Steer from the rear!


mx5paintdamage1_4c9c72254f609-lightboxI didn’t really know what I wanted; just that it had to be fun and rear wheel drive.  I considered a Mk2 MR2 but I’d had one before and didn’t real like it. Various other cars were considered and ruled out for different reasons, I really wanted a Smart Roadster but the prices seem to be on the rise and I couldn’t stretch to one. I eventually decided to locate a good Mk1 MX-5…

After several weeks scanning Autotrader and Pistonheads I tracked down what seemed to be a good spec Mk1 Eunos Roadster at a well known (in MX-5 circles) dealer.  Most people in the know said that at this age the imports were the cars to have as they were less likely to have the rust that is the killer of most UK cars.  The tales of them being more expensive to insure proved unfounded as this has turned out to be the cheapest car I’ve ever insured, which turned out to be a blessing, but more of that later.  I travelled over 100 miles to see the car and got the price down by a few hundred quid due to the imminent lack of tax and sticky electric windows, a common problem but easily sorted.

The car in question is a Eunos Roadster 1.8 Special Edition, all the other factory special editions had names (over 100 of them!) but mine simply says on the manufacturer’s sticker, Special Edition.  What’s special about it? Well it had factory fitted Bilstein suspension, highly prized I’m told, lots of extra bracing under the rear of the car, a revised ECU and a limited slip diff with different ratios to a standard car.  Initial impressions are that the car is very stiff but this makes for startling cornering ability.

After only 2 days ownership, I was off on holiday; what greeted me on my return was rather distressing. I arrived back to find every panel of the car barring the doors covered in paint stripper necessitating my first insurance claim in 19 years of driving.  The police were as good as they could have been, but without proof it’s impossible for them to do anymore.  Quotes to repair the damage were quite shocking, ranging from £1200 to £2000, all agreeing the car needed a full respray which it’s just been booked in for.

Initially I was reluctant to drive it in it’s current state, but then I reasoned that I was letting the perpetrator win if I did that and with the decent weather we’ve been enjoying recently I’ve been out with the hood down everyday.  Along favourite roads the car is astonishing; while it’s no fireball, as long as the speed and revs are kept up rapid progress can be made. Corners that could be intimidating in other cars are a breeze in the little Mazda, despite mismatched tyres all round.  I’m booked onto a track driving instruction day at Elvington soon, so it’ll be interesting to find its limits in comparative safety.




Gavin Davis