The venerable MX5 has just reached it's 4th generation, and what a stunning looking car it is, especially in metallic red - I swoon every time I see one! You see here my dark blue 2nd generation example, which is not quite in the same league. Yes, it is a thing of ageing beauty, but also a reflection of my passion for trawling local classifieds for hidden gems. 17 years and 88,000 miles means this particular MX5 is at the bottom of it's depreciation curve. The mk2s are largely overlooked, purists preferring the Miata for originality, and being the first incarnation of Mazda's milestone small roadster. I'm warming to it's curvy looks.
I found myself lured back into MX5 ownership having played a few games of GT Sport on the PS4 with my son. We scrolled around the glossy in-game car garage, the software showed the metal surfaces of each car reflecting perfectly. We looked at the MX5 Miata. I remembered with fondness my red mk1 MX5. I put the back of my mind it's rusting sills, and the fact that I'd become over protective of the car, to the point that I stopped driving such a low-mileage treasure. This time, it would be different. The primeval draw towards a nimble, high-revving soft-top, reliable, with a lithe chassis and incredible grip, leads you back to only one place - an MX5. But this time, I was going to move up to a mk2.
Straight off the owners drive, this year 2000 MX5 mk2 1.6 drove beautifully, still tight, no rattles, quiet engine - almost perfect. I knew it wasn't perfect cosmetically, or historically. I'd been warned that the car had very little service history. In practice, this meant the owner had only a couple of receipts from his ownership, for a service, and a waxoyl (I was pleased about that one), but that was about it. Bum. So the car had to be largely judged on condition. Hood was two thirds of the way through it's life. Scuffs to paint both sides of front lower bumper. Rear n/s sill patched this year for MOT (which is why owner had set to with Waxoyl.) Front driver seat stitched on bolster (where they all go). Cambelt claimed to have been done at 66k, but sadly, no proof. Stereo not working. Steering wheel foam come away from core on top half, feels wibbly.
To give credit to the car's previous owners, she'd been largely well looked after. My main decider came in the form of the Government's online MOT checker, which a confidence-inspiring list of nice safe annual mileage steps, which was a big reassurance as to the car's history. On top of that, they were all local, Devon (Sidmouth) test stations, most of them being the same one from 2009 through to 2016. For you stat fans, here's the list:
88,117 - 22/06/2017
85,814 - 13/06/2016
82,527 - 09/06/2015
77,255 - 03/06/2014
66,998 - 03/06/2013
62,750 - 28/05/2012
56,710 - 31/05/2011
49,679 - 26/05/2010
44,171 - 01/06/2009
37,337 - 21/05/2008
35,570 - 02/03/2006
So we agreed a price - and after bringing her home, I set to with my valeting kit, and quickly bought a secondhand owners book off Ebay for £25. Since then I've been looking for any excuse to drive her, and I'm just not tiring of the tiny short throw gearlever, which is a sheer delight. As a motorcyclist, the MX5's virtues bring you close to the sensation and freedom of a bike, but with some home comforts for the autumn and winter.
Oh, and I've bought a new (used) sports back box off Ebay, and I'm going to do some ringing round and see if I can find anything of the car's history. Niggling thought: the owner mentioned a cambelt change at 66k, but without proof, I'll have to get in inspected myself.
To be continued...
UPDATE: December 2017
Learnt my lesson with the back box - the Ebay seller didn't specify which MX5 it was for, and Ebay suggested it would fit mine, BUT turns out it was for a Mk1. Fair play to them, they accepted it a as a return item, and I learnt a valuable lesson about double-triple checking what model I'm buying bits for.
Very good news was that I found a local chap (Buckfastleigh) breaking a 2.5 MX5 for a kit car he's building, and he was able to sell me a new steering wheel for £20 (the foam had disconnected from the rim on mine giving the top half of the wheel a rather squidgy horrid feel), AND an electric aerial with all the bits needed for £15. Both fitted today by Berrybrook, so I'm a happy man, and James also got the stereo working along with the aerial, so Radio 4 can blare away as I tootle through the village :)
Mazda MX5 mkII review - TW White & Son
MX5 buying guide - TW White & Son
Warranty Direct article - MX5 named most reliable convertible