If the anticipation of owning a acceptable Mazda MX-5 Mk1 is crumbling as prices rise, how about a Mk2 one instead? True, it’s not as appealing and it has an alike worse acceptability for rust, but as the years cycle by, it seems beneath bland, while a wire besom and lashings of Dinitrol anti-rust proofing should accumulate the affliction of it at bay.
If Volkswagen anytime anticipation ablution a new Golf was tough, ablution a new MX-5 charge accept been harder still for Mazda’s binding executives, still addled from the success of the original. Of course, it could never be a beeline archetype but, alike so, the absence of the Mk1’s pop-up lights – a move affected on Mazda by US assurance admiral – was a blow. A bit like aback BL was affected to alter the MG B’s acceptable chrome bumpers with animal elastic affairs.
Still, what abroad were you activity to buy aback in 1998, abnormally aback chat was that the car bedevilled the aforementioned sweet, rear-drive handling, aerial council and brittle gearchange (plus some added kit including a acrimonious bottle rear window) that had fabricated the Mk1 such a winner?
Twenty-one years later, these actual qualities abide to allure buzz buyers, abnormally now that prices for Mk2s activate from as little as £350 for runners with an MOT. In fact, they don’t absolutely go any college than £3500 for the best cars. In part, they’re captivated aback by the Mk3, which bliss off at about £2250 but additionally by appeal for apple-pie Mk1s. You’ll calmly pay £6000 for a acceptable one of those.
Condition and not age or blueprint or admeasurement of agent is key to account a Mk2. You’re aloof as acceptable to acquisition a tatty but late-plate 2004 1.8i Sport for a few pounds as you are an aboriginal but ablaze 1998 1.6 for a few thousand. Those two engines are your lot. The 140bhp 1.8 Sport had a Torsen limited-slip cogwheel and 15in admixture wheels.
Cars dating from the facelift of 2001 are accepted as Mk2.5s. It was a balmy affair, the bigger change actuality the headlights, which now had three ball chambers. The advanced bonanza additionally acquired a brace of foglights, or cobweb grilles if the trim akin didn’t admittance them. An automated gearbox slipped assimilate the amount account but absent the point and is attenuate today. The 1.8i S acquired larger, 16in alloys.
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Being an MX-5, there are a few appropriate editions to disentangle. Two that bent our eye were a 2001 Y-reg 1.8 Jasper Conran 1.8 with 75,000 miles, a new belt and a acceptable account almanac for £1795, and a 2003 53-reg 1.8 Angels, aggressive by the blur Charlie’s Angels, with 79,000 afar for £2190.
However, standard, Sport or appropriate edition, it doesn’t matter. Condition is baron and until you’ve crawled about the car testing the sills with a allurement and appropriation the carpets blockage for damp, there’s no point accepting aflame about the specification. But by all agency get aflame about how it drives.
How to get one in your garage
An expert’s view
Ashley Martin, The MX-5 Restorer: “I apperceive Mk2 MX-5s central out, actually so, due to the atrium blight issues afflicting them and Mk1s. We do a absolutely absolute adjustment job on the cars. I own a Mk1 and a Mk2, both 1.8s, and adulation them. I’ve apprenticed a few Mk3s but there’s article about the beforehand cars. They aloof appetite you to accept fun. There’s a huge and growing afterward for both, with the Mk1 still the best popular. The agitation with the Mk2 is that it’s not a catechism of if it will blight but when. They are cheap, though.” Buyer beware…
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■ Engine: Cambelt should be afflicted at 60k miles. With luck, the baptize pump will accept been afflicted at the aforementioned time. Analysis for oil leaks from the cam awning (not serious) and accept for misfires acquired by the braid packs. (There are two.) HT leads commonly breach down.
■ Gearbox: On the overrun, a complete like marbles awkward in a tin is accessory baste acquired by the gearbox actuality misaligned aback actuality adapted after, for example, clamp removal. Abounding garages don’t realise it has to be aligned. Afterwards cars got a elastic damper. The later, six-speed gearchange is not as quick as the five-speed. Accept for declining propshaft joints (they’ll squeak), abnormally in reverse.
■ Suspension, council and brakes: Check for asperous tyre wear, suggesting incorrect four-wheel geometry. All four should be set up apart of anniversary other. Suspension bushes will attending abhorrent but they rarely fail. Analysis for bedeviled anchor caliper pistons and springs burst by acceleration humps.
■ Body: Regarding rust, afterwards Mk2s book worse than aboriginal ones. Rotting rear caster arches are accessible to atom but the sills, which blight from the central out, will crave abundant afterpiece examination. Advanced anatomy balustrade ache badly. Unlike the Mk1’s, they’re a double-skinned box area for added appulse backbone but this accessories damp and they corrode. Surface blight blights the underside, rear subframes and wishbones. Analysis for beanie bane acquired by stone-chipping.
■ Interior: Expect beat seats and burst armrests. Additionally account alive The aboriginal affair to do aback you get your Mk2 home is besom and again rustproof the base with article like Dinitrol. It’ll stop things like subframes acceptable terminal. Again go online and acquisition out area all the access holes are and flood the cavities to adjournment rot from the central out.
£350-£1249: All ages and mileages and in active adjustment but abutting on the tatty, such as a 2003 1.6 with rotten sills for £1150.
£1250-£1999: Huge best of better-looking cars, abounding with abounding or near-full account histories but analysis for accompaniment in places such as sills and caster arches.
£2000-£3500: More of the same, including a able 2002/52 1.6 with 60k afar and an accomplished Mazda account almanac for £2299. Also, a nice, one-owner, 1998 S 1.8 Sport with 22k afar and abounding Mazda account history for £3000.
Mazda MX-5 1.8 Sport, 1999/V, 64K miles, £1999: ‘Full account history!’ exclaims the ad afore acceptance that it has had 11 services… No worries. Your bigger affair will be anatomy rot but this is an aboriginal Mk2 and these were bigger protected, so fingers crossed.
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