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  • Writer's pictureMSM Registry

Dodge Viper - Miata MX-5 NB Comparison

These two cars are 100 percent unrelated in terms of engine and chassis. They also debuted a decade apart, but they have one common link: Designer Ken Saward.


While working at Chrysler, Saward was a member of the design team under Tom Gale for the first Viper concept.


Hired away from Chrysler in 1989 by Tom Matano, who designed the first-generation Miata, Ken was put on the MX-5 program and charged with updating the car for its second generation (NB). No small charge given how well those original cars were received.


“The objective of the program was to make it a little bit more masculine and a little bit more familiar with the new RX-7 that was out, so it had more voluptuous surfacing than the first-gen car. From a regulations standpoint (pedestrian safety) and weight, we needed to get away from the pop-up headlights,” he said. “So that was the big driving force in doing it. Originally, we thought we could just graft a new front end on the car, but as we went through the process I started developing the fenders and putting more form in it and that kind of sold the program of going forward and doing all new sheet metal. So they decided to do an all new car."


If you squint real hard you might be able to some similarities.


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