Inside Mazda

A Lifelong Love Affair with The MX-5 Miata

Celebrating 30 Years of the MX-5 Miata begins with celebrating our fans and their stories. We asked owners and enthusiasts from around the country to submit their MX-5 stories to celebrate the debut of the 30th Anniversary MX-5 Miata at the Chicago Auto Show.


Rona Dexler has had an infatuation with cars her whole life. From an early age, she frequently played with toy cars instead of dolls. This, in part, was because of her father’s passion for cars. As an automotive journalist, he’d definitely passed the car enthusiast gene on to her.

Around the time she was graduating from high school, Dexler got the itch for a convertible.

“My dad had an Alfa Romeo Spider,” Dexler explained, “and I loved riding in it. Then I started driving it, and I realized that I wanted a convertible really badly.”

Right after the MX-5 Miata’s debut in 1989, a few years after her high school graduation, Dexler’s father attended a press program with Mazda to test and review the all-new roadster. He brought home a brochure from the program with a picture of the MX-5 on it and told her, “I think I’ve found the perfect convertible for you.”

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Later that year, her father received a white MX-5 through the manufacturer's press fleet to drive and review for a week. “It was love at first sight,” Dexler recalled. “Love at first drive, too. I was just absolutely head over heels in love.”

After her father reviewed that MX-5, another one ended up in their garage a few months later to review--a 1990 MX-5 in Mariner Blue and a #90 serial number.

“My dad looked at it,” Dexler explained, “and he told me ‘You want this one.’"

Dexler and her father kept tabs on the vehicle. Once it hit its mileage limit for the manufacture press fleet, it would be sold to the public--and that was their chance. They found the car at a dealership and would end up owning the car for 18 years, until the vehicle was totaled in an accident. Dexler replaced her 1990 MX-5 with a 1991 MX-5 painted in that same regal Mariner Blue color. Not owning that car for more than three months, her brother took the car to work one night and the car was stolen.

“I figured, ‘OK, no more MX-5s for me. The blue MX-5; it's obviously a bad thing for me to have one now,’” Dexler recalled. “So I went without an MX-5 for about a year, maybe even two years.”

The itch for a convertible came back though. Dexler, unsure if she wanted an MX-5 again, toyed with the idea of buying something else but her friends and family reminded her how much she loved her MX-5.

Then fate intervened. “My brother and I went to a local restaurant one night,” Dexler recalled. “We pulled into the parking lot, and saw six MX-5s in the parking lot. I just flipped out. I completely flipped out.”

After some encouragement from her brother, Dexler shared her story with them. “They welcomed me,” she explained. “I actually joined the club that night with no MX-5.”

And 90 days later, Dexler purchased an MX-5 from another club member, who is now five years later, her fiancé. “He actually proposed in his MX-5, which I thought was cute.”

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Over the years, Dexler has owned a few Mazda’s. After owning a Protégé 5 for more than 15 years, she now owns a Mazda 3 and two MX-5s – a white 1991 awaiting some repairs and an Emerald Green Mica 2001. She’s also eyeing the new Mazda CX-5.

“Now, at this point of my life,” Dexler said. “I've had an MX-5 longer than I've not had an MX-5.”

Dexler currently serves as the president of the Southern California Miata Club that boasts more than 170 members throughout the region. Like most clubs, Dexler describes the club as being not just a community but more like a family.

“I especially feel it in the club,” Dexler said. “We've got a group of about 12 of us. We do all the events that we can. We call ourselves The Usual Suspects, because it's just always that. We're family. At least that's how I feel about it. They're my family.”

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