Although the Mazda MX-5 was of course built in Japan, it has its foundations on the thoroughly British idea that producing fun, affordable two seater sports cars is a worthy pursuit for a car manufacturer.
It first arrived in 1991, at a time when convertible sports cars were only found at the top end of the market, with average buyers getting their kicks from hot hatches instead.
Only one 1.6 litre engine was available for the Mazda MX-5's first three years on the road, but by 1994 it became apparent that a bit more power was needed and a 1.8 litre iteration was launched.
The second generation used MX-5 landed in1998, with a facelift helping to contemporise its looks and improved engine technology helping to squeeze a bit more power out of the 1.6 and 1.8 litre power plants. Mazda even made an automatic gearbox available for those who prefer to avoid manuals.
In 2005 the approved used Mazda MX-5 entered its 3rd generation, with a bigger chassis and body giving it a little more presence on the road. This also led to a weight increase, which could and should have compromised the car's famously excellent handling and performance, but Mazda worked some magic and retained the spirit of its predecessors.
In 2009 the mark III MX-5 got a facelift, which means that it now looks a lot more poised and predatory than ever before.
It is a testament to the MX-5's enduring popularity in the UK that Mazda has been able to produce 10 and 20 year anniversary editions and still sell more of this model than any of its immediate rivals.
Bang for your buck
The original Mazda MX-5 for sale is a little archaic when it comes to equipment compared with modern models, but it still has a classic look, with those pop-up headlamps being a unique feature that went out the window in 1998.
For the second generation, Mazda improved the trim and made sure that two average sized adults could get in without feeling cramped. The boot isn't the biggest, but for a weekend trip it should serve you well.
The third used MX-5 mixed up the exterior design and also made sure that interior detailing, such as the dials on the dash, all look great and function well. Both soft and hardtop models are available, with elegant mechanisms making it easy to pop up the roof when the weather takes a turn.
After the facelift in 2009 a number of subtle changes were made, but you get the same levels of quality and finish as you would expect from an MX-5 of any age.
What you'll pay
You'll pay £9000 to £10,000 for the most recent face lifted iterations of the second hand Mazda MX-5, which means any of its older siblings will be in a lower price bracket.
The MX-5 is generally affordable and gets extra points for being particularly reliable, so even if you pick up an older iteration for a few hundred pounds, it should be a good investment.
What to check
The MX-5 has become the watchword for reliability in the auto industry and it's difficult to think of another car of any type that can best it in this area.
As long as you pick up an example that has been serviced at the correct intervals and doesn't show any overt signs of wear, tear or modification, it won't cause you too many issues.
Specialist dealerships and garages are the best place to look for top quality MX-5s.
You'll pay £160-£200 for a clutch assembly depending on the age of the MX-5, while starter motors are £135-£150.
How it drives
The used Mazda MX-5 for sale may not have the most powerful engine out there, but it doesn't really need a whole heap of horses under the bonnet because it is built to be light and designed to handle like a dream.
You will feel totally in touch with the car and the road when you are behind the wheel and even the first and second generation models still offer excitement and fun for people who want uncomplicated thrills at a good price.
Gearboxes have become smoother over the years, with paddle shifting models made available to ease the process of navigating traffic.