ou might not know it yet, but
a birthday bash, because it’s 20 years
If anything I reckon it’s actually better
But you’ll forget all of them on a cross-
there’s a reason why they call the
since the first examples of Mazda’s MX-5
than Britain’s own old sports cars, because
country blast, because even when it’s not
limestone cliffs that linger over
started arriving on our shores. Time flies
unlike them the MX-5 actually works and
its birthday the Mazda’s partying, and
when you’re having fun.
means you can spend your weekends in
you’re always invited.
Llandudno the Great Orme. The official website of the café complex
You have to remember what small
the countryside, rather than the garage.
That’s the feeling I got when I spotted
sitting at the top of this stunning piece
roadsters were like in 1990 to appreciate
Just make sure you share the driving
a group of MX-5 owners out on their own
of seaside geology recommends that you
the original MX-5’s impact - apart from
with whoever you take along for the ride,
adventures in one of Snowdonia’s more
reach it either by a Victorian tramway or
the front wheel drive Lotus Elan, there
otherwise they’ll forget it’s a driver’s car
remote valleys, because they all smiled the
Britain’s longest cable car ride, but both, I
weren’t any - and after years of no sports
and start going on about the interior
smile you get when you’ve got a sports car
reckon, sell the place short.
cars at all drivers were suddenly treated
being too cramped, the boot too small and
at your disposal. Even though they owned
If you want to enjoy the journey then
to a soft-top, rear wheel drive roadster
the ride too firm.
MX-5s from the model’s early days they all
you’ve got to head for the twists of turns
which reminded us of decades ago when
It’s also got the same problem most
agreed on that what they own is so much
of the access road instead. That’s what
everybody drove around in MGBs, Triumphs
convertibles have when it comes to roof-
more than a way of getting to work and
makes it great, and there’s no better way
and Austin-Healeys. It might have been a
up visibility, but I reckon the Mazda’s
back. It’s a go-kart with a CD player.
to enjoy it than in an open-top sports car.
shameless copy of the original Lotus Elan,
folding fabric roof is easier and faster
There are roomier, comfier cars out
St Tudno’s Drive is like a stretch of tarmac
but nobody cared because they loved it.
than the metal most of its rivals come
there but if you drive simply because you
that’s been stolen from a mountain pass
Two decades later and almost every
with. You can have metal origami as an
enjoy it you can’t go far wrong with an
in the Alps by people who love driving and
car company now offers its own sports
optional extra, if you insist, but while you
MX-5, particularly if you’re the sort of
then draped over a British backdrop for our
car, but even though the latest 2.0i
get added security it’s slower to shelter
person who deliberately takes the long
own enjoyment, so exciting are the series
Sport Tech version is a little flabbier than
you and it weighs the little lightweight
route just so they can go over the Llanberis
of crests and hairpins which catapult you
the lithe original it’s still an absolute
Pass on the way.
from sea level to an eatery almost 700
delight to drive. It’s something it actually
While it does have just the two seats
It might be 20 years old, but the Mazda
feet above. It’s places like these that make
seemed keen to show off on the way up
it’ll still do everything you’d expect a
MX-5 isn’t as good as the British sports cars
motoring exciting, and the whole of North
the Horseshoe Pass, an inviting road
£20,145 car to do, and although I wasn’t
of yesteryear. It’s much better than that.
Wales is awash with them.
heading between Ruthin and Llangollen.
expecting it in something so single-
Don’t think my trip to one of the most
By combining its flick-of-the-wrist gear
mindedly sporty it was great to have
captivating corners of the British Isles
change with inspiringly precise steering, it
toys like cruise control, a CD autochanger
was just for fun, though; I was here for
just goes where you want it to.
and a Bluetooth system at my fingertips.
Drivers delight.indd 3-4
Photography by Cornelia Kaufmann
Published on Nov 15, 2010