.