PH Fleet: Mazda Eunos Roadster

You'd have thought what with having benefited from a nice nose job and looking better than it ever has in my tenure I'd have proudly been out and about in the Eunos. Er, no. No excuses, I just haven't driven it much lately. Which'll explain why the battery has gone flat leading to ... well, we'll come to that in due course.

Bit too much time in here of late
Bit too much time in here of late
I guess part of it is the luxury of having a pretty much rust-free car, a garage in which to store it and no need of using it while the roads are salty. Strike me down, for I have become a fair weather roadster driver. The shame of it!

I did make a rare sortie to head down to Bedford Autodrome for my rendezvous with PHer Julian Perry to take him up on his kind offer of having a go with his 964 RS. I somehow found myself in the lane for the noise test, even though I wasn't actually heading out, and got a sticker and 89db reading for my troubles. Which is good to know and means I shouldn't have any bother with tracking the car, even with its noisy exhaust.

Making a right royal hash of driving the RS in the rain, I did at times hanker for the simple charms of my Mazda, but on track the Porsche was mighty. Not so much fun on the road, admittedly, and the drive back was a reminder of how enjoyable the Eunos is. And how slow.

Naughty plate-less run to Bedford
Naughty plate-less run to Bedford
Kicking the habit
Proof of how these things get under your skin comes with news that former colleague and PH contributor CJ Hubbard has, having sold his Mariner Blue Eunos to my brother, now come full circle in his car buying and, unsurprisingly, realised the answer to the question was MX-5/Eunos all along. So he's gone out and bought another. I await to see it with interest.

My other brother has, meanwhile, been reporting very favourable things about the Yokohama tyres he's just fitted to his UK 1.6. Running standard 14-inch 'Daisy' wheels he reports a pleasing compromise between sensible stuff like being able to stop when the road is wet and indulging in the odd wee skid when the mood takes him. The Tigars/Triangles/ditchfinders of your choosing are all very good for the latter but there are times when proper rubber has its uses. And the Yokos sound like a good bet so I may try and source a set for my 14s. As it stands the car is looking great on its 15s and fresh Michelins.

Daily Mash piece takes aim at MX-5 drivers
Daily Mash piece takes aim at MX-5 drivers
And if all this Mazda love is getting a bit much for you I present the perfect intermission from it all, courtesy of The Daily Mash, titled 'MX-5 drivers convinced they look cool'. If you can't laugh at yourself and all that...

Golf balls, cricket balls and NVH
The Bedford trip was also a chance to meet up with PHer James Marson off the back of an email from him asking about the Performance5 dampers. "Come and have a ride!" I offered. What followed was one of those superb drives that has you pinching yourself and chuckling at just how much fun you can have for so little money in these things. James's route was superb - fast, flowing and well sighted - and the cars evenly matched. He seemed to like the increased poise offered by the P5 dampers too, a subsequent chat with Phil there illuminating a little on the slight chatter in the secondary ride that's been there from the start.

PHer James Marson and his UK 1.8
PHer James Marson and his UK 1.8
Phil points out it's primarily an NVH issue and has tracked it down to the eyelet bushing on the dampers. Mine have an earlier, harder type, he's since experimented with spherical bearings but he's now coming round to Superpro ones. And, as promised, he's going to take the car in and update them in the coming weeks which should, hopefully, calm some of the chuntering over square-edged bumps.

He offered a most elegant analogy, comparing the effect of hitting a golf ball with that of smacking a cricket ball. The former deflects more, absorbing sound, while the latter doesn't deflect at all. That resounding thwack of leather on willow? That's your NVH from over-hard bushings right there! All of which tallies with the experience of fellow Mazda-owning hack John Simister, who went to the considerable effort of polybushing his first MX-5 and then instantly regretted it.

James showed us some great roads
James showed us some great roads
It's an example of Phil's borderline obsessional nature that he's getting so hot under the collar about NVH - car companies have whole teams working 24-7 on exactly this and, to be fair, most owners of 20-year old Mazdas probably expect the odd rattle and squeak. Not on a car with P5 dampers though, at least not if Phil's got anything to do with it! Next on the agenda after this will be to possibly Superpro the wishbone bushings, the end links and anti-roll bar ones already replaced when the dampers were fitted.

Scotland bound ... hopefully
This is to come though. But the aim is to get the eyelet bushings done before the planned May Bank holiday trip to Scotland, reprising the fabulous little roadtrip I had last year.

"You might have been lucky"
"You might have been lucky"
This assumes, of course, I haven't totally killed the Eunos's wiring loom. Confession time: I've done something spectacularly stupid. It involves an attempted jump start and the absolute certainty I knew which terminal was which on the Mazda's battery. In (slight) mitigation, the Mazda's battery leads aren't colour coded. In which case I really, really should have checked. But I didn't and it's now completely dead. I've spoken to various people, including an RAC man, and the typical response has been a lot of teeth sucking and a "well, you might be lucky..." I have on my desk a new 80A main fuse and will summon up the courage to charge the battery and fit it over the weekend. I'm already dreading that first turn of the key.

At least the numberplate is on straight and bubble free - the tip from Watchman and others in the comments thread after my last report advising spraying warm soapy water onto the bumper to position the stick-on plate working a treat. Small comfort after the battery episode but a hearty thanks for the advice!

Fact sheet:
1993 Eunos Roadster (JDM import model)
Run by: Dan Trent
Bought: January 2011
Purchase price: £1,250
Last month at a glance: Dead battery, jump start SNAFU, car now dead ... damn

Previous reports:
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...



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Comments (44) Join the discussion on the forum

  • jtopps 18 Apr 2012

    Dan Trent said:
    Thanks MichelV but I think I'm OK - appreciate the offer tho!

    And do I ever head up north? From Stokesley - the Helmsley road is my friend! In fact, am long overdue a blast across t'moors... Sounds like I need to gatecrash a meet!
    Well if you ever fancy a run out on a weekend feel free to drop me a message. The Eunos owning community on PH are brilliant and very helpful and it would be nice to share a few experiences.

  • Donkey62 17 Apr 2012

    Dan glad you got away with the fuse it did its job!

    fyi +positive battery terminal is usually bigger than -negative to help stop you forcing the negative lead over the bigger postive terminal on the battery.

  • tomv1to 17 Apr 2012

    RudolphsOwner said:
    Last Monday afternoon, 30 minutes outside Glasgow, the best choice I have ever made in my life was to move from London to Scotland...

    I did it the other way around and I can say now the worse choice I ever mad ein my life was to move from scotland to london.

  • Numeric 16 Apr 2012

    A lady stalked into the office where we worked and said since we were affiliated to Chrysler we could dash (not the word used) well go and help start her immobile Voyager. To be fair it was an old dog (the voyager) so I did the tap the solenoid thing and then figured it must be the battery (I have precisely two bits of mechanical ability!)so dragged a wheezing Camaro (well it has a V8 see so must generate lots of electricity) over to her POS. Now I was at the fullest extent of my abilities so attached the leads, revved the Camaro and watched sparks and smoke appear from the Voyager! Since she hadn't seen my genius, mumbled something about alternators - left her to it (a gentleman till the last) and got down to the paperwork of getting the Camaro transferred as soon as possible.

    Also put a Ford Escort battery (which turned out to be a coupla millimeters taller than a regular Guzzi one) into my Moto-Guzzi and invented the first electrically heated seat on a motorcycle!

    Tricky thing this electricity stuff!!

  • Dan Trent 16 Apr 2012

    Top tip, thanks for that. Will give it a go.

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