Saturday, 23 March 2013

End of term report: Mazda MX-5

THE roof has been lowered one last time. The revvy little twin cam engine has been switched off. I have, after nearly two years of small sports car fun, sold my Mazda MX-5.

Due to getting a new job - more on that in a few days, because that's another story for another day - one of the Life On Cars fleet had to go. The MGB GT, despite still being in winter hibernation, is my passport into a world of classic car shows and authentically old-fashioned driving experiences, and even though it hasn't moved in months I'd rather sell my right arm than get rid of the old warhorse. The Rover, meanwhile, has earned its keep by taking a small forests' worth of old wooden furniture to be recycled and taking hundreds of miles of motorway driving in its stride, so it's proved too comfortable, too practical and too useful to get rid of.

So it's the Mazzer, a small, two-seater roadster I bought back in 2011 after years of wanting one on my driveway, that had to go. Which is one of the hardest motoring decisions I've ever made, because I've loved almost every mile it's covered.

It hasn't, don't get me wrong, been plain sailing all the way, after a combination of cheap tyres and tail-happy handling prompted one repair and a split hose prompted another, but once both these issuse had been tackled it's proven one of the most enjoyable cars I've ever owned. If you pick a good 'un and look after it, an MX-5 is arguably one of the best automotive recipes ever concocted - authentically British sports car thrills topped off with bulletproof Japanese reliability!

The Mariner Blue, 1990 Eunos Roadster - meaning it found its way onto Britain's B-Roads as a grey import after starting its life in Japan, but don't let that put you off - has proved a perfectly reliable companion, which just happened to have a soft-top roof you could chuck down in seconds. Which is exactly what I did when I used it on my advanced driving test.

What's more, even in the company of more exotic machinery and grand automotive stages it's never been anything less than sublime. In the company of a Ford Racing Puma, a supercharged Volkswagen Polo G40, a Metro GTi and some stunning Welsh scenery in certainly didn't embarrass itself. It tackled the Buttertubs Pass and felt right at home, and even took the more boring stuff - like motorway tailbacks - in its stride. Not once has it so much as thought of refusing to start.

Would I point an aspiring petrolhead in the direction of an early MX-5's pop-up headlights? Definitely, given it's one of the cheapest routes into the world of authentic, rear-drive sports cars thrills (and, I suspect, a lot more reliable than a similarly priced MGF!). There's plenty of them out there, so choose one that hasn't succumbed to rot and shows signs of being looked after mechanically. Don't skimp on the tyres - particularly the rear ones, where the power goes - because it makes a big difference to how it behaves. Most of all, treat it with respect, but if you do the MX-5 is one of the most rewarding modern classics on the market.

My Mazda was a cracking little car. I miss it already.

No comments:

Post a Comment