PH Fleet: Mazda Eunos Roadster

It was there, carefully leaned against the garage wall every time I went to get the car out. And if a piece of plastic could throw accusing glances, the freshly painted Eunos nose cone I picked up back in December from Dent Wizard would have done exactly that.

Eunos moonlights on Classic & Sportscar
Eunos moonlights on Classic & Sportscar
The back story to this is long and tedious, but can basically be abridged thus: man buysEunos, attaches stick-on numberplate wonkily, tries again, stick-on plate comes unstuck and takes paint with it, man gets angered by lack of interest from bodyshops to repaint said bumper, man finds one on eBay for £60.

You get what you pay for though and while vaguely the right colour, the eBay find had some crazing around the indicators, some nasty scratches on the underside and a suspicious dull patch on top. Even the guys at Dent Wizard and their associates at Flying Colours said it was beyond the scope of a smart repair so I shipped the original one to them to repaint properly in their own time. Then picked it up. Then left it untouched for a couple of months.

Snow stops play
Then came the snow and, much as I like skidding about, not exactly Eunos weather. More fool my MX-5 owning brother Will to pop over at the weekend too (on the back of a flatbed, long story) meaning motive, opportunity and willing associate neatly coincided.

Hardiman's book an absolute godsend
Hardiman's book an absolute godsend
Now I've done the swap once before and didn't remember it being that tricky. The Paul Hardiman book I've relied on heavily since buying the Mazda did hint that it was a bit of a sod, but the bonding process with Paul (we've never met, but I feel like I know him!) has taught me he overplays the difficulty at times. Which is a smart move, because when you finish a job and you think 'phew, that wasn't as hard as it sounded' everybody's a winner.

I must have selective memory, because this time around there was much knuckle-skinning, swearing and, at one stage, a very real risk of freezing to death, trapped with my arm embedded deep inside a Mazda. That or providing inspiration for a Home Counties-based sequel to Danny Boyle's 127 Hours. I'll be taking that chunky TW Steel watch off next time I do anything like this, that's for sure.

Who you gonna call? Not these two...
Who you gonna call? Not these two...
10 years younger
So it's done and all it needs now is a good wash and brush up and I reckon the paint should all match up nicely. A perfect test for the new, remixed and apparently improved Autoglym Super Resin Polish currently sitting beside my monitor.

Before all this kicked off the Mazda had a cameo appearance on Classic & Sportscar'sblog where new boy and fellow Eunos/MX-5 fan James Page had a quick go in mine, inspiring a bit of musing about whether they're best left alone or can benefit from a bit of gentle tweakage. Another Eunos-owning journo - John Simister - has also been out in it recently and is pondering taking the plunge with the Performance 5 SportDrive kit and frame rails having successfully de-chavved his now very smart looking £900 Mariner Blue Eunos.

(Almost) ready for its close up
(Almost) ready for its close up
He's going to talk about the wheels again...
It's a dilemma for sure. I take James's point that Mazda's obsessive approach to the whole Jinba Ittai thing means dicking about with any one aspect of it could ruin the whole experience. I was chatting with a Mazda engineer who'd worked on the original project (and a Eunos owner still) on the CX-5 launch last year and showing off about the P5 kit, only to feel a little crestfallen at his suggestion that stiffening the body and/or suspension actually ruins the purity of the concept.

Simister did pick up on the fact mine does feel a lot less flexy than his - currently - stock bodied car. Which is better? Depends on your definition, but there's plenty in the theory that doing anything to raise the grip levels simply highlights the lack of power. Having gone for new Contis all round he has donated his Triangle tyres to go on my 14-inch 'daisies' and assures me, having tried the now-defunct Tigars, that they're even less grippy. I suspect there'll be a bit more wheel swapping yet.

First I've got another dilemma to solve. Another attempt at the stick-on plate? Or just screw the regular one on and be damned?

Fact sheet:
1993 Eunos Roadster (JDM import model)
Run by: Dan Trent
Bought: January 2011
Purchase price: £1,250
Last month at a glance: Repainted nose cone finally on, nearly lost arm in process, resulting emotional and physical scars almost healed

Previous reports:

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 (35) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Watchman 08 Feb 2012

    There's a technique for putting stick-on plates on which involves soaking the plate in warm water which has a little washing-up liquid squirted in. You then apply to the car, move it around until satisfied (it slides easily) then mop up the excess water with dry cloths. Leave to dry and it will be fine. Many Caterham stick-ons are done this way.

    Practice on the spare bumper maybe? Buy a couple of blank plates for that purpose.

  • Dan Trent 08 Feb 2012

    Good man, thanks for the tip. They supplied some off-cuts with the plate so I'll give that a whirl.

    And with luck hopefully not inspire another year-long bumper replacement saga!

    Much obliged to you.

  • Krikkit 08 Feb 2012

    You don't even need to soak it, just get a spray bottle with soapy water and apply liberally. Get a credit card handy for removing air bubbles, and a piece of masking tape to line it up against so you know it's straight!

    Did the decals on my 106 Rallye that way and it worked brilliantly.

  • Pints 08 Feb 2012

    A thread title would help, chaps.

  • redgriff500 08 Feb 2012

    "but there's plenty in the theory that doing anything to raise the grip levels simply highlights the lack of power"

    So increase the power too !


    Mine is very modified 200+bhp and a good LSD (as found on the 1.8 imports) transforms the car.

    I'll admit a GOOD standard one is arguably more fun on a clear country road (as you can throw it around at lower speeds) but when you get stuck behind a dawdler it's very frustrating.

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