A few weeks ago I posted about a project I've undertaken that entails the refurbishment of a first-generation Mazda MX-5. You can read that post by clicking here.

Since its arrival, my latest purchase has "been to the doctors" for a quick medical to ascertain its current state of health.

TLC needed

As expected, after being parked for the better part of two years, there were a few issues. I was hoping that the list of maladies would be short and easy to fix.

I handed the MX-5 over to the capable chaps at Auto Tech, in Gardens, Cape Town as they took care of it under its previous owner and therefore know the vehicle well.

Better than that, one of their team races a car very similar to mine, so he’s quite au fait with the Mazda's weak points, not that he’s had many in the years that he's raced his car.


Once up on the hoist at Auto Tech the team went to work trying to find and rectify major problems. Outside of the regular service (plugs, filters, oil) and a flush of the cooling system there were a few matters that required attention.

First up was a complete overhaul of the braking system, which included skimming all four discs, replacing the fluid as well as one rear caliper that had sprung a leak.

Under the bonnet things were, thankfully, not dire. A temperature sender unit broke somewhere along the line and was replaced with a second-hand item. Lower down both steering rack boots were torn so those made way for new items (you can see those in the pic).

Sounding sweet

I have since fetched the car and the engine is sounding sweet. The compression seems up to spec and thanks to the fact that the brakes operate properly I am not afraid to use a few more revs with the knowledge that I can stop the MX-5 quickly.

One item that was not replaced during the major service was the air filter. Instead of buying a replacement panel we simply cleaned out the existing unit. There is a very good reason for that, it’s because K&N have learned of this little project car and will be providing a lifetime performance filter for the car – that's cool!

Next step

Now that the MX-5 is running as it should, the next step is to address its appearance. The paintwork isn’t in great nick so I am considering applying a vinyl wrap to the bodywork. At the same time I am going to consider a set of alloys, something that looks decidedly Japanese and not too large in diameter.

Links to all updates:

Part 8: http://www.carmag.co.za/speed_post/999241389/

Part 7: http://www.carmag.co.za/speed_post/project-mx-5-part-7-race-weekend-2/

Part 6b: http://www.carmag.co.za/speed_post/project-mx-5-part-6b-race-debut/

Part 6a: http://www.carmag.co.za/speed_post/project-mx-5-part-6-race-ready-in-record-time-part-a/

Part 5: http://www.carmag.co.za/speed_post/project-mx-5-part-5-shiny-and-new/

Part 4: http://www.carmag.co.za/speed_post/project-mx-5-part-4-breathe-in-and-out/

Part 3: http://www.carmag.co.za/speed_post/project-mx-5-part-3-racetrack-debut/

Part 1: http://www.carmag.co.za/speed_post/project-mx-5-part-1/