Page 2: MX5 1.8 litre Mk3.5 Miyako SE
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I loved the Mk1 mainly because it took it's styling cues from the much smaller and evocative Lotus Elan, the car that every snotty nosed schoolboy of the 1960s lusted after. Mind you, Emma Peel drove one in the Avengers TV series and everyone lusted after her as well so it was two for the price of one! The Japanese have always been masters at copying things and improving them so nobody could deny the obvious, that the little Elan was where the inspiration lay for the original MX5.
There were some aspects of the Mk1 MX5 aesthetics though that never sat easy with me, I always thought the rear wheel arches were just a bit too big, and the swage line that runs along the entire length of the car didn't fit well with the rest of the design, smooth sides would have been best. It was also just a bit too, "cute" - probably the reason it got it's "Hairdresser's car" label, but underneath that cutesy exterior lay a brilliantly sorted chassis with a superb and lively - if a bit underpowered - engine. This was a car that set the standard for all small 2 seater sportscars forever after and it soon earned a reputation as a fine drivers car despite the derogatory remarks made about it's girly appeal. It's been said many times, but it's the car that MG should have made. I loved the Mk1, I loved owning it and I loved driving it.
It was just a personal thing with me, but the Mk2 never floated my boat at all looks wise, they should never have done away with those pop up headlights. However, mechanically and chassis wise the ethos of the MX5 was kept well and truly alive so it was still an excellent car for those who owned and drove one..... Then in the mid 2000s Mazda launched the Mk 3 version. I saw my very first one "in the flesh" parked outside the main entrance of an Ibis hotel in France whilst on a motorbike trip there. Of course it was bright red, and it blew me away! I spent ages walking around it taking it all in and I couldn't find one angle from which it didn't look good. I was looking at simple, affordable automobile perfection and I knew that one day I'd have to own one. Aesthetically, Mazda had got it so right this time round. It was shortly after seeing that car I bought the Mk1 as I couldn't financially stretch to buying the new model at the time and I just plain didn't like the look of the Mk2, but I always knew my time with a Mk3 would come.
time finally arrived in June 2012 when circumstances dictated that I couldn't ride
motorbikes for a while, so another MX5 was the natural 4 wheel choice to replace
my temporary loss of 2 wheels. By now the Mk3.5 had made an appearance, and if
anything I found that to be even more appealing than the Mk3, so I was soon
heading over to a Mazda dealership in Yorkshire to pick up a 2010 Special
edition Miyako - in Velocity Red of course, what other colour is there to have
for this iconic sportscar?
These two shots are lifted from the Mazda dealers website
A test drive in pouring rain probably wasn't the best introduction to the car. I'd been waiting in vain for some decent weather to turn up for weeks so that I could go and buy one but time was running out for me to do so as we had a rapidly approaching road trip to Spain organised and nothing to go in. Should anyone need reminding, 2012 was atrocious. The rain started in March and forgot to stop again so I had no choice but to break my own rule and buy the car in wet weather. The car drove very well though - better than the only other previous one I'd tried but it was obvious it needed a chassis alignment, as most MX5s do, That job was given to Nigel Lang's Garage in Bolton who have a Hunter laser alignment rig, and Peter, a guy who really knows how to use it. It transformed the car's handling.
A rare dry period shortly after arriving home with the car.
I always regretted never having lowered the suspension on the Mk1 so for this car it was put at the top the "things to do" list. Only thing was that we had the trip to Spain to do and I was bit concerned about the car bottoming out whilst getting on and off the Ferry, so it was decided to leave it 'til we got back but it was the first job I did on arriving home.
The car lowered on Eibach springs, it looks so much better & still shiny after over 3000 miles of dusty Spanish roads.
The MX5 is a car that you just can't leave alone, well I can't anyway, so a few subtle little things have been done to it. There are plans for other stuff but I don't want to go too daft as I like it just as it is. Shortly after fitting the springs I decided it would be a good idea to rustproof it, it's not been properly undersealed as yet, that'll be done when the warmer weather arrives and the car has 100% dried out but all the cavities were injected with Dinitrol cavity wax before the damp winter weather hit.
This was changing the oils which Skipton Mazda promised they'd do - but never did! Best do a job yourself if you actually want it doing!
I was mooching through some cupboards in my garage when I found this chrome gear knob which was on my Mk1 for a while.
It now serves as the connection between the two cars. It has to come out in the summer though - it gets too hot to touch!
The rollbar covers painted, I hated them in silver. The red logo is pinched from an
MX-5 OC sticker. There's another one on the hood rear window, top R/H side.
The colour I painted them is Ford Ash Black, the sticker was applied then the whole cover was clear lacquered over.
It wasn't worth getting the spray guns out for such a small job so these were done using Halford's rattle cans.
These were quite a good buy - from E.Bay. A set of black "Tuner" wheel nuts, I thought they looked quite smart.
And the "must have" for every MX5 owner - a stubby beesting aerial! This started life as a red Richbrook jobbie that was picked
up cheap, again off E.Bay but it looked really naff so it went into the pillar drill for a quick polish.
Where both the 5 and me are at our happiest - out of town on the open road. January 2013 over a moist Trough of Bowland
"Simple, affordable, automobile perfection"
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Video of the MX5 2012 Spanish road trip
in Spain 2012 full story and photos
Video of the MX5 2013 Europe road trip
in Europe 2013 full story and photos