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Old 06-09-2014, 05:22 PM   #1
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Default Miata Hardtop Pricing Bubble

I haven't been in the Miata scene TOO terribly long, but a couple years ago (at least around here) hardtops were available fairly regularly for 500-800. Then they were 800ish consistantly. Now it's pretty common to see them for $1,000-$1,300 if they're nice.

I just checked, and my insurance company values it at $200.

It seems to me that the main reason for the hardtop "bubble" is because the OEM one is the only one that really fits well.

Although I just saw this: Smooth Line: Hardtop: Miata which is a brand new top for $1,000 and I know there are some other companies out there making a "race" top for much less, it just isn't perfect fitment (yet.)

So what do you think? It has been TWENTY FIVE YEARS since the NA/NB oem hardtop was designed..tech has come a long ways! How long before someone out there capitalizes on this pricing bubble, and comes up with a brand new, lightweight top that FITS WELL, and it's available for ~$800 brand new shipped to your door? I don't think it's that far off..

What will happen to the price of OEM tops? Or do you think we're destined to just run out of them as ricers crash them, and no one will ever match the technological glory of 25 year old Mazda?
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:23 PM   #2
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Insurance companies can and will pay out far more than $200 for a hardtop.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by concealer404 View Post
Insurance companies can and will pay out far more than $200 for a hardtop.
I'm sure they will, as they're required to give some sort of "real market value" but the actual book value of KBB and NADA is like $200 or 5% of the value of the car.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:29 PM   #4
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I've wondered myself why there hasn't been a good aftermarket hardtop submitted to the market.

My assumption is that it has to do with the cost of manufacturing being far greater than the potential number of actual purchasers willing to pay enough to cover the cost of fabrication/production.

That said, I don't foresee any end to the OEM hardtop "bubble". Because OEM yo.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:37 PM   #5
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A OEM quality HT will cost more to make than the OEM top costed new ($1500?). Add the shipping cost into the mix (customers will not be local) and it will be hard/impossible to compete with even $1200 refurbished OEM HTs (new paint and new rubbers). OEM-quality latches, hooks etc will not make it cheaper either.

Is it possible to make molds that will produce well fitting HT shells, sure, but they will be a bit heavier than the lightest flimsiest version that some racers might want.

The market for non-OEM tops are not homogeneous, to say the least.

The last top I fetched was 380 euros in Hamburg (odd color, a black one was 500).
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:41 PM   #6
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The 93 we have has a Snugtop hardtop. It's honestly not terrible. With some OEM seals on it, it's fine. The latch mounting sucks and breaks, so i just got on the train when Garagestar made Spec-Miata-ish mounting brackets for the Snugtop.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
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you can thank spec miata rules for the prices of hard tops. Unless that series opens it up to aftermarket tops (unlikely) they will just get more and more expensive.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlev View Post
I know there are some other companies out there making a "race" top for much less, it just isn't perfect fitment (yet.)

So what do you think? It has been TWENTY FIVE YEARS since the NA/NB oem hardtop was designed..tech has come a long ways! How long before someone out there capitalizes on this pricing bubble, and comes up with a brand new, lightweight top that FITS WELL, and it's available for ~$800 brand new shipped to your door? I don't think it's that far off..
I have a race top that I purchased bare for over $500. Though it serves a purpose, it is a total piece of ****. I spent a week of my time getting the thing to fit and look remotely as good as an OEM top. It would take me another week to get it to actually seal tightly. How much do you think that would cost for a professional to do that? There are a lot of materials involved to go from a race top to a nicely sealed top.

There is not a chance in hell that any company will produce a top that is half as good as OEM for $800.00. As Miatas get rarer, factory components are going to go up. It has been like that for as long as cars have been in production.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EErockMiata View Post
you can thank spec miata rules for the prices of hard tops. Unless that series opens it up to aftermarket tops (unlikely) they will just get more and more expensive.
Apparently it is likely, soon hopefully.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:58 AM   #10
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"Bubble" implies that it is going to burst and that prices will drop, which isn't going to happen.
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Old 06-12-2014, 07:28 PM   #11
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I agree on the prices being oddly high for hardtops. Also depends on your area. In the SF Bay Area, ppl are asking between $1,000- $1,300 for a decent hardtop. One's beat up w/o glass are going for sub $1k.

I was able to pick a 2005 oem hardtop in Los Angeles for $850, so to get a better price, you may have to drive further out of your radius for a decent price.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:03 PM   #12
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I think it is partly an issue with people confusing asking price and selling price and then over asking slightly more each time. The long term effect is price inflation. Around here I see a lot of turds listed for $1000 and occasionally I will see a red hardtop with paint chipping that the seller wants $1200 for. I don't know anyone who has paid that much for one.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:46 PM   #13
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They are pretty expensive, but as far as hard tops go they are cheap. When I wanted one for my MR2 they were like $2500, and had to be imported from the UK. Luckily there are enough miata hard tops floating around that they are selling for at least attainable prices. I'm pretty sure an S2K hardtop is more expensive too.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:00 AM   #14
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No one has bothered to mention another real big problem that price inflation causes: THEFT! I'm afraid to park my car in most areas around the bay area when I have the HT on. Tops can and do get snatched here in mere seconds. (BTW, CL ads are the best place to locate your top if it gets stolen) Security hardware can help, but it's still not infallible to a determined thief given a little more time.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:34 AM   #15
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paying over $1k for a top seems crazy to me considering the prices of the cars themselves. It is what it is, but picking up a decent priced NB and then forking out that much for a HT is rough. Read up on the snugtops and decided it wasn't worth the poor fit and headaches. I'll be keeping an eye out for an OEM top and dealing with haggling for a hopefully reasonable price. Major bonus if I can get one in green mica, or at least black so it's kind of close to my green nb.
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:37 PM   #16
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It's funny because you truly can't get more than ~$2000 for a fair condition 1.6, maybe $2500, even with a hardtop. But you can easily flip the hardtop for $1000-1200, and still sell the car for $2000.

A local just did this, $1000 for the car+hardtop, then sold the hardtop for $1000. Free Miata! That was a smoking good deal though.
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post

A local just did this, $1000 for the car+hardtop, then sold the hardtop for $1000. Free Miata! That was a smoking good deal though.
Really speaks to the regional differences in prices too. In the Northeast, I can't imagine finding anything near that deal unless it was a complete rusted out basket case. Seen some like that, but you get either a crap body, or a crap engine. sometimes both.
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:02 PM   #18
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Quote:
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A local just did this, $1000 for the car+hardtop, then sold the hardtop for $1000. Free Miata! That was a smoking good deal though.
I bought a rusted out 90 with a hardtop for $1200 a couple years ago. Parted the car out and made way more than $1200 while keeping the hardtop for my own car.
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:37 PM   #19
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I don't think "bubble" is an accurrate term - bubble describes something that is likely to "pop" in the near future. T think the current hard top pricing is more of a "hill".

I did pick up a white car for 1700 with a white hardtop a couple years back, and then several months later, I picked up a red car for 1600 with a mint condition red hardtop (guy bought the car new in 93 with a HT, stuck HT in basement, and it collected dust for 20 years) Also picked up a black NB with a HT for 3500, later sold the car sans hardtop for $4300.

It seems that the cheapest way to buy a hardtop is with a car attached. This will likely continue until the day that the Miata is no longer a popular low-cost racing car....
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njn63 View Post
I bought a rusted out 90 with a hardtop for $1200 a couple years ago. Parted the car out and made way more than $1200 while keeping the hardtop for my own car.
This is the only way I have heard of anyone getting a cheap hardtop around here.
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