PH FLEET UPDATE: MAZDA EUNOS ROADSTER
Slammed ride height, loud exhaust. Oh dear - has Dan's inner chav finally been let loose on the Eunos?
Yes, my Eunos was a brilliant £1,200 car. But it's now a considerably better one and, I think, still a bargain even with the investment of its purchase price over and again on a few tweaks. (Tell yourself something often enough and you start to believe it, eh? - Ed)
the car was with Phil at Performance 5 for its SportDrive suspension kit. But Phil's something of a perfectionist and I was soon staring at some fairly extensive work. The SportDrive dampers use different top mounts to allow more travel and Phil replaced the worn rear anti-roll bar bushes too. Once installed it was off for a full geo set-up to Phil's preferred settings.
And while he was at it he fitted a set of his chassis reinforcement rails too, these bolt-on stainless box sections stiffening the body considerably. £120 very well spent on any MX-5 or Eunos and thoroughly recommended.
appointment in Anglesey to drive the MX-5 GT race car but, never one for an easy life, decided now was the time to pair the suspension with a loud exhaust for the full effect. A Moss stainless system rejected by my brother for being too loud had been knocking about in the garage and, for a few quid at the local fitters, it was on.
A family engagement meant forgoing the hotel the evening before the MX-5 drive and doing the trip to Anglesey in one hit. The 8:30am track briefing meant hitting the road at 4am and as I droned bleary-eyed up the M6 I kept telling myself it'd be worth it for a crack of dawn rendezvous with the Welsh roads. One thing was clear, with the new exhaust nobody in North Wales was going to be getting a lie-in.
The succession of roundabouts on the A5 past Shrewsbury and Oswestry were a good transition from the motorway to the 'proper' roads beyond Llangollen and by now the 4am start was forgotten and I was really starting to enjoy myself. No longer was the front end flopping down onto the outside wheel on turn-in, there was now the bite I'd been craving from the front axle, combined with a more settled rear-end.
By the time I'd reached Betws-y-Coed the grin was even bigger. I'd driven these same roads in it just a few months before and enjoyed it but now I was really able to attack them properly. Fabulous stuff.
Bona fide driving god/top bloke Mark Hales was also there to drive the GT but I couldn't resist asking him for his tuppence worth on my Eunos too. "It's stiffer at the front," he spotted after a couple of corners.
On the way home I couldn't resist a slight diversion off the A5 to take in two of the three sides of a certain triangular collection of roads...
True, doubling the original expenditure on any car is a big step. One that I haven't regretted for a moment, though. Cheap thrills? Perhaps less of the former but plenty of the latter.