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Monday 31st January 2011

Mazda Eunos Roadster - too cheap not to?

Open Season heralds rare 'money where mouth is' moment...



You'll hear people banging on about how you can pick up a usable Mk1 MX-5 for little more than a grand. People like me, indeed. Can you really though? Open Season and an unexpected Christmas windfall collided head-on, and all of a sudden I found myself in a position to put the theory to the test.

I've been here before though. I helped my brother buy his Mk1. I helped a mate into his smart silver Mk2 Sport. I even managed to convince my mum to buy one, though she immediately rumbled my motives and vowed I'd on no account get anywhere near the driver's seat. But with a cheque burning in my pocket, a 'casual' toe dipped into the mid-winter soft-top market soon became a headlong dive with evenings spent hammering the classifieds.


It seems PHers have a taste for cheap MX-5s too, as a couple of appealing looking ones in my sub-£2K bracket sold annoyingly quickly via the PH classifieds before I could get over and see them. Then I spotted a couple of candidates at an import specialist I pass every day on my route to work. One, a silver Eunos at £1,495, looked especially promising.

They say you shouldn't buy the first car you look at. Especially if you look at it in the rain. Nor should you go anywhere near a car with no history. (Slightly less well known but also important, is the caveat that you shouldn't spend money given to you by your mother on a car, when under strict instructions not to spend it on a car...) Still, fool on the vendor for not advertising this Eunos on PH too. He'd had it sitting on his forecourt for three months and talking him down to £1,250 was easy, even with my uncomfortable approach to haggling.


So after breaking all those golden rules I am now living the Eunos/MX-5 dream I've sold so hard to family, friends and readers. And what can you really get for (just over) a grand? Well, in my case a bog-standard 1993 Eunos Roadster with the original 1.6-litre engine, no service history, a claimed 108,000km and - thankfully - no significant rust under the sills or rear arches. I've also got a daft rear wing and, more appealingly, a viscous LSD and frankly rubbish Tiga tyres. Rrrrr.

Downsides? Well, it appears to have had a rear-end shunt and a post-purchase underbody inspection (probably should have done this before laying down the cash...) reveals where a new rear section has been welded on. But it seems to have been done early enough in the car's life that it was worthwhile doing properly, so I'm not too worried about that.


A 'too cheap not to' purchase price is one thing though - can you really have a PH-worthy Mazda for the price of a set of tyres for a Nissan GT-R? And will it, hand on heart, be more fun as I may have (on occasion), rather boldly claimed?

Well I've already spent £350 on a service covering all the vital fluids and filters in the engine, gearbox, diff and brakes (plus braided lines) at an appealingly old-school local garage, and am now weighing up the possibility of - with help - tackling the cambelt myself. That and a first round of internet shopping for a cheapo eBay strut brace, stick-on number plate (stuck on wonky - another one on the way to replace it), replacement gearstick gaiter and centre console cubby hole are already pushing the total towards two grand. I suspect MX-5 Parts are going to be enjoying my custom over the coming months...


A limited mileage policy with four days' free track cover and mod-friendly attitude came in at £350 from REIS, and I'm ready to roll.

First impressions? Well, it's not fast. Not even nearly. But the Tigas and wet winter roads are an entertaining combination, even if the dampers feel decidedly tired. Next step? Negotiations with new friends Bilstein, whose hospitality I enjoyed on my trip to the Essen show last year. I think I'd like to get a roll bar of some sort fitted too and am currently considering my options there. And then there's the all important question of which exhaust to buy.

An MX-5 for a grand? Well, it's close enough for PH, isn't it..?





Dan Trent
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Author Discussion

vintageracer01

Original Poster:

873 posts

61 months

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Brilliant car !!! One of the all time greats.

Tyre Smoke

9,682 posts

147 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Moneypit!

chunkymonkey71

11,536 posts

84 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
thumbup

Excellent! I miss mine loads.

VladD

5,311 posts

151 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
I have the same rear wing on mine and can't decide whether to keep it or not. I look forward to seeing how the little beast gets developed.

davidporeilly

8 posts

73 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Its kind of interseting how the early Mark 1s have achieved a bit of heritage.
I watched my Uncle win the Australian Sports car title at Warwick Farm in a Lotus Elan in about 1970. Who would have though that a Japanese copy (unkindly put) or a car heavily infuenced (kindly put)by the Elan would now have its own heritage, and deservedly so.
You can't fool all the people all the time so as the best seller of all time (two seater convertible) its gotta be good.
Advertisement

sgibson808

38 posts

98 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
For one with a wielded on rear-end, it should have sold for around half that amount!

G0ldfysh

3,082 posts

143 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
pure man maths to be able to describe this as a mx-5 for a grand.....

Few months time and expect it to be £3k in and then a big bill looms....

Enjoy smile

jonkers

31 posts

96 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
"stick-on number plate (stuck on wonky - another one on the way to replace it"

Brilliantly honest - we've all been there one way or another! Best of luck with the Eunos


Eunos - when only Italy are left in the single currency hehe

carreauchompeur

12,798 posts

90 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
I paid £600 for mine. Nothing special, but thus far has been entirely trouble-free (Fingers crossed!) Total spend including complete new eBay suspension and geometry less than a grand. Absolute bargains and a hoot to drive. Plus, no rain=Roof off. a £12 plug-in seat heater from eBay sorts that!

The Crack Fox

9,971 posts

78 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Looks almost identical to mine, although mine is a MK1 UK car, not a Eunos, and I've got some rust...

Great cars, I wouldn't waste money on anything other than routine stuff though, it won't be any more fun to drive. smile

_Batty_

12,200 posts

136 months

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all

as seen at the Sunday service

cost me £1300, with £400 on the wheels, and £100 for the lip.
Doesn't get better for smiles per pound

Paddy_N_Murphy

16,201 posts

70 months

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
meh - for the £350 spent, new Rubber all round and the new shocks planned (new bushes too I am sure wink ) and the other bits and pieces, I am sure the cost will be £3,000 within the year.

For that money you could have had a non shunted 1.8 sorted - probably FI'd too.

paperbag

davidporeilly

8 posts

73 months

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Its kind of interesting how the early Mark 1s have achieved a bit of heritage.
I watched my Uncle win the Australian Sports car title at Warwick Farm in a Lotus Elan in about 1970. Who would have thought that a Japanese copy (unkindly put) or a car heavily infuenced (kindly put)by the Elan would now have its own heritage, and deservedly so.
You can't fool all the people all the time so as the best seller of all time (two seater convertible) its gotta be good.

Gizmo!

18,103 posts

95 months

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Fixed up read end sounds a bit suspect, but you've done the right thing by getting all the oilds and fluids changed straight out. Get some proper tyres on it now (you'll find 15"s easier and cheaper to find - and 15" alloys very common) and a full alignment by WIM or another specialist.

Join up on MX5Nutz for excellent classifieds and a mine of information - and whatever you do, don't a) go in the FI Forum on Nutz, b) google "Monster Miata". Do NOT. hehe

Luke.

6,571 posts

136 months

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
davidporeilly said:
Its kind of interesting how the early Mark 1s have achieved a bit of heritage.
I watched my Uncle win the Australian Sports car title at Warwick Farm in a Lotus Elan in about 1970. Who would have thought that a Japanese copy (unkindly put) or a car heavily infuenced (kindly put)by the Elan would now have its own heritage, and deservedly so.
You can't fool all the people all the time so as the best seller of all time (two seater convertible) its gotta be good.
We heard you the first time. getmecoat

Dan Trent

996 posts

54 months

PH Editor Bloke

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
I possibly made the rear-end damage sound more dramatic than it is; it's had a bit of welding and it was a proper job. End of as far as I'm concerned. Main thing is the lack of rust. And it drives straight. 15" Ultraleggeras with T1Rs ready to go on too, though I'll miss the Tigas! wink

Batty - that looks lovely too. Mariner Blue is my favourite but, curse my impulsive nature, I couldn't wait!

Luke.

6,571 posts

136 months

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Dan Trent said:
I possibly made the rear-end damage sound more dramatic than it is; it's had a bit of welding and it was a proper job. End of as far as I'm concerned. Main thing is the lack of rust. And it drives straight. 15" Ultraleggeras with T1Rs ready to go on too, though I'll miss the Tigas! wink

Batty - that looks lovely too. Mariner Blue is my favourite but, curse my impulsive nature, I couldn't wait!
Nice car Dan. Think your post count needs a little work though. wink

Gizmo!

18,103 posts

95 months

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Dan Trent said:
I possibly made the rear-end damage sound more dramatic than it is; it's had a bit of welding and it was a proper job. End of as far as I'm concerned. Main thing is the lack of rust. And it drives straight. 15" Ultraleggeras with T1Rs ready to go on too, though I'll miss the Tigas! wink

Batty - that looks lovely too. Mariner Blue is my favourite but, curse my impulsive nature, I couldn't wait!
Ultraleggeras? Good choice. Very good choice.

In dark grey for bonus points. hehe

suffolk009

1,327 posts

51 months

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Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Its a doppleganger of my car! I've had mine a year and a half. All that's gone wrong is a dead alternator, and a cambelt snapping (really should remember to do that on time in future). Then the new alternator died 5 weeks out of warranty! If it sounds unreliable, it's worth remembering that I've done 20,000 miles in that time (inc a trip to switzerland in the snow, and Le Mans). It's been econo-box cheap to run.

I'm suprised you had someone else change the fluids and filters but are thinking of doing the cambelt yourself? When we did the cambelt we also took out the aircon. Why would I need it? Dead easy just substitute the belt for a non a/c belt.

I've been tempted to spruce it up and start moding it - but keep getting a dose of the sensibles. keeping it fully stock is just great. Everything works reliably. And the bits are cheaper than chips. I'd recommend the cheapest tyres you can find. They'll have less grip - a good thing, and you won't care when you've rubbed them out.

That hole in the gear gaiter is also handy for keeping your left hand warm when the roof is down.

I have a friend who races them and he swears by the race dampers, and skimming the head and adjusting the timing is apparently good for 10-15bhp - but ruins the fuel economy.

Personally I'd loose that spoiler.

People call them the new Elan. I think they are actually more like the new Midget/Spitfire.

Did you know Jay Leno keeps his next to his Elan, Atom, Rocket, and F1? That's good company.


laup99

131 posts

114 months

[news] 
Monday 31st January 2011 quote quote all
Just done it!!!!

mx5 1.8 UK model. 91,000 miles. FSH, Serviced in Sept, Cam belt done at 71,000. MOT until Sept 2011. Brand new hood, Bumper needs repainting and rear off side wing has some blemishs (peeling laquer in small part) few stone chips on the front, Drivers side seat has small split on bolster and thats it.

£1,000!!!!

lets add insurance £196

Tax £205

2nd hand set of seats £50

Some bits from (Front grill new gear knob ) £50

I now have a great, reliable weekend car, bought at the right time that with out anything major going wrong should cost me nothing other than fuel until Sept. All for £1600!!!


When (or if) i come to sell....at the right time (summer 2012!!) i wont lose anything on my original purchase price.... might even sell it for more.

Have had various cars (truimphs, MG's, Porka, TVR) didnt even consider an MX5, didnt want to. All the old Cliche's. Yes not the fastest thing, no hairs on the back of the neck like with a TVR.... but how I underatted it!!! its Fantatstic. Why oh why did I not buy one years ago (becuase i refused to even driver one!!) pound for pound knocks socks of everything.








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