Friday 28th August 2009

SOTW Special: Mazda MX-5

PH finally buys another Shed, and this one's not just any Shed; this one's an MX-Shed

After weeks of fruitless Shed-spotting on the various online classifieds sites, there was growing despondency at PH Towers as our next shed special was proving rather elusive. That was until Garlick spotted something a bit special on Gumtree. It was an MX-5 (well, an imported Eunos Roadster), and it looked grand. Well, it did on the ad - a bright blue low-resolution splendour. Best of all, the owner had put it on at just £695, with no major faults listed.

I put in a swift call to the seller, a small-scale trader from North London, and learned that there was a spot of rust on one of the rear sills (the usual spot for Mk1 MX-5s), a small tear in the rear screen, and that it lacked tax and a service history. But a reasonable mileage at 185,000km (115k miles) and that seductive, negotiable price tag meant it had to be worth a look.

So on Saturday at the crack of noon, Mr Will and I rolled into a quiet street in Harrow to go and take a look at this would-be Shed.

First impressions were pretty good - it was a car, that was for sure, a whole MX-5 that wasn't on fire or sitting in an orange rust cloud. All good so far. A poke around the bodywork revealed everything was in pretty good order, with decent and mostly matching paint, only 2 small dents, and lovely original Jap-spec BBS alloys (albeit with strange 'Enzo' centre caps, for some reason).

The rust on the sills was the same as in many older Mk1s that were not Waxoyl-ed by conscientious owners when the body was still clean, but it was far from terminal, and the car had just passed an MOT from a known garage with no advisories issued, so it was definitely fine for the road.

Like the exterior, the interior was mostly straight; dirty (and smelly) and needing some finishing touches, but with plenty of Shed potential. A non-standard remote-control central locking system was also a bonus. A peek under the bonnet and quick test drive revealed a car that was, mechanically, not in bad nick at all, with a strong engine and its lovely direct gearbox still in great health. Even the oil was nice and clean.

The car seemed to be sitting oddly, and a comparison with my own car sitting next to it revealed that the blue Eunos had been lowered at the front, but not at the rear. Further peering and prodding showed up a set of drilled and grooved front discs, and fairly new Continental rubber.

Some final clues revealed the car's past: a GB sticker on the rear bumper and, sitting proudly above it, another sticker in the familiar shape of the Nürburgring. The interior also revealed a small fire extinguisher, a Porsche Carrera Cup hat, and a 2006 printout from a Donington Park track day. This had been somebody's track toy.

We retired to the local petrol station for a terrible coffee and a chat, and decided to go for it. Mr Will took lead on the negotiation, but the seller was stubborn and knew he was already asking very little. We offered the full asking price if he would tax the car. After he refused this very strongly, our man Will offered to by the car SORN for £600 instead. The seller refused for a good five minutes, but when Mr Will started counting out the readies the dealer was seduced and we sealed the deal.

A tax disc for six months set us back another £105, and we were away.

So far the car has received a full wash and polish, a nice new set of front brake pads as the existing ones started grinding after a couple of days (don't you mean after a couple of miles?! - Riggers), and I braved the interior and boot to make things a little more habitable. The iffy smell is fading now, and she's looking and driving rather well.

Still to do are the rear screen, a few missing details (the front badge for one!), a stereo and some bits of interior trim that need replacing, but this is certainly more than £600-worth of car. Watch this Shed-shaped space...

Shed-obsessed after his latest spot, Garlick has gone and created SOTW's very own Facebook group, the 'PistonHeads SOTW Appreciation Society'. To join, just search the title in Groups on Facebook, and show your appreciation for our much-loved sheds.


Author: SimonSaid

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123 comments on this story

Last comment was by Engelbert H
on 8th September 2009