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RE: Shed Of The Week: Mazda Eunos V Special

RE: Shed Of The Week: Mazda Eunos V Special

Friday 14th July

Shed Of The Week: Mazda Eunos V Special

A very lovely Eunos but with an undiagnosed misfire - worth a gamble?



A couple of months ago, PHer Digby told us about his latest acquisition, a 1988 Honda Acty or, as he described it, "550cc of annoyingly slow awesomeness". Offering 55mph flat out and a highly undesirable NCAP crash rating, this tiny pickup immediately stole the hearts of other wistful PHers who wished they'd seen it before Digby did.

1.6 rather than 1.8, but what about that misfire?
1.6 rather than 1.8, but what about that misfire?
Shed thought he might be able to give them some good news when he found this sweet Acty in the PH classifieds. Sadly, halfway through the write-up (grrr!) he discovered that the MoT ran out in January. Boo!

Luckily there was a strong backup in the form of this highly original Mk1 NA MX-5.

This one is a Japanese-market V Special, which means it has the limited-slip diff as well as a lot of other good Eunos-y stuff like leather, power steering, electric windows, CD player, leccy aerial and air-con, which doesn't work in this case - oh dear, quelle surprise etc.

The V Specials could be had with 114hp 1.6 or 130hp 1.8 engines. This one is a 1.6, which means you lose a bit of mid-range grunt but not so much as to make you want to throw yourself off a cliff. The fact that it's a pre-cat model helps. Fitting an LSD to such an inoffensive little car might seem like over-engineering, but it's not something that's going to detract from the performance so let's not complain about it.

Blimey, hood looks pretty good...
Blimey, hood looks pretty good...
Mazda called this paint colour Neo Green. The rest of us call it British Racing Green. Imagine how nice it would be after a mop. It's a cool blend with the tan leather seats and the wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel and veneer dash panels. We can't see the handbrake, but that should have a wooden handle too. Unlike the sweet Minilite-alike seven-spoke alloys, the wooden gearknob doesn't look original, but it's controlling a manual gearbox rather than an auto, so a tick there. Seemingly this car doesn't have the electric mirrors that came along later, another handy absence for an easy life.

The V Specs had tan or black hoods, so the faded black one that's on here is either the original one, which would be some sort of miracle and a bit unlikely given the clarity of the rear screen, or a replacement item. The sills have obviously been replaced too and the vendor is telling us that the MOT man found no evidence of rust. The pic of the underside is pretty reassuring in that regard. Naturally, there's no such thing as a totally rust-free NA MX-5, but if you don't fancy paying many thousands for a fully-restored example this car has all the makings of a very sound starter for further primping at your leisure.

The last two MOT men have mistakenly put the mileage as miles when they should have put kilometers. As of May it had done 225,000km, which is nearer to 140,000 miles than the 130,000 the vendor mentions in his ad. Still, condition is everything and, rust-prone bodywork aside, the MX-5 motors are about as bulletproof as you can get.

... and the sills do as well - result!
... and the sills do as well - result!
The seller does very honestly tell us about a misfire that has recently popped up. That's unlikely to be anything much. Given its age, it could be just a loose or worn cable, or an earthing problem, or a duff HT lead - a common MX-5 problem. So is water collecting in the plug wells. As stated, nothing too disastrous and all very fixable.

Some folk reckon that the Mk1s feel a bit gritty to drive. Others like that sort of rawness. All we know is that the stock of Mk1s is dwindling. The stock of solid MoT'd Mk1s is even smaller. And the stock of MoT'd V Specials is smaller than that. At under a grand you literally cannot lose money on it.

Here's the ad

Mazda MX5 Mk1 Eunos V Special Roadster 1992 BRG and Tan leather.
The one to have, the early model, more pure, and the much better Japanese spec, quicker with a LSD and other nice features.
Totally original. MOT until May 2018 with no advisories.
Average miles, 130,000 which works out about 5200 a year as it is 25 years old. Mechanically it is spot on. Drives great with no rattles or clunks, all feels nice and tight, brakes, clutch, gearbox, all works superbly.
Only mechanical item not working is the air conditioning, it switches on and off as expected but doesn't cool air much if at all. The upgraded radio has Bluetooth to automatically pair to you phone and play music.
Soft top is very good, a few marks above drivers door but all watertight with a clear and uncracked rear window.
Interior is excellent, very clean. Leather is in great condition. It looks like the drivers seat has been repaired but it's been very well done.
It has been painted in the past, the original colour, but it's a bit flat and would certainly benefit from a cut and polish. I see no evidence of rust and more importantly neither did the MOT man but can't promise there isn't any - however it all looks clean underneath (see photos) and there is evidence of wax treatment.
Unusually, (apart from the radio and bonnet badge) it is totally original and I think all the better for that. It is of course the original and unmodified versions of these that are increasing in value.
Excellent tyres, Dunlop back, Maxxis front, not rubbish Chinese ditch finders !
Some history and receipts, lots of old MOTs. Reason for sale, I have lots of other cars and am just not using it enough and I would like the garage space back later in the year.
It is taxed and insured. Insurance is ridiculously cheap, £75 a year. Parts are also much less than you would expect. That, and the fact prices are rising and the sun is shining means there really has never been a better time to own one of the most fun cars on the road ! £1750

Update, new price £999 !
Well, I went for a longer drive last night, first time this year over 10 miles, and discovered a problem. After about 15 miles it developed a slight misfire and temperature started to rise. By then I was nearly home so continued, the misfire was only under acceleration and the temperature gauge only went to about 3/4 (it didn't boil) but it's not been more than half way before. It was hot yesterday but again not silly hot, I think about 28c.

This morning all seems fine again so no sign of anything wrong. Oil and coolant are to level and all looks fine. However I don't have time to investigate, decision has been made to sell it and so it just needs to be gone, hence new bargain price.
Would it get you home ? Frankly I don't know, it was great for the first 10 miles last night, it hasn't been used much in the last year and so maybe it was something caused by that which has now resolved itself.
I'm sure some sellers wouldn't say anything and you would never tell on a test drive but I want to be completely honest about it. I'd say a trailer would be a better option.
I have a friend who might be able to deliver by trailer up to about 100 miles but would need to check and it would only be after you've seen the car and paid in full.

 

 


Author
Discussion

Brompty

Original Poster:

111 posts

65 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
Yes - great potential here. As stated, rust is such a problem that it can write these cars off, but the engine issues are fixable. Good shed.

Numeric

433 posts

72 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
Quite honestly the most scrupulously truthful seller of a car I have ever come across - to my shame I would have kept quiet and hoped to get away with it so I shall spend the rest of the day being nice to everybody to make up for my clear failures!!

helix402

2,520 posts

103 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
Overheating and misfire could be head gasket failure.

g7jhp

5,141 posts

159 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
"Nardi steering wheel and veneer dash panels. We can't see the handbrake, but that should have a wooden handle too. Unlike the sweet Minilite-alike seven-spoke alloys, the wooden gearknob doesn't look original."



Gearknob looks original Nardi to me.




TristPerrin

64 posts

99 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
As the article says, probably an HT lead. I think the 1.6s can also suffer from oil leaking into the plugs so might need a new cam cover gasket. Both rediculously easy jobs. (In fact most things are very easy on an MX-5)

Seems like a decent deal even if it is a 1.6.
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J4CKO

21,993 posts

121 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
Driven both the 1.6 and 1.8 and I was quite happy with the 1.6, didn't think the 1.8 was massively superior at all, if anything I enjoyed the 1.6 more, but could be down to the individual cars, basically its not worth worrying about, unless you find one of the detuned 90 bhp cars, which are noticeably slower.

But, good shed, assuming its not rotten, think the misfire is probably a simple fix, if not, 1.6 MX5 engines arent expensive, ok it is not a trivial job but there are loads out there due to so many rotting away and they are £300 or so, if you can fit one yourself its a £500 job with fluids, new belt etc, but they arent known for HG failure, they tend to get smokier and faster as they wear out, amazingly tough engines, people turbocharge them and crank the boost right up without lowering compression and they last longer than they have any right to.

culpz

1,879 posts

33 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
I was reading this exact advert a couple of days ago. It makes a nice change to see a decent car description aswell. It appears to be rare to have a PH Classifieds SOTW.

I noticed that It's been quite heavily reduced over time. This is a real bargain and, as already stated above, i'm sure the misfire is a cheap and easy fix, as most things are on an MX5.

I'm starting to think that i really need to try one. As much as i love and hanker after hot-hatches, having something slower, low-seated and more playful is becoming quite appealing.

This is a cracker. Someone snap it up!

VladD

6,945 posts

186 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
g7jhp said:
"Nardi steering wheel and veneer dash panels. We can't see the handbrake, but that should have a wooden handle too. Unlike the sweet Minilite-alike seven-spoke alloys, the wooden gearknob doesn't look original."



Gearknob looks original Nardi to me.

Yep, same as I have in my V-Special 2.

CDP

5,324 posts

175 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
If it's solid that's the hard bit. An engine swap on this should be easy but better still it's an excuse to drop an LS in.

benharris

77 posts

80 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
Looks like a very good SOTW, although I'm biased as I also have a 1991 'J'-reg 'WEP' Eunos, although mine doesn't have all the nice V-Spec extras.

I wonder if mine was originally brought into the country by the same importer? Anyway - that sounds like an excuse for a photo, even if it is just for the numberplate, honest!



Edited by benharris on Friday 14th July 08:45

ambuletz

6,005 posts

102 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
thread reminds me of DandyCars and how they are no more. funny really as everyone thought their prices were ridiculous (and they were, but within reason) but nowadays with the mk1 entering a 'classic' status it's not so bad.as it still seems there are people wanting to buy a mint mk1.

ianwayne

1,371 posts

189 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
If you look through the rear window on one photo, you can see the handbrake handle is wood.

MadDog1962

712 posts

83 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
Actually not a bad summer shed.

That misfire might be the crank position sensor (as the coils, leads and plugs should all be good). A bit of Googling indicates that would be a fairly straight-forward DIY fix and probably less than 75 quid for the bits.

helix402

2,520 posts

103 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
The vendor also mentions overheating.

ianwayne

1,371 posts

189 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
What's the blurb about it being 'pre-cat'? It's a 1997 car according to DVLA so it'll need one won't it? Unless there's a longer expemption period for imports.

TheVole

339 posts

74 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
ianwayne said:
What's the blurb about it being 'pre-cat'? It's a 1997 car according to DVLA so it'll need one won't it? Unless there's a longer expemption period for imports.
Most likely imported in '97 - but the rules on cats go by date of manufacture, not date of first registration in the UK.

Trikster

498 posts

123 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
If more serious ripe for the Jag V6 conversion?

devnull

1,498 posts

78 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
My heart jumped for a moment then, as that looks exactly like the one my MIL had owned for the last 20 or so years. That was an unloved heap - oil and filter change once a year, and that was it. Rust everywhere.

spreadsheet monkey

3,266 posts

148 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
ambuletz said:
thread reminds me of DandyCars and how they are no more. funny really as everyone thought their prices were ridiculous (and they were, but within reason) but nowadays with the mk1 entering a 'classic' status it's not so bad.as it still seems there are people wanting to buy a mint mk1.
DandyCars fitted a smart colour-matched mohair hood to my Mk2 MX5 many years ago. Nice folk to do business with. Sad to hear they are no more.

Mr2Mike

17,472 posts

176 months

Friday 14th July
quotequote all
I would go for a car with engine problems over rust issues every time. Most likely a simple problem in this case, but even in the extraordinarily unlikely case that the engine is trashed a good s/h one is not expensive or particularly difficult to fit.