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Mazda MX5 Mk2

Make mine a MX-5 (again) Published: 23rd Sep 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Who would actually admit to liking anything by Abba? Well the first true life admission came from a Swedish friend. A former punk and now in the music industry he freely admitted to liking the most famous band his country produced. It’s a bit like that with Mazda’s MX-5. I’d driven a Mk 1 to an historic race meeting at Silverstone and was in the company of race drivers including former RAF test pilot and race driver Julian Soddy. When he learnt what I had arrived in he too admitted the same steed. Then the confessions started. Out of the assembled eight people, six had an MX-5!

I was freelancing on Car Mechanics magazine at the time and we wanted to show that a well repaired accident damaged car need not be any different from any other car in the street. A write-off is usually economic – read money not danger. So we found a car that had a small front end ding, sourced the parts, carried out a professional repair and were soon out on the streets. Oddly enough I wasn’t keen on the much revered pop-up headlights, favouring the later fixed units instead.

THAT MX-5 FEELING...

Fast forward a few years and the prospect of a later MX-5 started to have an appeal. As a fun two-seater surely there isn’t anything better and if there is a car still in production that could be considered a current classic then surely this is it. I was offered a 2004 Mk 2 1.8-litre, with just two owners and service history. Good on paper perhaps but it looked as though the last owner had left it standing on grass. I’m told that it is not uncommon for the suspension and brake parts to rust before your eyes. It is rare that ferrous disintegration takes its toll but it is ugly to look at. It passed the MoT easily enough so it was safe. But I wanted it looking good too. We’ll return to that side of things another day.

The day I collected it the poor car looked forlorn, left through the winter without a care. The battery barely put a glow into the ignition light it was so flat. So it was out with our trusty Clarke jump-start booster pack and coupled up to the battery in the boot. Without a sign of hesitation the engine just burst into life and was as sweet as only an MX-5 unit could be. Gears
engaged well, no clutch slip and the brakes were excellent. So we simply hosed it down and then let it sit in a warm garage for a few days with all windows open and the boot lid raised, just in case any water had got inside the car.

First thing I always do to get used to a new car is to give it a good hand wash. As the sponge and leather wander over the car any imperfections become obvious and this car did have one or two, just around the rear sill area. No matter what year the MX-5 they all seem to corrode in this very spot. Local company CL Classics (01376 327000) are courted by the MX-5 club after carrying out a comprehensive repair on a committee member’s car and so the rest flooded in. Although there is no immediate urgency I’ve booked the car in to be sorted. The source of the problem is a design fault where a drainage pipe empties itself into the sill with no way out for the water. So my initial thoughts are of a good unmolested MX-5 that has been well cared for during its life until last winter when it suffered a degree of idleness. It drives extremely well and even the radio with its electric aerial works. We’re lucky that the neglect was only a matter of months and there is nothing that cannot be put right. Its first outing was at the recent Cressing Temple Classic & Vintage Car Show where MX-5s were out in full force (oh was yours one of them I spied Jim?-ed).



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