Cold War.

P1060340_4a301da4d3cf7-lightboxSat under a thick blanket of flakes, the thought crossed my mind that the sensors for my remote central locking weren’t receiving anything due to the abnormally low temperatures that the UK had seen since my last track outing at Oulton. When my barometer rose from freezing to just bone numbingly cold, I gave it another go. Still nothing. I checked the batteries in the fob, which were fine. What the hell was going on?

Because my fob wouldn’t work, I had no way of turning off the alarm if I tried to break in, so I gave up and went to the pub. About a week later I had a go at unlocking the boot manually to see if the alarm would go off, which it didn’t. The beauty of the MX-5 in this circumstance is that, rather like the MGB, the battery isn’t in the engine bay. Instead it’s located in the boot to which, I now had access. Tester kit on and I found something quite startling, there was NOTHING in the battery and I do mean nothing. No wonder the alarm never went off!

I tried to trickle charge it, but after 3 hours and only a few extra volts running through (about enough to power the bootlid lights) I decided to run the car from the old man’s Vectra and physically kick some juice back into the battery. I waited with my thumb poised over the fob ready to open the car before it would potentially die again. Bright bootlid lights hinted at enough to open the car, so my thumb flicked the button on the fob and I was in.

This is where my luck spectacularly ran out. Just like on any car, when you press the fob, the lights flash and the doors unlock…which my car did. No problem there. Unfortunately, this seemed to ‘prime’ ALL of the electrics… I started it and this then set everything off. The following is a brief list of what blew when I turned on the ignition:

4 x headlamp bulbs (about £12 each)

4 x sidelight bulbs (about £10 each)

4 x indicator bulbs (about £2 each)

2 x bootlid bulbs (about £2 each)

1 x alternator and regulator (about £200)

1 x wiper motor (cost still unknown)

1 x ABS module (£1,637.47 + VAT and fitting)

I’d just like you to read the price of that ABS module again. No…I couldn’t believe it either. How the hell could Mazda justify a price like that? I still don’t have the answer to that as the man from Warrington Mazda just laughed at me when I asked if he was taking the proverbial.

I didn’t have time to ponder the thought anyway as I was too busy preparing myself for a decent drive down to Long Marston airfield for some on track hoonery organised by the ever accommodating chaps at Mazda on Track. I was slightly worried that the car might drop its innards all over the rough, pock marked surface in Shakespeare country but I couldn’t deny myself the chance to drive like a buffoon in relative safety!

It started with a thread on MX-5 Nutz trying to get lots of people from there to take part. After some furious booking, a convoy from the North West had been organised and I found myself sat outside a pub at some ungodly hour awaiting the arrival of the convoy. The sight of 15 MX-5s in all colours and states of tune was quite something.

One thing was clear on the way down; supercharged MX-5s sound spectacular! Imagine Darth Vader wheezing badly, mixed with a touch of microphone feedback and you’ll be somewhere near.

I’ll tell you more about Long Marston and Mazda on Track in my next entry, but suffice to say, the results weren’t quite what I was expecting.




Tom Jones