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Daves Mazda MX5 Mk1 (aka Mindy)


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So, been a bit down lately due to pressures/hassles at work and been a grumpy old git to say the least. Gayle reckoned what i needed was another project! I've wanted a MK1 MX5 since the day they were launched (was at the car show in Glasgow SECC when they unveiled it) and when the cover came off and I saw this sweet little red sports car I fell in love! Said there and then I have to have one of these one day, but I was a teenager back then with empty pockets! Roll on 29 years later and now I'm older (still with empty pockets, least i am after buying her!) and finally I've got one!! Always wanted a mk1, but did put deposit down on a mk2 in a garage around 7 years ago. Sadly my then wife (Dawn) became seriously ill so we cancelled going down to test it/buy it and just forgot about getting an MX5. Lost Dawn to cancer 3 years later msp_crying.gif



Original plan was to buy one that needed a full restoration, but as i don't possess any welding skills that plan changed. After a lot of good advice from members in here, we upped our budget and went to view a few more cars. Most were bodged repairs and nothing like described, until we found this one in Stirling, Scotland.

She's red (obviously),  1.6 UK car with 90K on the clock. 10 months MOT. There isn't a service history book, but all the old mots are there and receipts for various work done. The chap selling her didn't want to let her go, but was under instruction from his wife to buy a more family friendly classic car! She has had the rear sills done before, drivers side is a tidy enough job and solid (just the black paint that's not right), passenger side is still solid but repair is showing signs of rust. Engine wise, she's great! Engine sounds sweet, and pulls well in every gear. Suspension wise, she needs an overhall. Interior is basic but (now) clean and tidy. Hood is shot, but Gayle went straight onto ebay and found a brand new hood that the seller has had lying around for a couple of years for £120! result! She bought it, then we had another road trip to Aberdeen to go collect it. Hood is mint and getting fitted this weekend!

I have noticed when at speeds of 70mph upwards, she has a horrible vibration which is coming from the front. It shakes through the car, and if at lower speeds (60mph) we go over any bumps in road, it shakes up through the steering wheel which deffo isn't right. Unfortunately during the test drive there were no roads we could get her up to anything over 30 - 40mph so this only came to light on the way home. But hopefully the work i'm planning should resolve these issues.

So Plans are:

  • Fit the new hood
  • Replace all 4 shocks and springs
  • Replace upper/lower wishbones (they look ok, just grubby, but I want to replace all bushes so might aswell just change the whole lot.)
  • Replace wheels/tyres with dished BBS rims
  • Full service including timing belt/fan belt etc.
  • New front and rear brakes (rears have just had brand new calipers fitted)
  • Full custom interior retrim in either full leather or half leather/alcantara
  • Full respray, looking to go for a nice metal flake red! Will also be taking it to BorderMX5 before the paint to have both rear sills repaired professionally/correctly. Think we should be able to get through the next mot with them but not chancing it any longer than that.
  • Engine and engine bay fully detailed.
  • Accessories, such as chrome/stainless steel boot rack, new stereo (just replaced the one that was there for a Pioneer that I had lying around in the garage).

Will be a long term project, but want to fully replace as much as we can as we go along for brand new/renovated parts. End goal is to have one very mint mk1 MX5.

After cleaning her interior up to my standards, Gayle said "oh look, the suns out!" Which roughly translated means "time for a run in Mindy with the top down!" lol Got some pics when we were out.








Totally love this wee car! She's not perfect, but she's ours and makes me happy! First ever convertible I've ever owned, and loving it! Don't worry though, DD isn't going anywhere! Just taking a break from her for a wee while as she needs MOT'd and a new front caliper. Plan is when I get the spraying gear all sorted out to respray the mx5 , I'll be doing DD's front end at the same time. So all's good!

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can't go wrong with a  mx-5 I've always wanted one. there's one like this near my dad's that's been parked up for ages. if it's still there I'll have to go and knock on and see if they'd sell it :lol:


Look forward to see the progress pal

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@dmrichards Thanks mate! Yeah, always wanted one, just something about them. You should check out that one local to you mate, as the mk1's (and mk2's for that matter) are deffo increasing in price. With the mk1's there's only one way the price is going to go now, so if it's a good one, see if you can get it!


So, update time! Gayle and me have been busy! Started with removing the old (and totally gubbed) hood and prepping the car ready to fit the brand new hood. After some time, the old hood was off!

newest (1)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg

Generally pretty dirty in there after carpet and hood removed. Next we inspected the drain pots (the containers where the rainwater from the drain channel collects before going out down the drain tubes.

Drivers side, really grubby, lots of crap and stuff built up there.

newest (2)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg

Passenger side not quite as bad, but still dirty

newest (3)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg


We cleaned out both sides, then the actual drain tubes themselves. Gayle found the perfect tool for cleaning out the drain channel around the bottom of the hood.....and old make up brush and the vaccum cleaner! Pose with the tool dear! That's it, perfect! lol

newest (5)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg

  The tubes were surprisingly clean and clear! Hardly anything at all in them, and both appear to be perfectly clear. Next we cleaned the whole rear area. Could have left as is seeing as it can't be seen once carpet goes in, but I'm OCD about these things! Plus the black metal can be seen once hood is in place but isn't easily cleaned then so though do it now before fitting and it'll make the whole finished job look so much nicer.

newest (4)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg

Yes, I cleaned and polished it! lol We then stopped for a tea brake and to get ready for fitting the hood and putting the car back together again.

And then, all fitted, the finished result...

newest (6)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg

newest (7)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg

newest (9)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg

Pics of Gayle and me, suitably proud of our handy work.

newest (11)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg

newest (10)Mindy-MX5_Replacing _hood.jpg

Can't believe the difference this has made to the look and feel of the car. Really smartened her up, and no more drafts/gaffer tape/leaks. Took her for a spin afterwards as a wee reward, and to see what she was like with her 4 Mini alloys. Drove nice, and felt quite cosy inside now with the new hood. Still got some vibration through suspension, but nowehre near as bad now so that's a result. Will be getting her up on a 4 post ramp soon so I can check out the bushes/drop links/shocks/springs and anything else under there and replace whatever's needed. Hope you like!

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Oh, and she's booked in this Saturday to go up on the ramp! Wee country garage (one man operation, and he's been a mechanic/engineer for over 40 yrs) along the road from me is going to get her up in the air so we can give her a good going over underneath. Known the guy (Brian) for years, and he's an old school mechanic. He did say on first galnce she looks really tidy, so hoping that will be the case after we check her out. Really wanting to find whats needing changed asap suspension wise, as she does have a knock on the o/s front over bumps, and although fitting the mini wheels has got rid of most of the vibration she had, there's still some there. She's also quite "crashy" over bumps etc, so want her sorted out asap so she's not only nicer to drive, but also safe!

New springs/shocks are deffo on the cards anyway, but want to check out all the bushes/wishbones and subframes to make sure they're not falling to bits!

After this has been done, will be booking her into RJM Performance in Glenrothyes to get the water pump, timing belt etc done. Then a wee service, and reckon she'll be bob on! That's when all the good stuff can start, like wheels, detailing etc!

It also rained while I was out in her today, and can report the new hood is doing it's job perfectly. No wind noise (well, there's always wind noise on mx5's but nothing like she had before!) and no leaks at all!

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Looking sweet with the new roof @Dave


I know that it's a bit of a trek, but there's an mx5 specialist just down the road from us



Seen some tasty cars there when they're getting prepped for race weekends. They do loads of second hand parts etc as well. 

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  • 2 months later...

And the restoration continues! Made a start on Mindy's original 5 spoke alloys last week, getting them fully sanded down, any damage removed as we went along. Finished pff with a wet and dry sand to get them super smooth. Some of the bad bits shown below. The wheels weren't too bad to be honest, considering their age.



And sanded down/prepped. Also went over them with tack cloths to ensure nice clean surface for the pain.


Insides of wheels also done (know you can't see this really once on the car, but my OCD makes me a fussy sod!

Next, got them etch primed then into high build primer (looks like gloss in pics cos took photo just after applying paint!) Gave them 3 coats each.



Then once that had dried, on with the colour of choice.......white! They were originally silver, but I love white wheels (when they're clean anyways!) and they seem to be a trade mark of my cars!



Wheels look shiney, but this will dull down overnight. Then tomorrow it will be a case of on with the lacquer.

The original centre cap badges were well past their best


So tracked down some nice new ones.......in red to match her bodywork!



Also done the centre caps in white as these were originally black.......plastic primed first, then one with the white. Much better! Again, these will be lacquered tomorrow.



Really enjoying this, although forgot how much hard work it is refurbing wheels....that plus I'm not getting any younger! The fumes had a funny effect too even though I was wearing a mask.

Will post pics once they are done and fitted to the car. The tyres are all being replaced with new ones as they are all odd ditch finders that are on them just now, and have signs of cracking. 

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thought I'd take a quick photo of the almost finished wheels (3 finished, 1 still to go into lacquer and 3 wheel caps to go into lacquer)

Ignore the tyres as these are getting binned

wheel done.jpgwheely_good.jpg

Really pleased with them, the finish looks as good as new. Hope you like! Can't wait to get new tyres and get them fitted.

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Unfortunately as of yesterday I'm gonna have to curb spending on the cars until after the year. So won't be getting the new tyres as quickly as we'd hoped. Might clean up those tyres just now so I can at least get the wheels on the car. 

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