Eunos basks in blemish-free paint
Mechanically the Eunos is now absolutely singing, the Performance5 suspension and stiffening chassis rails transforming it into a proper little weapon. A loud one too, thanks to the cast-off Moss exhaust from my brother.
a slight paint mis-match on that replacement nose cone and a few little dings and scratches here and there. Disheartened by the response from a couple of bodyshops when I looked at getting the bumper resprayed I put it down to one of those things I'd have to live with.
Then I got chatting with the guys at Dent Wizard. For a car like this smart repair is just the ticket, dents and paint blemishes dealt with in a fraction of the time and expense of a 'proper' bodyshop job. Dent Wizard boss Phil Newstead suggested I bring the car up to the firm's training facility south of Birmingham and let his guys loose on it to see what they could do, this also being the headquarters of partner firms Wheel Wizard and Flying Colours.
Arriving at the workshop head of training Darren and his team seemed a little disappointed that the Eunos didn't have more for them to do. A couple of 20p-sized dents on the bonnet, a nasty crease on the nearside wing and an assortment of scratches were all declared 'do-able' and wheel-man Adam took one look at the 14-inch alloys (yes, I'm still flitting between these and the 15-inch OZs) and declared his intention to do away with them.
A methodical machine polish for the rest of the panels meanwhile showed how much the small swirls and scratches had dulled the finish, Darren saying oxidised red paint finishes show the most dramatic improvements. Following dent man Adrian around the car panel by panel, by the time the guys had finished the transformation was dramatic.
Okay, it's no concours queen and never will be. But given that the whole job would cost around the same as the £400-and-something quoted by a reluctant paintshop for doing the nose cone alone it proves there are viable ways of sprucing up cheap cars.
On the drive to pick John's new purchase up I was irritated by a noise from the nearside rear wheel that, once removed, revealed itself to be a worn out brake pad. Having these just a couple of thousand miles ago it looked like a sticky caliper - a common MX-5 problem.
So much for the fettling and polishing - a car is meant for the driving and, in that curious way, on the way back from its makeover the little Mazda seemed in ruder health than ever. There's little fun to be had on the motorway though and rather than sit it out on the M40 I took in some of my favourite backroads linking through from Banbury to Silverstone and then along the fabulous A413 that runs from Buckingham to Aylesbury. Heater blasting, roof down I had one of those proper zen drives where every gearshift and steering input seems just-so, the exhaust cackling and gurgling with every lift and gearchange and P5 suspension proving its ability to let the Eunos corner harder without diluting the signature adjustability and feedback.