Cheap and basic rear-wheel drive Japanese cars have always been about modifying. The Far East provides you with a good blank slate on four wheels, after which you set about creating your performance car par excellence. The scene is arguably more subdued now than it was, for a variety of reasons, but you're still not short of tuning possibilities if you wish to fully realise the potential of your Japanese sports car.
The Mazda MX-5 perfectly typifies that culture. It's not especially sporty as standard, but it does boast a low kerb weight, a good weight balance, rear-wheel drive and, in some installations, a limited-slip diff as standard - a perfect basis from which to begin modifying.
Now, there are often arguments against buying someone else's modified car, focused as much on the quality of the work as creating something unique to you, but when you see an MX-5 as tastefully done as this it's very hard to find a logical argument against it.
From what can be seen it's had everything you would reasonably need done to make a great road and track car from the Mk3.5 MX-5. It came to our attention through a saved search for 'Ohlins' that we have running in the classifieds - everyone has one of those, right? And the dampers are just the start...
It's been treated to BBR's Super 200 upgrade, comprised of new cams, a remap and an uprated exhaust manifold, a kit we described on PH as an "impressively sensible feeling way of making an MX-5 an even more entertaining prospect". In addition to that it has a set of Team Dynamics Pro Race wheels on Yokohama Advan AD08 tyres, and a steering wheel retrimmed in Alcantara for the full track car vibe. The aforementioned dampers will work with those wheels to create that lovely stance, and are described by the seller as "utterly stonking", which is encouraging. Fitted less than a year ago, they should still have plenty of life in them.
So what you have as an end product is a faster, sharper and more capable MX-5, one with a level of performance to make it much more interesting than standard. Crucially too it's modern and accommodating enough to be used on a regular basis, rather than having to save your traditional sports car for high days and holidays - it's the best of both worlds.
For just £10k as well, it looks something of a bargain. This entirely standard 2.0-litre MX-5 is newer and has 10,000 fewer miles, but will only save you £100. And what else could you realistically consider at £10k that isn't an MX-5? GT86s aren't down this low yet, an S2000 with a similar mileage is nearly a decade older and a £10k Elise has 130,000 miles. There's a reason why MX-5s are perennially popular...
Of course you could go further still with this car, adding forced induction and creating a far more focused driving tool. But it looks a really well sorted sports car as it is, with enough added to enhance the package while keeping it reserved enough to not entirely alter the base product. When it comes to MX-5s, that sounds like a very appealing proposition; buy now before the spring forces the price up!
SPECIFICATION - 2010 MAZDA MX-5 2.0I SPORT TECH
Engine: 1,999cc, four-cyl
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 160@7,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 139@5,000rpm
First registered: 2010
Recorded mileage: 52,000
Price new: £21,205
Yours for: £10,499
See the original advert here.
(Specification for standard MX-5)