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Thursday 12th July 2012

PH Fleet: Mazda Eunos Roadster

Look, I was kidding about removing the spoiler meaning less rear-wheel grip...says Dan



After a 1,000-odd miles of flame-spitting around Scotland, the Eunos has probably earned itself a little period of rest and recuperation, so it's had a much quieter time of it lately.

Quick, a sunny evening - get the Eunos out!
Quick, a sunny evening - get the Eunos out!
This is in no way linked to the fact that it's been raining and I'm a fair weather roadster driver, no sir. In fairness I'm not. I'll avoid wet salty roads in the winter, but take somewhat perverse satisfaction in refusing to put the roof up unless it's absolutely necessary. And so long as you can keep up 60mph or so you're usually OK.

Well, you would be were it not for the ridiculous rain of late. Yet another reason to be impressed by this little car? Not even a trace of a leak from the roof, no matter how hard it's been raining.

Wings clipped
What to report though? Well, the spoilerless bootlid kindly sourced for me by Classic & Sports Car compadre James Page - via MX5 Central in Wales - is now in place. And was, genuinely, the work of a moment, even though the 'five-minute job' is now accepted in my household as code for over-ambitious assessments of how long these things usually take.

Definitely neater, loss of downforce acceptable
Definitely neater, loss of downforce acceptable
The colour match is OK but the fit isn't perfect, legacy probably of the rear-end repair the car had at some stage in its life. Some deeply unscientific leaning and tweaking has got it acceptable but, such is the beauty of a cheap car like this, you can live with such 'character features' and not get too stressed.

And, tongue now removed from cheek, there has been no apparent difference in handling without the mighty downforce generated by the previous winged bootlid. And I think the car looks neater without.

GT looks great
Elsewhere on planet MX-5 I was heartened to hear about the MX-5 GT Concept prepared for Goodwood by the Jota race team with whom I've been lucky enough to drive on occasion.

Dan (and Eunos) pose with the Jota race car
Dan (and Eunos) pose with the Jota race car
It's clearly been built with the production racer I've driven in mind and I'm very keen to have a go, the race car's blend of more noise and predictable, exploitable and pliant handling just the ticket in my book. I like that they've achieved the extra power through 'proper' tuning, too.

Plenty of folk make MX-5s go faster with forced induction and the temptations are obvious. But I can't help feel it's not quite in character with the old Jinba Ittai spirit somehow. I speak having never driven a supercharged or turbocharged current shape MX-5 of course (the BBR Le Mans was fun though) and will probably eat my words having done so.

Jota's road-going GT looks a barrel of laughs
Jota's road-going GT looks a barrel of laughs
But given how much tuning expertise there is in the Caterham world for the Duratec 2.0-litre the Mk3 MX-5 uses, I've been surprised there's not a more established business in tuning up MX-5s too. 205hp sounds like a sensible amount of power too - enough to make things a bit more entertaining without messing with the spirit of the car. And though I've not seen the GT in action yet I gather from those who have that the noise - the induction especially - is awesome. I'll be pestering Mazda for a go as soon as possible...

 


Fact sheet:
Car:
 1993 Eunos Roadster (JDM import model)
Run by: Dan Trent
Bought: January 2011
Purchase price: £1,250
Last month at a glance: The Eunos has been resting up after its Scottish adventures and getting used to life without a wing


Previous reports:
The Eunos returns to Scotland for another road trip
Has Dan killed his Eunos?
Snowed-in Eunos gets a mini facelift
Taxed, insured, MOT'd, re-tyred - it's been an expensive month
Eunos gets a loud exhaust and new suspension
New suspension offered but am I worthy?
Purchase price only half the story...
Open Season heralds rare 'money where mouth is' moment...

Dan Trent
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Author Discussion

moskvich427

Original Poster:

176 posts

63 months

[news] 
Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Looks far, far better without that nasty spoiler. Keeps the lines pure smile

Krikkit

5,217 posts

69 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
What lovely cars. Got to scratch that MX-5 itch in the next couple of years!

russkyh

12 posts

36 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Is that a late nineties Corsa Club badge on the bootlid?

Jag-D

19,633 posts

107 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Out of all the cars I've had, I miss the Eunos the most. I really REALLY want another one at some point

D4SH

115 posts

107 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Your roof is in better nick than mine then! hehe
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Limpet

1,128 posts

49 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Our MX-5 (an X-plate mk2 1.8iS) was the first casualty of sprog arrival. The other half and I both still talk about it fondly now, and we sold it 8 years ago on the grounds that it simply couldn't be made to fit even remotely into our lifestyle and needs at the time, and there wasn't space to store a weekend toy.

No other car I've owned or driven, except perhaps my old 1976 Mini 1000 delivered so much fun at such sane speeds, and motivated me to simply drive it for the sake of it. Best of all, the little Mazda was no more demanding an ownership experience, and cost us no more to run or own over 3 years than a typical Japanese family hatchback. Brilliant little package. I will always have a soft spot for them.

LewisR

537 posts

103 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
I'll not hear a bad word spoken of the MX5, especially the MK1. Utterly brilliant cars and those that slate them as being hair-dresser cars are just showing their ignorance.

I wonder how many OEMs were kicking themselves that they didn't do that back in '89 ?

I WILL have another one at some point !

Jag-D

19,633 posts

107 months

[news] 
Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Limpet said:
Our MX-5 (an X-plate mk2 1.8iS) was the first casualty of sprog arrival. The other half and I both still talk about it fondly now, and we sold it 8 years ago on the grounds that it simply couldn't be made to fit even remotely into our lifestyle and needs at the time, and there wasn't space to store a weekend toy.

No other car I've owned or driven, except perhaps my old 1976 Mini 1000 delivered so much fun at such sane speeds, and motivated me to simply drive it for the sake of it. Best of all, the little Mazda was no more demanding an ownership experience, and cost us no more to run or own over 3 years than a typical Japanese family hatchback. Brilliant little package. I will always have a soft spot for them.
It's crazy how they grab you. We have a family too and that's the main reason why I don't have another this year, but I sincerely hope at some point I will.

The really mad thing is that I'd sooner have one than a BMW 540/740 which I used to look on so fondly

Still though, it would have to be a series 1 biggrin

Riknos

4,409 posts

92 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
I want some NA tuning on my mk3 MX5. Otherwise, I'll end up chopping the thing in soon for an S2000 I've been hankering after for ages.

Regarding roof leaks: Any MX5 owners reading; leaky roofs can normally be cured by moving/sealing the rubber seals around the windows - no need for forking out for a new roof (which wont cure these issues, anyway)

ge0rge

1,322 posts

93 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Some sort of stigma of driving one of these that would keep me a mile away. I think the girliest car i could be seen in is a boxster/s2k.

Cotic

261 posts

40 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
ge0rge said:
Some sort of stigma of driving one of these that would keep me a mile away. I think the girliest car i could be seen in is a boxster/s2k.
You're not 'George' of Famous Five fame then.

ge0rge

1,322 posts

93 months

[news] 
Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Cotic said:
You're not 'George' of Famous Five fame then.
Not familiar with the FF.. Apologies.

Bloitus

74 posts

51 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
I was lucky enough to see the MX5-GT at Goodwood FoS this year. It did sound great flying up the hill thumbup

TameRacingDriver

9,450 posts

160 months

[news] 
Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Jag-D said:
It's crazy how they grab you. We have a family too and that's the main reason why I don't have another this year, but I sincerely hope at some point I will.

The really mad thing is that I'd sooner have one than a BMW 540/740 which I used to look on so fondly

Still though, it would have to be a series 1 biggrin
I know, I've had 2 now. Wasn't as keen on my 2nd but thats probably because it was a rusty, bog standard UK spec mk1 versus the first one which was an RS-Limited! I wish I hadn't sold that RS Limited now.

I still sometimes think I'd like to return, probably to a Mk2 RS 6-speed in white with white rims lick

Contigo

2,716 posts

97 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
You've really got to admire the PH'ers love for the Eunos/Miata/MX-5.


WolvesWill

49 posts

37 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
I'd love a mk3 mx5 with a tuned n/a engine! I have a fiesta st with 200bhp, heavily breathed on by mountune, it sounds amazing with the revised inlet manifold, and bangs and pops like an old rally car. Imagining the same 2.0 Duratec in an mx5, roof down....wow!

Limpet

1,128 posts

49 months

[news] 
Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Jag-D said:
It's crazy how they grab you. We have a family too and that's the main reason why I don't have another this year, but I sincerely hope at some point I will.

The really mad thing is that I'd sooner have one than a BMW 540/740 which I used to look on so fondly

Still though, it would have to be a series 1 biggrin
I would go for a mk1 as well next time around. smile

Got quite a few hairdresser comments at the time, but frankly I enjoyed driving the car so much, I couldn't have cared less. On the right road, the MX-5 just felt brilliant, without smashing speed limits or attracting unwanted attention. It seemed to strike a near perfect compromise between agility and stability. You could feel the chassis moving about when pressing on, but never to the point where it threatened to put you in the ditch. When it did slide, you felt it through the seat of your pants and corrected it so naturally that it never became dramatic. The engine wasn't very powerful, but was so responsive and willing that you could use the throttle to trim the line ridiculously precisely in fast sweeping corners, and feel the weight transfer affect each end of the car in such a predictable way. The nose would go exactly where you wanted it, and you could manipulate the rear end to suit almost by telepathy. Not a fast car by any stretch of the imagination (my current F30 320d would leave it standing in a straight line), but a real drivers car. I have so many great memories.

I'm the first to admit I am no driving God, but the outer edges of the Mazda's handling envelope were just so accessible and exploitable to anyone with even a vague clue about how a RWD car behaves. Every response was just what you'd expect, and it never threw any unpleasant surprises. Benign is the wrong word because it implies boring, which the MX-5 certainly wasn't, but predictable, consistent and most importantly, accessible are definitely suitable. I can appreciate that more experienced pilots might want something that challenges them more, but for us mere mortals, it flatters and rewards like few other cars.

Bit gushing and waffly, sorry. I'll be quiet now. smile

Edited by Limpet on Thursday 12th July 12:49

VladD

5,443 posts

153 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
My Eunos broke down on me at Le Mans Classic at the weekend (my fault, left the ignition on). It's now fixed and waiting for me in Arnage. Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to going to pick it up and driving it up to Roscoff. Any good sights to see on the way?

GravelBen

11,455 posts

118 months

[news] 
Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Jag-D said:
Out of all the cars I've had, I miss the Eunos the most. I really REALLY want another one at some point
+1

And the funny thing is I think I miss the standard one more than the 250bhp turbo one.

Jag-D

19,633 posts

107 months

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Thursday 12th July 2012 quote quote all
Limpet said:
I'm the first to admit I am no driving God...
That's where we differ:

I'm a powerfully built driving god sporting an angry look, beautiful watch and a full can of Red bull ready for the hurling hehe

The Roadster surprised me, mainly due to the feel of the thing as it had such short gearing which made it feel so much quicker not to mention the 35mm drop on an already lowered car. The amount of people that asked me to slow down when I was sticking to the speed limit was hilarious.

I must admit, just for the drifting pleasure I'd be tempted to get an extra 40 or more HP out of that cracking little 1.6, but other than that it was just about perfect


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