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Mazda MX-5 (NB) Coupe: Spotted

This ultra-rare JDM Mk2 comes in 158hp spec and promises better handling than the roadster

By Sam Sheehan / Tuesday, February 12, 2019

You only need to skim through MX-5 listings in the classifieds to understand that Mk2s are the cheapest of the bunch. It's probably as much to do with the model's age as it is the fact that the car's soft-faced design has never appealed to those after a retro roadster (like the Mk1). Either way, a very tidy NB MX-5, one that's been well looked after and has below average miles on the clock, can be had for just £3,000. Bargain.

That's not to say all Mk2s are cheap, however. In fact, at the other end of the NB spectrum you'll need ten times the cash to bag one. We're talking about the rarest of NBs, the MX-5 Coupe, which was produced only for the Japanese domestic market in just 179 units. It's a rare machine at home and nigh on non-existent in Britain, which helps to explain the asking figure of today's Spotted: £30,000.

This is far more than just a better-insulated MX-5. The integration of a solid roof means the structure is inevitably more rigid, adding to the roadster's standard-fit underbody bracing with 10kg-worth of metal on its top. Given that some Mk2 owners who fit the winter-spec clip on hard top to their roadsters claim a noticeable reduction in body flex, we don't doubt this structurally bonded lid made by the factory has a positive impact on handling. Some have gone so far as to call it the ultimate driver's MX-5.

No less important is the way in which this JDM tin top affects the Mk2's look. It arguably replaces the cutesie lines of the roadster with something a bit more masculine and, to these eyes at least, a bit more exotic, too. Certainly it's a far more complete look than the one offered by aftermarket coupe kits - and unlike many of those, the Mazda-made coupe retains the use of its boot.

Four specifications of MX-5 Coupe were produced after the model's development in 1993. The base car came with Mazda's 1.6-litre engine producing 110hp, but the other versions had the 1.8 offering up to 158hp. Today's Spotted is a top 63 Type S model, meaning it gets the bigger motor, which drives through a six-speed manual gearbox.

Adding to its appeal is that this 30,000-mile-old 2004 car has recently been fully restored. Mk2 MX-5s can fall victim to tin worm, but this example's overhaul - and the fact it may have escaped salted roads in its current location - should ensure it has an underside as clean as its body. Backing that expectation is a full service history and the seller's claims that mechanically, the car "works like a dream".

Yes, it's pricey and yes, you'll have to pay for its import costs. But to the right buyer, this might just be the ultimate expression of the NB MX-5.


Engine: 1,840cc, four-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 158
Torque (lb ft): N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 2004
Recorded mileage: 30,000
Price new: N/A
Price now: £30,000

See the original advert here.

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