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Monday 12th September 2011

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?



Bloke logic, meet financial reality. Nope, you never were going to get along were you? Let's stick with bloke logic then, the same that dictates I always boast of my Eunos as being brilliant for a £1200 car.

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)


Last time I left you 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.


I got the car back 24 hours ahead of an 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.


Even on the motorway it was clear the Eunos had been the recipient of some serious work. The ride was noticeably firmer, as you'd expect with a near doubling of spring rates, and perhaps a little harsher at lower speeds than I'd been expecting. Not unpleasantly so - firm but fair would be an accurate description. Clearly the chassis rails were making a big difference too, the improved bump absorption and stiffness meaning even big expansion joints were shrugged off without even a trace of the previous judder.

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.


As Phil promised, the SportDrive doesn't isolate you from what's going on but nor do the shocks punch through. Over rapid bumps it was clear the dampers were moving very quickly but the body control was night and day better, dips and compressions seeing the body move as a whole, all four dampers working in unison with no trace of the floating or porpoising that had been present before.

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.


At the track I twisted a few arms to see if I could put in a couple of cheeky laps, this being where I'd taken the Eunos pre suspension mods and therefore an ideal before-and-after test. The infamous Tigars limited the outright speed but the more neutral stance and significant reduction in roll brought about by the dampers' firm low-speed damping meant a ton more confidence on turn-in.

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.


He reckoned it might not be quite as pointy as the current-shape MX-5 he'd arrived in so we did a couple of back-to-back laps to test the theory. In the end the two behaved in a pretty similar manner, my Tigars perhaps at the heart of the issue but the Eunos still showing a lovely neutral balance and smooth transition into oversteer when required.

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...


By now my confidence was sky-high, the Eunos rewarding a serious increase in commitment with utter composure. P5 seems to have really hit the sweet spot here - grip and balance doesn't come at the cost of feedback and seat-of-the-pants fun. Later excursions have revealed a slight issue of increased NVH from the passenger seat, but I think this is more down to the chavvy overtones of my rude 'zorst. Irritating background noise is, on the whole, successfully drowned out, though.

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.

Dan Trent
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thewheelman

Original Poster:

2,194 posts

61 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
This is what makes me laugh about "bargain" MX5's, you'll end up spending the same money again on the car. Just buy a decent one in the first place.

Ex Boy Racer

561 posts

80 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
It's called being a car enthusiast. All of the sensible things you tell yourself about value for money and common sense evaporate when it comes to going that bit faster and better.

I find it's best just to accept it and enjoy the drive!

thewheelman

Original Poster:

2,194 posts

61 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
Ex Boy Racer said:
It's called being a car enthusiast. All of the sensible things you tell yourself about value for money and common sense evaporate when it comes to going that bit faster and better.

I find it's best just to accept it and enjoy the drive!
Erm...i am a car enthusiast, still makes more sense to buy a good one to start with, then improve it.

ZOLLAR

17,294 posts

61 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
I predict Jonnyfive will be along shortly biggrin

Jack_and_MLE

500 posts

127 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
it's called upgradetidus or something similar this disease.

I've got it and my Caterham 21 is now a lot more powerfull than before (about 40bhp)

Jack
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Froomee

1,253 posts

57 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
thewheelman said:
Erm...i am a car enthusiast, still makes more sense to buy a good one to start with, then improve it.
Although i agree with this point in principal, it is hard to be exactly sure on what is and is not a good one.

Some people prefer to do the mod's and work once they own the car just to be sure the work has been done properly and in the way they want it to.

six of one half a dozen of the other.................

I wouldn't mind an mx-5 with a supercharger/turbo and wide arch kit.............

thewheelman

Original Poster:

2,194 posts

61 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
Froomee said:
thewheelman said:
Erm...i am a car enthusiast, still makes more sense to buy a good one to start with, then improve it.
Although i agree with this point in principal, it is hard to be exactly sure on what is and is not a good one.

Some people prefer to do the mod's and work once they own the car just to be sure the work has been done properly and in the way they want it to.

six of one half a dozen of the other.................

I wouldn't mind an mx-5 with a supercharger/turbo and wide arch kit.............
One of my cars is an MX5 with the turbo conversion, i'd say it's a good one....

Dimski

1,959 posts

87 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
Dan, I followed almost exactly your pattern.

Picked up one with great engine and bodywork, with no rust but very tired suspension. It was dropped off with Phil, and the suspension (earlier system, Puredrive) totally transformed the car. 3 years on it still drives brilliantly. One or two small issues, as ever, but I suspect a trip back to Phil may have them diagnosed properly, which my local garages seem unable to do.

For sale now, in fact. (sorry, had to mention it!) Either with issues at the current price, or with them fixed for more! biggrin

ETA - Apologies Al, been a while since I scanned the rules. Andy.

Edited by Dimski on Monday 12th September 19:58

PGD5

1,097 posts

71 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
thewheelman said:
..still makes more sense to buy a good one to start with, then improve it.
Exactly, but even so that never ends.. no matter what the starting point.

thewheelman

Original Poster:

2,194 posts

61 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
Dimski said:
Dan, I followed almost exactly your pattern.

Picked up one with great engine and bodywork, with no rust but very tired suspension. It was dropped off with Phil, and the suspension (earlier system, Puredrive) totally transformed the car. 3 years on it still drives brilliantly. One or two small issues, as ever, but I suspect a trip back to Phil may have them diagnosed properly, which my local garages seem unable to do.

For sale now, in fact. (sorry, had to mention it!) Either with issues at the current price, or with them fixed for more! biggrin

censorednono
"There is a slight vibration between 65-80. I have lived with it, but I'm sure an expert could diagnose" Sounds like a cheap fix, if it goes after 80mph it sounds like the wheels need to be balanced.

Dimski

1,959 posts

87 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
thewheelman said:
Dimski said:
Dan, I followed almost exactly your pattern.

Picked up one with great engine and bodywork, with no rust but very tired suspension. It was dropped off with Phil, and the suspension (earlier system, Puredrive) totally transformed the car. 3 years on it still drives brilliantly. One or two small issues, as ever, but I suspect a trip back to Phil may have them diagnosed properly, which my local garages seem unable to do.

For sale now, in fact. (sorry, had to mention it!) Either with issues at the current price, or with them fixed for more! biggrin

censorednono
"There is a slight vibration between 65-80. I have lived with it, but I'm sure an expert could diagnose" Sounds like a cheap a cheap fix, if it goes after 80mph it sounds like the wheels need to be balanced.
Yes, it could be. Will give my local tire folk a call.

- ETA Booked in, hopefully solved tomorrow. smile

Edited by Dimski on Monday 12th September 16:41

thewheelman

Original Poster:

2,194 posts

61 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
Dimski said:
thewheelman said:
Dimski said:
Dan, I followed almost exactly your pattern.

Picked up one with great engine and bodywork, with no rust but very tired suspension. It was dropped off with Phil, and the suspension (earlier system, Puredrive) totally transformed the car. 3 years on it still drives brilliantly. One or two small issues, as ever, but I suspect a trip back to Phil may have them diagnosed properly, which my local garages seem unable to do.

For sale now, in fact. (sorry, had to mention it!) Either with issues at the current price, or with them fixed for more! biggrin

censorednono
"There is a slight vibration between 65-80. I have lived with it, but I'm sure an expert could diagnose" Sounds like a cheap a cheap fix, if it goes after 80mph it sounds like the wheels need to be balanced.
Yes, it could be. Will give my local tire folk a call.

- ETA Booked in, hopefully solved tomorrow. smile

Edited by Dimski on Monday 12th September 16:41
Nice one, the car looks very good, & should sell pretty quickly smile

Dimski

1,959 posts

87 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
thewheelman said:
Nice one, the car looks very good, & should sell pretty quickly smile
Cheers! It still cleans up well.

I'm going to miss this one, it has been a fantastic car. I thought I'd be honest in the advert, that's probably not helping! hehe

The Danimal

177 posts

43 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
With the combination of a 4am start and a new loud exhaust, I bet your neighbours love you.smile

the_hood

220 posts

82 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
thewheelman said:
This is what makes me laugh about "bargain" MX5's, you'll end up spending the same money again on the car. Just buy a decent one in the first place.
+1

drewcole81

337 posts

94 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
Weather you buy a cheap one or a expensive one you will always end up spending money on them...

I picked up my UK 94' 5 about a month ago, body wise it needs new front wings but the rear sills have been done already, it was as if it had never been cleaned and I could hardly see out of the windows!

I was going to walk away without driving it, until I saw the service history... never in my life have I seen such a comprehensive history with a car, even having the full service ticket for the previous week. Reading through I found the car had been cared for beyond all else ensuring the engine was spot on and the underside running gear was in top notch condition.
I took it for a spin and bought it on the spot, I paid £870 for it..

Adding up the money the previous owner spent on servicing they spent well over the value of the car, I myself will be spending more money it too....

I guess it doesn't matter what type you buy... there will always be money spent whatever the car is... If you love cars then there is no getting away with it.



drewcole81

337 posts

94 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
the_hood said:
thewheelman said:
This is what makes me laugh about "bargain" MX5's, you'll end up spending the same money again on the car. Just buy a decent one in the first place.
+1
Not everyone want to buy a car that is 'decent'... some people (like me) enjoy the money we spend getting them just the way we like or putting the back to standard...

thewheelman

Original Poster:

2,194 posts

61 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
drewcole81 said:
Weather you buy a cheap one or a expensive one you will always end up spending money on them...

I picked up my UK 94' 5 about a month ago, body wise it needs new front wings but the rear sills have been done already, it was as if it had never been cleaned and I could hardly see out of the windows!

I was going to walk away without driving it, until I saw the service history... never in my life have I seen such a comprehensive history with a car, even having the full service ticket for the previous week. Reading through I found the car had been cared for beyond all else ensuring the engine was spot on and the underside running gear was in top notch condition.
I took it for a spin and bought it on the spot, I paid £870 for it..

Adding up the money the previous owner spent on servicing they spent well over the value of the car, I myself will be spending more money it too....

I guess it doesn't matter what type you buy... there will always be money spent whatever the car is... If you love cars then there is no getting away with it.
I paid £2750 for mine with 6 months tax & 10 months MOT, been garaged every night of its life, full Mazda service history, 57k miles & it looks like it just rolled off the production line, plus it has the hard top from new. Now i've seen people pay that for rusty examples that are older than my 2001 car. So it made perfect sense to me to buy the best example i could for next to no money, i knocked the seller down £1k. Any mods i have done have been to make it even faster & better handling.

suffolk009

1,584 posts

53 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
Blimey - it's like Max Power in here. What's the matter with running it as it left the factory?

I've had mine two years, serviced it and it's done 45,000 kms with me. The alternator died and the cambelt went (that was my fault) that's all. It's been to Gstaad in the snow and LeMans last summer. Okay so the rear window is gaffer taped and a couple of body bits need doing. But for £900 what do you want?

Just finishing a set of tyres so purchased an almost unused set on the ebay, with wheels(!) delivered for £90.

When the shocks need doing, I'll spend some money, until then it's cheap thrills.

dapearson

2,218 posts

112 months

[news] 
Monday 12th September 2011 quote quote all
I've just bought a 1998 Mk2 1.8i S. It has Gaz Gold Pro coil-overs all round, Larini exhaust system, race radiator, K&N induction kit, new tyres, good discs with Yellow Stuff pads, LSD, full Mazda history on 95k miles, and I paid significantly less than £2k for it.

All mine needs is a smaller steering wheel and a quieter back box (i'll keep the Larini sport cat and mid-pipe) and it'll be about perfect as a track car.
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