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

  • sinbaddio 13 Apr 2012

    Fingers crossed for the old girl frown

  • BrightonEd 13 Apr 2012

    Regards your battery woes - I did exactly the same thing to my e30 325i sport last year. The only damage was to the ignition switch (£30 to replace). The terrible smell of melting plastic dissipated after a few drives with the windows down...
    So, fingers crossed!

  • mattyc69 13 Apr 2012

    Fingers crossed for you mate hopefully just the fuse! Although two weeks ago i had to fit a new ECU to a civic type r that had suffered the same fate as your mazda!

  • Contigo 13 Apr 2012

    Had a Eunos (H863 NJM) back in 96 and it was one of the best specced of Japanese cars (V Spec). It had lovely Tan leather seats and interior with speakers in the headrests! Nardi Torini steering wheel and gearknob and other nice touches including a higher powered engine than the UK poverty spec MX-5 with cloth interior.

  • Bloitus 13 Apr 2012

    Dan, at least this didn't happen...

    ...not that i know exactly how this happened!

    Fingers crossed you've not got an expensive month coming up wink

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