It was one of the first cars I ever wrote a feature about; a red Mazda MX-5. That was some time ago, when I was a freelance budding motor noter. That car, however, was less than standard, boasting a Ford 302 V8 where an inline four should have resided. I really hope that it still exists and didn’t meet with its end.

Praiseworthy
Anyway, it was the simplicity of the whole MX-5 ethos that hooked me. Here was a small car with the motor mounted longitudinally up front, driving the rear wheels through a manual transmission, that’s it. There were no fancy electronic systems or frivolities such as back seats, even the roof operated under human power.

I am a fan of small, lightweight cars, and while the likes of a Lotus 7, et al is enticing, those types of cars are quite compromised. Not to mention the roadster from Japan had earned praise from all and sundry from the very first (NA) series.

Ironic
I was always keen to own one of these little cars, ideally as a second set of wheels with the aim of turning it into a track-prepped toy. Finally, a few weeks ago I took the plunge and bought an MX-5, the very same car you see in the images above. The irony of the situation is that 20 years after obtaining my driver’s license this is my very first car.

A special edition
My MX-5 is technically not an MX-5, or a Mazda for that matter. This car was badged as a Eunos Roadster. Eunos is a sub-brand of Mazda in the same manner as Lexus is to Toyota. However, it is only the badges that differ, in all the areas that matter this is an MX-5.

This particular car was launched with a Eunos-specific exterior/interior colour combo. The British Racing Green paint is set off nicely by a cashew-coloured interior. As you can see the paintwork isn’t in the best condition, which I plan to remedy pretty soon.

Up to spec
As the car was stored (and not well) for many years the battery was dead when I went to collect it. Once boosted the 1,6-litre motor turned over and fired with surprising alertness. I drove it back to the CAR offices, with the roof down of course, even though it was mid-winter.

In my care the first order of business is to get the car serviced and running. With just 170 000 km showing on the odo, I am not expecting too much trouble (fingers crossed) from a mechanical point of view.

Ongoing
You can keep up with the latest on Project MX-5 as I will be posting regular updates to this site as and when there is something to report. The project will be malleable in terms of what is done to the car as I don’t plan to follow a set formula, so suggestions and comments are welcome.

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 2: http://www.carmag.co.za/speed_post/project-mazda-mx-5-part-2/