There's a Good Reason Why The NB Miata and Dodge Viper Look Similar

It's all because of a man named Ken.

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Dodge/Mazda

The automotive industry is shockingly small. People jump from company to company more often than you might expect, it's an incestuous business. Most of the time, people move to a new automaker without being noticed by the public. Designers can't fly under the radar.

You constantly hear how one car looks like another, like an automaker is stealing design from its competitors. A modern example would be Kias looking like Audis, which is because Kia hired Peter Schreyer from Audi to be its design head a decade ago.

This was also happening in the 1990s, notably with two very different roadsters. The first was the V10-powered Dodge Viper, essentially a modern tribute to the Shelby Cobra. The second was the NB-generation Mazda Miata, which was the first redesign of the quintessential lightweight roadster.

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: Ken Saward.

Saward was a member of the design team for the first Viper concept, , including the interior. Mazda hired him before it went in to production in 1989, where he started working on the Miata. Saward was a key member of the team responsible for the redesign of Mazda's first roadster.

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Now you know the rest of the story.

Thanks for the reminders, and !

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