A patent drawing for the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata has made its way online.

It's hard to keep a secret from Japan's media - the latest spill comes from Mazda, which is busy reading a new roadster.

Mazda's third-generation MX-5 Miata might still be a spry little droptop, but it's getting up there in age. Introduced back in mid-2005 as a 2006 model, the Miata is up for a redesign for 2013. We've already reported that its curb weight will shrink by as much as 720 lbs. thanks to Mazda's Skyactiv weight-savings techniques (described in detail earlier today).

From this patent drawing, we can see that Mazda is planning to go a little retro with the Miata's style, too. Gone is the automaker's current Nagare-themed styling and in its place is a more conventional nose akin to that found on the original 1989 model. Don't look for pop-up headlamps to make their return, however.

The drawing was released to Tokyo's Patent Office, but it was intercepted by Japan's Holiday Auto magazine.

Look for the next-generation Miata to bow in concept car form as early as next Spring before a production model debuts at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in about a year and a half.


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