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the magazine of the MX-5 Owners Club


soft top hardtop


WIN More prizes than ever – in our 5 competitions

MX-5 Superlight unveiled

October2009 Volume16:No1

National Rally 09 Nine-page picture special on the Mallory Park 15/20 celebrations

Driving forces Our longest-serving members recall the earliest days of the Club

■ Club member Tom wins Ma5da Championship events ■ Silverstone Classic ■ News & Views PLUS Area Four ‘My Mazdas’ ■ Technical guides ■ Travel

soft top hardtop the magazine of the MX-5 Owners Club

Magazine Editor Tracey Sparling

October 2009

Contents 4 Editorial Plus Communique

Magazine Designer Jon Elsey

5 Picture special: Grand National The 15/20 Rally report

Communications Manager Martin Curtis

14 Mazda News Superlight show car unveiled

Technical Consultant Robbie Marsh Magazine Advertising Selina Davey Soft Top Hardtop is published bimonthly by the MX-5 Owners Club.

The deadline for contributions for the next issue is October 25.

Article guidelines ■ Articles should be no longer than 1,000 words. ■ Include your name (the article author’s name if different), contact details, and use full names in your text. ■ Please email your submission to ■ If you submit an article for publication, you agree to having it edited as the Editor thinks fit. ■ The MX-5 Owners Club does not pay for submissions. ■ If the article has been published before in any form, please say so.

Pictures: ■ High resolution JPEGs are essential. ■ The preferred method for submission of images is by email (as above). ■ No single email should exceed 8mb. ■ It is implicit that photographs submitted are reproduced with the permission of the photographer. ■ Registration numbers will be shown unless removal is requested. ■ Images can also be posted on CD to: Editor, STHP, PO Box 1251, Maidstone, ME14 9LP. Unless a SAE is sent, CDs will not be returned, so retain a copy. ■ Please note: The Editor cannot guarantee a date for publication. ■ Ideas and opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the individual writers and are not necessarily endorsed by the MX-5 Owners Club. ■ Unless otherwise stated, maintenance and modification procedures described in Soft Top Hardtop are not factory approved and may void your warranty. ■ The Editor’s decision was final.

16 A moving story Your MX-5’s first journey 17 Media darling Clarkson and co. praise the MX-5

29 Five has six appeal David Critchley’s half a dozen MX-5s

65 Spring Rally 2010 update 30 Your Letters Plus: your opinions on the Mk3.5 32 Silverstone Classic had winning formula 37 Some people never change What the Club means to its longest serving members

18 My Mazda: The future’s bright, the future’s orange Clive Southern’s Le Mans

42 Read all about it The changing face of Soft Top Hardtop

21 Mystery solved Fabled Le Mans turns up, Plus: Letters extra

44 My Mazda: Do the white thing Darren Mooney’s Mk1

22 My Mazda: It ain’t easy being green! Andy Bonar’s Mk1 V-Special

48 My Mazda: Talkin’ about an evolution Robbie Marsh’s everchanging Mk1

67 California Dreaming Pacific Coast Highway in a Miata 71 Perfect timing How to: adjust ignition timing 72 Route One Ten top tips to organising a run 74 Gasket case How to: change cam cover gasket and crank angle sensor O ring 76 Magical mystery tour Surprise for Cornwall member 77 Cover story How to: fold your soft top cover Plus Club contacts

51 WIN: Latest new MX-5 book

23 Save your hide How to: care for your leather

52 The fast and the furious Ma5da Racing comes to a climax

25 On Track Plus In Profile: Meet the new advertising officer

58 On the level How to: fit anti roll bars to Mk3

26 Have banner, will travel Tour of glory for South West Area’s banner

64 Training day Birthday treat for Jayne Smith

60 Cover up Club member Dennis Griffiths can protect your car’s paintwork

77 Noticeboard Area details and event dates 81 Marketplace MX-5s and parts for sale 82 New members See the new names in your area

27 The F Word Meet the AC: Eastern Region has fun factor

61 WIN: Retro mirrors for Mk1

84 Club Offers WIN: Classic Motor Show tickets

62 Brittany steers Mike Gleaves on French trip

85 WIN: Mazda goodies including a £75 watch

28 Babbs bows out Chairman reviews time at the top

63 A tale of two Mazdas Gill Salt couldn’t say goodbye

86 Photo Finish WIN: £25 merchandise voucher

Any time, any place, anywhere: Matt Barber’s Martini liveried Mk1 track special. Picture: JON ELSEY.


Chairman’s communiqué

’M not going to miss writing this column two months in advance. For example, writing in August a piece for an October publication. Writing ‘wasn’t that the best Summer ever?’ only to find that we had four inches of rain and a foot of snow. My time as Chairman is up and I can look forward to doing things that I haven’t had time for in the last two years. I’m looking forward to being on the cruise ship that is the MX-5 Owners Club without worrying about whether it’s going to bump into any icebergs. I can’t say often enough however, that the people who crew this particular liner are second to none and we as a Club are very lucky to have them working for us. I’m talking about the people who get up at ridiculous times to drive a van full of assorted ‘stuff’ to a cold field in the middle of nowhere so that the people who arrive later can buy a t-shirt or stand in a tent when it rains. The fact that they do it for free…!


Graeme Babbs

October contributors Thank you to everyone who sent in articles or photographs, in particular: Colin Bailey, Steve and Jackie Barnard, Louise Baverstock, Peter Booth, Lewis Craik, David Critchley, Martin Curtis, Sue Duncan, Mike Gleaves, Nick Granger, Dennis Griffiths, Duane Harris, Hugh Hartley, Pat and Bob Hill, Phil Holloway, Iain Houston, Sharon Luxton, Darren Mooney, Iain Nicholson, Ian Palmer, Catherine Pearson, Gill Salt, Jayne Smith, Clive Southern, Jamie Tink, Sharon and Nigel Williams.

Cover shot Steve Hider’s Eunos Roadster – winner of the Champion of Champions Mk1 at Mallory Park. Need a replacement or extra copy of Soft Top Hardtop, or want to tell us your new address to be sure of receiving your next issue? Please contact Membership Administration on 01984 656229, email or write to Membership Administration, Kernshill, Shute Street, Stogumber, Taunton, Somerset, TA4 3TU. Extra copies can be bought for £3 each.

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O this is it then – my last editorial. Time for farewells but it’s not goodbye! I’ll be on hand to help the new editor as she gets to grips with the task, and would like to submit articles and photography in future, but other than that, I have to say I’m ready for a rest! Jon and I are also keen to get back into helping to organise fun Eastern Region events. The past two years of producing Soft Top Hardtop (720 pages!) have been at times challenging, but usually great fun and all who read last issue’s editorial will know our reasons for handing over the reins at this stage in our lives. We have really enjoyed it and who knows, we might be back one day!

“Comments from members who I have never met, have been particularly poignant.” I have been genuinely touched by the many messages of thanks and even sadness which you have sent over the past few months. Some people have pressed me to carry on. Some even said the magazine has made a real difference to the spirit of the Club, by encouraging member participation, promoting events and MX-5 motorsport. I have also met some great characters during my time as editor. But comments from members who I have never met, have been particularly poignant somehow. To have touched a stranger’s life, or at least entertained them for a while, is a very special feeling. For example, Vivienne Edwards wrote to say: “I am sure I speak for all readers, when I say that we owe you both a huge debt of gratitude for bringing the MX-5 Owners Club to the forefront of car clubs.” Jon has been the creative force behind this magazine and of course with our final issue, he was even more determined to pull out all the stops and it’s become a monster 88-pager! You will find nine pages packed with well over 100 of our National Rally pictures which he crafted into montages. As the scorching hot day faded to a starry sunset, we headed off down the M1 to work on the rally coverage – and then added some more pages! I hope the resulting ‘picture special’ is a worthy reflection of the MX-5 Owners Club’s biggest-ever event, and that the day’s successful format will be a forerunner to many others. You will also find a wider selection of ‘how to’ items from Robbie Marsh, without whom we could not have brought you such a

broad range of technical articles – so a heartfelt vote of thanks to Rob! Despite having high profile Club roles, Jon and I chose not to be on the ‘committee/ management team’, or attend meetings about running the Club, but instead decided to focus our efforts on developing this magazine to benefit all members. Therefore we strived for Soft Top Hardtop to be a well rounded publication, worthy of your hard-earned membership fee. We drove the move to find the best printing deal, saving significant sums which I’m glad to say has been invested in extra pagination. From December the magazine will be produced by a team selected by the Club Management Team, including the new editor Sharon Down who is a Club member from Kent. The design role is to be outsourced, so it will be interesting to see how a professional company does it compared to Jon’s late night Apple Mac sessions in the spare room! Please show your support for this magazine by continuing to send in stories and pictures, and join me in wishing Sharon the best of luck for the future.



Grand National Over 1,000 cars at 15/20 celebrations – smashing all past records In the final weeks leading up to the 15/20 rally, organisers pulled out all the stops to provide a grand day out. TRACEY SPARLING reports on the biggest MX-5 Owners Club event ever.



T had never been tried before, but a national rally held exclusively at a motorsport venue attracted the biggest turnout in the MX-5 Owners Club’s 15-year history. Eighteen months of planning, and several changes of organisers, culminated in Mallory Park, Leicestershire being chosen as the venue for the National Rally. One former committee member who confidently told me members had never wanted just a motorsport venue before, was proved very wrong when a reported 1,300 cars arrived at the race circuit to celebrate the cars and the Club’s anniversary. Whether it was the chance to test their car on track, see dramatic drifting demonstrations, or try a slalom course round cones in the paddock area, about 1,500 members and guests attended – and this time paid good money to enter. Of course the blessing of scorching hot September sunshine could have been a

significant factor too, and national events organiser Dave Kiely duly proclaimed himself a religious man now that his prayers for good weather had been answered. As the summer sun glinted off the lake in the middle of the super-fast circuit, clouds of dust were swept up by drivers spinning round the slalom course and later in the day the air was filled with smoke from the tyres of the Driftworks team. No racing was on the agenda but some drivers signed up for track tuition or passenger rides. Of the 60 cars which took part in the track sessions, at least two sustained substantial damage, with one likely to be a write-off – but luckily people escaped with only minor injuries. There were also some gentler pursuits for the crowds, who had come from as far afield as Scotland and the South West. Over a dozen people signed up as new members on the day, and 16 stallholders attended, including the MX-5 specialist firms which regularly support the Owners Club – Footman James, MazMania, Autolink, SFT MX5, and MX5 Parts. New exhibitors included DFG Paint Protection, 5Speed, and Bee Cool, making the event one of the best-supported rally ever. Thanks to the extra organisers who came on board in the preceding couple of weeks, members could try

“My memory of the day is the blue smoke rising into the air behind the big black car of the Driftworks team, looking for all the world like the napalm scene from Apocalypse Now.” their hand at archery with the Kirkby Muxlowe Archery Group and those who ventured over the bridge into the paddock found inflatable toys including a bucking bronco. There was also a quality albeit slightly unseasonal J&J Alpacas stall selling woollen clothing. You could watch practical demonstrations throughout the day including Soft Top Hardtop technical adviser Robbie Marsh replacing brake pads, Peter Jones from MazMania changing a soft top, Dennis Griffiths applying paint protection

Continued over

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From previous page

Show ‘n’ shine car competition results Champion of Champions Mk1 Steve Hider

Mk2 Jamie Tink

Best Kept Mk1

Cool 5 Mk2

1 Andrew Vaux 2 Dave Haskett 3 Ian Morris

1 Andrew Hiscocks 2 Robin Tresider/ Allan Doodes 3 Kevin Allen

Best Kept Mk2 1 Ian McDowall 2 Dave Overall 3 Steve Portlock

Best Kept Mk3 1 Paul Bateman 2 Alan Davies 3 Dave Phillips

Cool 5 Mk3 1 Georgie Hanmer

Hot 5 Mk1 1 Darren Clegg 2 Alan Robinson

Hot 5 Mk2

Cool 5 Mk1

1 Paul Vail

1 George Firth 2 Alan Robinson 3 Adrian Neill

Hot 5 Mk3 1 Paul Roddison

film, Stuart Blackwell from BB Classic Wheels teaching care and refurbishment techniques, and Steven Moorcroft from 5Speed showing performance enhancements and tuning. The addition of Mazda’s hospitality unit provided a focal point from which the car competition prizes were awarded, in front of an audience of about 100. Chairman Graeme Babbs said afterwards:“The National Rally was a huge success, both in terms of numbers attending and the range of activities. The natural bowl of Mallory Park meant that the motorsport lent atmosphere to the day while the tight circuit led to an exciting day for those lucky enough to get out there. The cloudless blue skies and hot sun added the final touches. “We handed a cheque for £13,000 to Help for Heroes and one lucky man won the car. “My memory of the day is the blue smoke rising into the air behind the big black car of the Driftworks team, looking for all the world like the napalm scene from ‘Apocalypse Now’. The Gala Dinner was great fun with top class musicians and guests raised another £500 for Help for Heroes. I can’t praise the 15/20 committee highly enough for their

efforts this year. It was a weekend where you will say ‘I was there’.” Mino Manekshaw who led the 15/20 committee said: “The rally set a number of ‘firsts’; a Saturday event, a large motorsport content, the first national with a commercial partner, over 1,000 cars attending, truly open to the public, international promotion by MX5 Parts, an external communications plan on the back of our Help for Heroes campaign. “That’s not to say that it’s all been plain sailing – the rally was in more than a little difficulty only a few short weeks beforehand. Were it not for the focus and drive of a few individuals, the outcome could have been quite a bit different.” As over 100 members attended the Gala Dinner at a local hotel in the evening, others headed home – with flyers for the National Rally 2010 to be held at Chatsworth House in the Peak District, stashed safely in their car boots.

Richard Owen from

Blandford in Dorset said it was the third rally he had attended. He said: “It’s been good fun. I was even tempted to enter my car, which I polish with Meguiar’s and Autoglym products, in a competition until I had to drive through an area where they had been muck spreading and it got a bit dirty. Now with all the dust here I want to wash it before I drive home!”

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Handover time: Soft Top Hardtop edito r Tracey Sparling (right) meets her succ essor Sharon Down, a Club member from Kent, who will take over the role from the December issue.

Much admired: The Hot Mk3 title wen t to Paul Roddison’s racer which he has built to compete in the MaX5 race series.


Top of the class: The Best Kept Mk2t and

awarded to Ian McDowall’s Mk2 Spor the on he was invited to represent the Club NEC prestigious Meguiar’s stand at the Classic Motor Show in November.

Trophy triumph:

Georgie Hanmer, Dave Phillips.

man, Prize winners: Back row, Paul BateHisc ocks, Andrew Vaux. Front row,

After the event, Ken Stanbury nominated Sam Goodwin for the Rob Beckwith Trophy for 2009 for his restoration of a rare M1002 to pristine condition.

Middle row, Ian McDowall, Andrew Hider. George Firth, Jamie Tink and Steve

soft top hardtop 7


Sad sight: Just a gentle reminder that motorsport can be dangerous. Fortunately both the driver and passenger escaped from this crash into with only minor injuries, during the the tyre wall, afternoon.

ers?! Jane Oxby Who says men are the best driv of the Spring Rally from Lincolnshire (also the winner petition in 35.59 sprint in Msy) won the slalom com 35.82 and Mike in seconds. Second was Susie Handley track activities on All . 36.15 in third e cam nson Steve On Track, led by the day were organised by Mazda Clark. Al and ill Doug Nick Club member

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Hands on: Soft Top Hardtop’s very own ‘Roadster Robbie’ showed a crowd of members how to change brake pads, kindly provided for the demo by MX5 Parts and SFT MX5.

Darren Wragg from

Cambridgeshire said: “I went to the Goodwood rally in 2005 but it’s actually a lot better here because here you can park and be near everything.”

Smoke mac

hines: Driftworks is a focal point for the drifting community and the rally saw some of the top drivers show how they induce over sideways round the circuit. The disp steer to slide lay created spectacular clouds of tyre smoke for the spectators. However at one point the interior of a Nissan Skyline filled up with smoke and the drive r could not quite see to stay on track!

soft top hardtop 9


d: Winner of the Congratulations to Richard Hea enthusiast Richard

15/20 raffle car was BMW classic car who bought the Head from Wokingham in Berkshire ic. lucky ticket at the Silverstone Class who drew the lucky Rachel Huxford of Help for Heroes , said: “The £13,000 boot ster’s road red the from t ticke le like senior raised will go towards helping peop who was injured in a rth erwo Butt llen Jon-A an aircraftsm at the age of 21. ago s year two a Basr in mortar attack centre for which tion bilita Reha t Cour “Thanks to Headley ds to inten he r, raise fund r Help for Heroes is a majo one of the velodrome compete in the 2012 Paralympics in events.”


ek Ost from Sussex, a member since 1999, said: “We’ve had an absolutel y fantastic day. The weather makes every event better and it’s also a brilliant venue this year. It does make a differenc e to actually be able to see MX-5s doin g what they do best, on the track.” Linda Ost added:“I would also like to thank whoever chose the designate d hotel, because it was top notch.”

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Roaring trade: The merchandise stall was always busy and new items for sale include: Umbrella £19.50, cloth bag £1.50, a 2010 diary £6, pen £3.50, bookmark £8, mug £7.50, scarf £7.50.

Nigel Mellor from North

West said: “Many thanks to those who attended and especially to organisers. Of course the fantastic weather played its part, but this was my first event as an MX-5 OC member and both my son and myself thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was truly a day to remember.”

A cut abo

ve: An inspired attraction was a chainsaw artist carving a very cred ible sculpture from a large section of woo MX-5 d. People popped back at various time s to see the MX-5 develop before their eyes. The sculpture later raised £150 in a silent auction at the rally.

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Ty 15/ th tod th tra So








Man on the mike: One of the judges, Ken Stanbury from Northampton shire said afterwards:“Well, what an even , t that was! The word on the street (or should that be the track!) is that this year’s National was a terrific success and it wasn’t just because of the weather. “Everybody I spoke to agreed that the combination of speed, shine and socia worked very well and so many own l ers are now keen to have a go at more track events. It was the best yet!”

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Dorgan Unsung hero of the year: Jenny of 21,044

Tyne Tees area coordinated the sale lmed to win 15/20 raffle tickets and was overwhe led up to ing’s ryth “Eve hy. Trop er the Colin Frew she said today and this is totally unexpected,” sun on the the through tears. “I’m not crying, it’s hampton and tray making my eyes water!” Nort £3,820. South Wales areas raised £3,620 and

Other nominations Wessex area. Chris Neville-Parry for services to pton area. Ken Stanbury for services to Northam Hardtop. Tracey Sparling for editing Soft Top on area. Bob Pain for services to West Lond ity work. Nick Dougill for Help for Heroes char National Gerry Nicholls for organising the 2008 Rally at Belvoir Castle.

Steve Butler, right, said: “It was definitely worth us coming. We’ve had a brilliant day and had time to look round.” Sam Goodwin, left, added:“It’s been a good rally, we have had a good day.”

Rich Mills from

Cambridgeshire said: “I’ve come straight from the Nurburgring and think this is a great venue. I wish I could have been here earlier so I could have got on the track.”

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I predict a diet! Mazda fights the flab to create stripped out special At September’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Mazda celebrated the heritage of the MX-5 with a special Superlight show car.


Pictures: MAZDA

IKE the first MX-5, which represented a rebirth of the classic roadster in 1989, the Superlight resurrects the roofless sports cars of the past in a design that is both retro and futuristic. It provides a true racer experience with its lively 1.8 engine, radical design and dynamic chassis settings. Reducing weight has always been a tradition with the MX-5 and it provided the inspiration for this project. Mazda’s European Research and Development centre in Oberursel, Germany has created a car that represents the essence of Mazda’s fun-to-drive spirit. The main brief for the team behind this study was “to evolve the MX-5, developed to perfection during the last 20 years, to a higher and extreme level,” said project lead designer Hasip Girgin. The result of their efforts is an exciting lightweight roadster distilled down to the very basics of sporty driving, while still providing modern safety technologies. The roadster accomplishes this by keeping its weight well below the 1000kg

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threshold, a weight that was felt to be almost unattainable for a modern sports car, until now. As a study in lightweight construction and driving enjoyment, the Superlight is the ideal ambassador for Mazda’s brand values. “I’ve dreamed of building an MX-5 with this kind of radical form for a long time,” said Peter Birtwhistle, Mazda Motor Europe’s chief designer. “Now that weight reduction has become a dominant factor in automotive development, the time is ripe for the Superlight, as we show how lightweight a car of today can be.” His team has reduced the MX-5 to its core attributes, creating one of the purest MX-5s ever. By removing equipment not vital to driving, and making unique components, designers have sharpened the character of the MX-5. Because there is no windscreen, for instance, there is obviously no need for wipers. The roadster show car’s completely open design makes the need for outer door handles, side windows and their openers unnecessary. A single aluminium, wide-angle mirror gives the driver a good view of the road behind. Front and rear lights are carried over from the production model with additional LED lamps at the front, and brake lights added to the back of each roll hoop, contributing to the racy roadster’s look. The lack of a windscreen required the bonnet line to be extended into the cabin,

Built for driving enjoyment: Func tiona

l interior.

by using a carbon fibre panel which also provides a hood for the dashboard. The purity of the exterior is reflected in the interior design, also conceived to reduce weight. Driver and passenger sit in ultra-lightweight carbon fibre bucket seats, wearing four-point harnesses. A lightweight plastic dashboard houses standard roadster instruments held in place by a carbon fibre frame. And just like a race car, the Superlight has a starter button and emergency kill buttons for fuel and electricity cut-off. While the show car is drivable, Mazda says there are no plans to produce it in volume in the near future. Under the bonnet lurks the familiar 1.8litre engine mated to a standard five-speed gearbox. However, unique to the Superlight

Mazdanews is a Mazdaspeed-designed cold air intake and exhaust system both tuned for a sporty note as much as performance. Indeed, the sound these two items produce suggests a much larger engine than the show car actually has. Stopping power is provided by a fourpiston, fixed-calliper brake system with drilled discs while the MX-5’s legendary handling is enhanced by lowering the car 30mm using Bilstein coil-over suspension and fitting uprated Eibach anti roll bars. The car has standard 205/45 R17 production tyres which are mounted on alloys from the 2.0 litre sport, which, at less than 8kg each, are some of the lightest wheels on the market today.

20th anniversary edition goes on sale in Japan

Building the show car The task to create this sounded challenging, and time was short. After the decision was made to present a radical MX-5 at the Frankfurt show, Peter Birtwhistle had only three months to complete it. He formed a five-person working group but there wasn’t time for building scale models. Instead, the designers went back to basics and put their ideas on paper, decided which were best, then applied them directly to a fullscale clay model. The cockpit was created first, together with the interior door braces. All components were then digitalised. This data was sent to an external studio for building the prototype, where the fibreglass and carbon fibre parts were made and later fitted. This method was also used to create the centre console, housing the gear lever and handbrake. In the meantime, a production 1.8 MX-5 was stripped of all the components which were destined to be replaced, and under the leadership of Mazda’s design team and chassis engineers, a drivable ‘blank’ of the Superlight was created that weighed well under 1,000 kg yet still respected the original car’s 50/50 weight distribution. Mazda test drivers and experts from Bilstein and Eibach drove the car on a closed track in order to check the feasibility of the project. The results amazed even the most experienced engineers. With hardly any re-working, the ‘light’ MX-5 was an easy-to-control, safedriving roadster that displayed incredible agility and great driving dynamics. Final assembly began with painting the bodyshell white, and simply polishing the original aluminium bonnet. The racing seats, steering wheel, gear shift lever and hand brake were upholstered in saddle colour leather and installed. This was followed by fitting all the carbon fibre components. And finally, Mazda designers installed the centre console, dashboard, instruments, seatbelts and roll-over bars.

But will it come to Britain?


O commemorate the 20th anniversary of the MX-5, Mazda has released a special edition for the Japanese market. The Mazda Roadster 20th Anniversary went on sale on July 31, in Japan. The MX-5 is currently sold in about 60 countries and was certified as the world’s most produced two-seat, open-top sports car by Guinness World Records when production reached 800,000 cars. Total production of the Mazda Roadster now stands in excess of 860,000. The Roadster 20th Anniversary is based on the Roadster RS soft-top model with a six-speed manual transmission, and the VS power retractable hardtop (RHT) model with a six-speed automatic transmission. All 20th Anniversary models come in Crystal White Pearl Mica, used for the first time on the Mazda Roadster.

Special equipment includes unique red and black Recaro bucket sport seats, exclusive ‘20th Anniversary’ badges, and clear front fog lights. Should this model ever reach our shores and tempt you, it’s useful to know that the current suggested price is about £18,254 for the soft-top version and approximately £19,850 for the RHT model.

Mk2/2.5 MX-5 voted ‘best buy’ in used car survey

T Not just for show: This concept car actually goes.

Special place to be: 20th Anniversary interior.

HE Mk2/2.5 MX-5 is the number one second-hand car of the new millennium according to research by The online retailer analysed the reliability, performance, running costs, depreciation, owner reviews, sales popularity and customer satisfaction of hundreds of models to create a roll call of used cars of the ‘noughties’.

The 1999 to 2005 MX-5 topped the list of 50 second-hand models. Alistair Jeff from said: ‘The Mazda MX-5 deserves the top position thanks to strong reliability, value for money, residual performance and driveability. “Its success in our poll only goes to further support the British love affair with the drop-top.”

soft top hardtop 15


A moving story How your new MX-5 got as far as your dealer’s door Thedayyoutakedeliveryofa newroadster,ithasalreadytravelled nearly11,000miles.TRACEYSPARLINGtook up Club member Fred Godson’s challenge to investigatethefirstjourneywhicheverynew UK MX-5makes. With a little help from Mazda, here’s the full story.

Pictures: MAZDA


LL Mazda MX-5s are made at the Ujina plant, close to Hiroshima. This plant also builds other models of car, notably the Mazda2 and RX-8. Cars come down the production line in any order, for instance a Mazda2 can follow a MX-5 soft top, with a MX-5 hardtop behind that. Once produced, the cars are transported to the docks where they are loaded on to deep sea vessels for onward transportation to Europe. On average, one ship per week leaves for Europe. Ships are chartered by Mazda Corporation and will in the main be Mazda exclusive, although vehicles will be destined for multiple European countries and so will stop at various ports within Europe (Barcelona, Bremerhaven, Antwerp etc).

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On average, 750 to 1,000 Mazdas bound for the UK market, are on each vessel. Occasionally, there can be up to 2,500 cars on a boat, usually around the peak selling periods of March and September. The average shipping time is around 35 days, depending on weather conditions, congestion at the Suez Canal and processing through European ports. For transportation, the most vulnerable pieces of a car receive additional protection against damage. For instance, alloy wheels have a plastic cover on them, boot lids and door edges will have a hard-wearing plastic strip fitted. The cargo is constantly monitored for any damage and if trends are detected, preventative measures are put in place on the production line to minimise any customer delays from ‘foreseen’ damage. Cars are secured within the lower decks of the ship to protect from saltwater damage, and the general rolling motion of the boat.

Mazda’s Ujina plant: The birth plac e of

the MX-5.

They are lashed down front and back. The storage compound for the UK is in Zeebrugge, Belgium as there is no UKbased facility. Upon arrival at the Bastenaken Terminal, Zeebrugge, cars are unloaded. This process is called ‘stevedoring’ with all the cars being unloaded in one day by teams of drivers and they then go through a PDI (Pre Delivery Inspection) process which includes a full check of the vehicle for any damage, a thorough clean and the addition of any Port of Entry equipment – these could be legislative stickers, handbooks, spoilers etc. Cars are then stored in the compound until requested for delivery by a dealer. At this point the vehicles are moved into ‘load lanes’ for shipment to the UK by RoRo boat (roll on roll off). Two ports in the UK are used, Killingholme near Grimsby


for northern dealers and Purfleet in Essex for southern dealers. Once in one of the UK holding compounds, cars are built into transporter loads of either nine or 11 cars for onward delivery to the dealer. Some cars can only be placed in certain positions on the transporter because of size and the aim is to not have to continually unload and reload the transporter to avoid delays and the potential for damage. Transporter drivers have to adhere to European Working Time Directives and so a journey to the south west from Purfleet or to Inverness from Killingholme could actually take more than one day, taking into account other dealer stops along the way and compulsory rest breaks. The average time from arrival in Zeebrugge to arrival at the dealer’s premises, is around seven working days. As the cars are unloaded from the transporter, the local dealership will fully inspect the vehicle to ensure that there is no damage. In rare instances minor damage will be present and this will be repaired to an ‘as new’ standard prior to customer handover. The dealer will carry out another PDI, clean the car and make sure all the requested options are fitted. So it can take anything from 45 to 55 days from the day the car comes off the production line, to arrival at the dealer’s – depending on ship schedules etc. In that time the MX-5 will have visited a number of countries and travelled nearly 11,000 miles on two ships and a transporter, with the wheels hardly having turned – just in time for its first service at 12,500 miles!

Media darling Clarkson and others can’t get enough of the MX-5


HE MX-5 is everywhere! Recent issues of Soft Top Hardtop have shown how motoring magazines are currently keen to feature the roadster in photo shoots. In the past few weeks we’ve been approached by journalists asking to showcase members’ cars. Evo magazine (October issue) names the Mk1 among its top 100 greatest drivers’ cars – and judged it to come in at number nine. The writer Henry Catchpole took their top ten choices ranging from supercars to hot hatchbacks to Wales to test, and stressed price was not an issue, while the feeling of driving was. He said: “Getting into the slightly scratchy cloth-covered seat of the Mazda, you can almost feel the pressure lift from your shoulders. It is cheap and it is slow, there is no getting away from those two facts but that makes you instantly relax with it.” His glowing report shows how the MX-5 excels through long corners, clings on and gives you time to enjoy every bit of a drive. He judged it above several Ferraris, among others including Mitsubishi Evo, McLaren F1, Jaguar Etype, Aston Martin Vantage, Lotus Exige, Lamborgini Murcielago, Subaru Impreza, BMW M3 and a Ford GT. In the Times in August, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson decided the MX-5 represented ‘better value for money than any other car on sale in Britain today. He said: “You get almost exactly the same amount of fun you

would get from a Ferrari 430 Spider. “This, then, is a car designed to thrill and excite and put a massive smile on your face at the sort of speed that won’t mess up your girlfriend’s hair. “Put simply, an MX-5 feels more alive at 30mph than most other cars feel at 100….I said recently that the BMW Z4 is the best of the open sports cars, but

“Put simply, an MX-5 feels more alive at 30mph than most other cars feel at 100…” after a couple of days with the Mazda I realise I was talking nonsense. The BMW is excellent but the MX-5 demonstrates that its extra speed, extra grip and extra size is all a bit wasteful. In the little Japanese car you get exactly what you need, and exactly the space you need, and nothing more. The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it 14.” Clarkson’s opinion is echoed in other motoring press. The MX-5 was also named Best Roadster at the 2009 Auto Express Awards, in August.

... All we know is that he’s called the Stig – possibly!


Safe at sea: These RX-8s show wha down hooks on Mk1 and Mk2 MX- t those tie 5s are really for. All aboard: Factory fresh MX-5s being loaded at the Ujina factory in Japan.

Star in a reasonably priced car: The


HE Stig jumped at the chance to get behind the wheel of Project Merlot at the Helmingham Festival of Classic Cars, in Suffolk. As over 600 classic cars gathered in the picturesque grounds of the Tudor hall, Top Gear’s tame racing driver – or maybe it was a lookalike but who’s to tell?! – found himself drawn to the MX-5 Owners Club’s colour coordinated display. He squeezed his tall frame into the little Mazda which Eastern Region members can all drive on track days. True to form, the mysterious star refused to say a word and nobody dared remove his helmet, so alas, we are none the wiser as to his true identity.

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Picture: SAM PYLE

“The MX-5 will have visited a number of countries and travelled nearly 11,000 miles on two boats and a transporter, with the wheels hardly having turned.”


, t h g i r b s ’ e r The futu e g n a r o s ’ e r the futu This very special MX-5 is believed to be unique The Le Mans MX-5 is the rarest UK limited edition available, and today it seems incredible that several examples were repainted from the original orange and green check design, to make them more saleable. TRACEY SPARLING profiles Clive Southern’s all-orange Le Mans which is famous throughout the Club as ‘Jaffa.’

Pictures: JON ELSEY


OBODY could fail to notice this appealed. Then I tried a standard 1.6 vibrant bright orange Mk1 if it MX-5 and thought the handling was sped past, but not all would great. In fact I really liked the car but know its illustrious pedigree. thought it could do with more power.” For under its sunny tangerine He had seen two Le Mans MX-5s in a paintwork, lies an example of that rare showroom earlier that year so returned breed, a special edition Le Mans of to the dealership, on the off chance which only 22 were reportedly ever that they may still have one. Although made. A select few of those were the dealership had sold the orange and resprayed from their green one, they still had original livery of orange the second one which had and green with broken by now been repainted. It tape, for various reasons had been resprayed and by a variety of orange after customers dealers and owners. Clive said they liked the car Southern’s ‘Jaffa’ is and all the extras but believed to be the only Le wouldn’t use a car with Mans which ultimately such a strong colour was totally ‘tango-ed!’ combination every day. Clive said: “It’s great Clive recalled: “I quite having a distinctive car, liked the car all orange. Name: Clive Southern as far as I know it’s the It was still bright, still a only all-orange MX-5. Le Mans with all the “The car is quite well Age: 68 extras and lots of known in our Club, so performance which was my wife Maureen and I Lives: Beeston, Nottingham what I was looking for.” always have plenty of Since then he has waves from people when Area: North East Midlands covered 84,700 miles in we’re on convoy drives. I the car, many of them have known most of the Forum Alias: jaffa over the last ten years Le Mans owners over the with Maureen and the years although some of Owners Club. They have the cars have changed hands. Club been abroad many times including trips member Doug Passell has a register of to the car’s spiritual home the Le Mans as many Le Mans MX-5s, as he has 24-hour race. traced and has lots of details including Clive added: “Since buying the car I chassis and engine numbers. One day it have changed many items to improve would be good to have as many as we safety and speed, and to make it even can at a Club meeting.” more fun to drive. I’m pleased to say It was in 1991, after many years the car has been reliable, never let us without an open-top sports car that down in any way, affordable to run, Clive decided to try and re-create some comfortable even on long journeys of his memories from years ago with across Europe. It’s fast, handles great MGs and Austin Healeys etc. on the many track days I have done, not He said: “The problem was there to mention the excellent road manners didn’t seem to be a lot of choice when I looked at a Honda CRX, TVRs, Lotus Elans, Mk1 MR2s and none of them Continued over

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“It’s great having a distinctive car, as far as I know it’s the only all-orange MX-5.

Le Mans specification From previous page

Picture: Mazda

Inspiration: The Le Mans special edition

maintain.” the car has and it’s easy to into owning pted tem e wer ple The cou but still s, year two for a 2003 Nevada Mk2.5, so used the Mk1 more than this sold in 2005. ly tual even was ada Nev the nding as Clive added: “We enjoy atte . We have ible poss as ts many MX-5 even since we met up with many members y friends bought the car and made man a been ing hav es, ntri cou y from man

b since just member of the Owners Clu 37). e pag (see ted star it after ible and “We meet up as often as poss – it’s like enjoy a good MX-5 social life ily but being part of a big happy fam interest mon com a e hav we all of most . ther toge all us which bonds Mans and “I do intend to keep our Le it ever. have no intention of selling the Le Mans What more can I say about ” car! er – what a sup

was produced to commemorate Mazda’s 1991 victory at the famous 24-hour race with its 787b racer. This was the first and only time a Japanese manufacturer has won the event.

Exterior: Orange and green paintwork separated by a white ‘broken tape’ design. Orange, green and black diamond pattern on bonnet, 24-hour laurels on bonnet and rear wings. Full ‘Finish Line’ body kit including front nose cone and spoiler, side skirts, rear skirt and boot spoiler, 15x6.5J five-spoke OZ alloys, 205x50x15 tyres.

Engine: BBR (Brodie Brittain Racing) turbo conversion.

Interior: Electric windows, power steering, central locking, Clarion cassette radio, Mazda alarm. A leather-bound handbook case with limited edition certificate signed by Johnny Herbert (one of the three Le Mans race winning drivers) and leather key fob. Mazda planned to build 24 cars but reportedly only 22 were made. Some, like Clive’s, were resprayed to help sales. A few have been written off but 16 are believed to remain in the world including at least nine in the UK.

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Clive’s modifications include: Uprated brake discs and pads, Koni ride height suspension, Clearwater speakers in doors and seats, leather seats, Borla stainless steel exhaust, six-speed gearbox, prop shaft, half shafts and limited slip differential all from a 10th Anniversary model. Low profile headlights, heated glass rear window, Oris windblocker, FM clutch, lightened flywheel, programmable engine management system, knock sensor, boost control, wideband O2 sensor, free flow air filter, double capacity FM radiator, Powerflex bushes, NGK spark plugs, and Magnecor plug leads.


Mystery The enemy within Lettersextra solved out of the blue Waxoyl used to hold back rust

Dear Editor,



Clear and

present danger: Rust is already evident inside the sills of Tony’s Mk2 .5 Sport. surfaces had a coating. I shone the torch onto a mirror aimed at the hole which gave a reasonable view inside, to check. While not alleviating the dreaded ‘rot,’ about an hour and a few £s worth of Waxoyl should have at least delayed it for a few extra years. Thanks to you both for the excellent magazine. Your successor has a formidable task ahead.

F cars were likened to creatures, then the blue Le Mans must surely be a unicorn – an enigma which has become firmly lodged in MX-5 folklore. Never seen, but often talked about with great curiosity any time the Le Mans special edition is mentioned, the ‘missing one’ is legendary among those in the know. There were also stories of two cars being Tony Mann, shipped back to Japan, two resprayed in Peterborough black, another in red. But nobody could ever verify that the blue car existed, until an innocent posting appeared on the Club’s Forum in July, which said (sic): “If i wanted i could possibly buy my aunties bbr turbo for a small fee but would really want to pay her a fair price for it? what is a realistic price for the bbr 24 hour le mains turbo resprayed in blue (not by her) should i buy it?? and whats it worth??” This immediately triggered a flurry of excited replies from members who had always been keen to know the full story of this popular but rare limited edition. Pic 1: Wheel arch liner needs to be removed. Pic 2: Rubber bung hides access point to sill. In what was possibly one of the most interesting ‘first posts’ on the Forum, the urban myth was shattered and the riddle of the missing blue Le Mans was solved. After a few exchanged emails, Doug Passell, who keeps a comprehensive Le Mans register and owns one of the two black versions of the special edition, managed to confirm the car was indeed the missing Le Mans. The owner agreed to allow the car to be taken to a local Club meet at Silvermere golf course in Surrey, where several owners took the rare opportunity to check the car over and take some pictures. The story goes that the car was resprayed in a non-Mazda metallic blue by a dealer, before its first owner took delivery. Leather seats and other interior modifications had also been added to make the car more saleable. The discovery of the blue Le Mans has bought the register up to 18 cars still known to exist. However the second black Le Mans and the rumoured red still remain at large… unless you know differently? Seeing is believing: These Le Mans special editions were separated at birth and reunited in Surrey.

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Fabled Le Mans turns up after Forum first post

HAVING read the excellent article on Ben Edwards’ replacement sills to his MX-5, and going on the theory that prevention is better than cure, I decided to investigate how easy it would be to inject some Waxoyl into the sills of my 2003 Mk2.5 Sport. Having raised and supported the rear of the car (following a previous article by Robbie Marsh) and removed the rear wheels I discovered that on removing the plastic panel (turn the centre of the four retaining plugs half a turn anti-clockwise to release) at the front of the rear wheel arches (pic 1), Mazda had thoughtfully provided access to the sills behind a rubber bung (approx 30mm diameter, pic 2). Having removed this carefully, using a small screwdriver, I shone a torch through the hole down inside the sill and could see the rearmost part. On my car, rust had already started to creep up both the inner and outer sills. I sprayed a liberal amount of Waxoyl through the hole in all directions to hopefully make sure all


Itain’teasybeing Before

Tan interior colour change brought DIY challenge Having owned over 20 cars, father-of-seven ANDY BONAR already had a big family vehicle but wanted something a bit different as his fun drive. The MX-5 was top of his shortlist, and when he found the right car he set about modifying it – including transforming the interior.



Interior transformation: See how Andy got to this stage, in detail on the Forum.

wing Can-do attitude: Andy resprayed the

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NDY BONAR had to sell his 54Roadster, which was brought into the UK in plate Renault Clio to buy a seven2000. He said: “I handed over the cash and seater for his wife and seven bought her home, with a smile on my face children. all the way back to Manchester with the That left him to find something slightly roof down… my first topless experience!” smaller, a little run-around for getting to Andy hasn’t looked back, and said: “She work. So in 2006 he set a budget of £2,000 hasn’t missed a beat since I bought her. I and started looking, with the Mazda MX-5 have done all the maintenance myself, on his shortlist. sticking to a strict schedule. Two MoTs Andy said: “I found the Owners Club have now been sailed through, and I have website, learnt a little bit maintained her and upgraded about the Five and Eunos her as a matter of course.” Roadster, asked a few The smaller modifications questions, and my mind was came first, including made up. My next car would swapping the steering wheel, be Five or a Roadster, I didn’t gear knob and handbrake mind which. grip. Then the orange “I did favour a yellow or indicator lights and reflectors blue model, but apart from were replaced with clear ones, Name: Andy Bonar that I wasn’t fussed about followed by the addition of a specifics. As long as it was style bar. Age: 41 tidy and didn’t have any of the Andy said: “The new problems that Forum users interior came last year when I Lives: Manchester had suggested might be there.” decided the time was right to He looked at many Fives make the change. I had never Area: North West which had seen better days, been overly keen on the tan Forum Alias: Bluenoes before seeing one last roadster interior, and hoped one day to in the opposite direction to do it myself. It took around a where he had been searching week in all to get the total interior changed geographically, and it was not blue or over. It was a really enjoyable and yellow. It was green. satisfying thing to do, although my hands “I headed off to Stoke to view it,” said were sore from pulling all those hog rings Andy. “I don’t know what it was that made through the seat frames! my mind up, but it just felt right. It needed “I am proud to say that my interior a really good clean, there was hardly any upgrade can be found on the Forum in the shine on it, but, there was no rust, no Body, Interior and Styling FAQ section, leaking roof, no overspray covering under the heading “How to give your damage, and it drove as sweet as a nut.” interior an upgrade. It was a standard 1991 “The 17V-Special Eunos inch



Save your hide How to care for your car’s leather upholstery By GRAEME HAKIN


Green flash: Andy tests out his Road ster. wheels came at the same time. The ride is a bit harsher than before, but I don’t mind sacrificing that for better looks.” Andy had to re-paint the wing last summer after an accident with his garage door, but was so pleased with what he achieved with rattle cans that he also resprayed the nose cone. He had long wanted to replace the number plate with a stick-on one, but that had not been possible before re-painting as there were ten holes behind the old numberplate. The latest addition is a single exit stainless steel exhaust from MX5 Parts. Andy said: “This has finished the car off a treat! Did I say finished it off ? She will never be finished, there is always something else to do when cash allows...”

Technical specification Exterior: Clear indicator and sidelight lenses, clear front reflectors and side indicators, stick-on registration plate. Stainless steel front grille.

Interior: Black leather seats with green inserts, green leather door cards, green leather handbrake and gear lever gaiters. Re-painted dash (now black formerly tan). Original centre console stripped and repainted satin black, tan carpets replaced with black. Tan seatbelts and trim replaced with black items. Nardi wooden wheel replaced with Option Tuning leather wheel. Nardi gearknob replaced with Richbrook stainless steel knob. Nardi Handbrake replaced with Richbrook stainless steel grip. Chrome vent rings and heater surrounds, stainless steel style bar, windblocker, BMW E36 style analogue clock. Exhaust: MX5 Parts single exit stainless steel exhaust.

Wheels: 17” AWC Hamburg wheels with Toyo T1R tyres.

ICE: Sony CD / MP3 player, 500 watt subwoofer and amplifier in boot.

ANY MX-5s come with leather upholstery as standard, particularly those imported from the Japanese domestic market. Leather is a marvellous product that enhances the interior of a vehicle, but its care is often overlooked. Being a convertible, the leather on your seats and steering wheel is regularly exposed to the sunlight and it can very quickly become damaged beyond repair. I thought I’d have a look at the best way to care for your leather upholstery. First of all though, how much do you know about the leather used in car seat covers? Most people think that leather upholstery has a solid colour all the way through and they are usually horrified when they find out that the colour is actually sprayed on… rather like the paint on your car’s bodywork! It’s true that leather is dyed right through in the tanning, but that doesn’t give it a solid colour – it’s only a stain. In the tannery, the finish is applied in several different stages. It’s important to realise that the colour of your leather upholstery is a very thin film over the top of the material. Firstly, a bonding sealer is wiped over the leather. This combination of resins is applied to provide maximum adhesion of the finish to the leather. It’s a similar principle to how primer works with car paint. Once the sealer has dried, the microporous colour is then sprayed on. This colour is a combination of waterbased, urethane and acrylic resins with pigment added. The urethane gives the finish its hardwearing qualities, whereas the acrylic gives it softness. Six or seven coats are usually sprayed on. Once dry, a clear sealer is then applied to give the leather good physical properties. If the hide is to retain its beauty and resilience, it must be cared for, cleaned and conditioned. It’s easier to spend a little time protecting and conditioning it, than spending the energy and money to salvage it. Leather that has been ignored, bombarded with UV radiation, cooked in infrared, discoloured with body oils and finally rough sanded by ground-in dirt, ends up dried, prematurely aged and

cracked. Without proper care and conditioning your leather will age rapidly, losing its lustre and flexibility. The leather on your seats was once used to keep the insides of a cow from falling out and was designed to pass moisture through tiny pores. These pores now absorb your perspiration, and as the water evaporates, the salts from the sweat soak up the essential oils from the leather. This accumulation of salt and other dirt should be cleaned from the leather about twice a year (more often if the seats get more than their fair share of your leftover sweat) because the loss of oils within the leather is the first step to hardening, cracking and shrinkage. Regular cleaning and nourishing of the leather is the easiest way to ensure that your upholstery lasts longer. The cleaning will rehydrate the leftover salts and grime and wash them away from the fibres. This may be achieved by using a mild solution of soap and water, but a specialised leather cleaning product is by far the best way to ensure that the material is not stripped of any natural oils. Don’t use vinyl cleaners or dishwashing liquid, as these products tend to be much harsher and will not be beneficial to the leather. Once the leather is clean, a conditioner should be used to restore lost oils and emollients. A quality conditioner will help maintain the oil in the leather and is designed to nourish and moisturise. They are engineered at a molecular level, to absorb deep into the cell fibres. Apply the conditioner using a soft cloth – an old cotton t-shirt is ideal. Paper towels are made of wood (on the simplest level) and no matter how refined will cause scratching. With your cloth, generously spread the lotion liberally over the seats. The lotion will slowly soak in, allowing it to be absorbed into the fibres. You may condition your seats as often as you wish, and as a rule, three to four times a year. The leather will tell you if you apply too much or too often, as the fibres will just not absorb the excess. If your car is parked outside in the summer, open the windows a little (if possible) to reduce the heat inside (those black vinyl roofs absorb a lot of heat). Finally, if your car is parked with the roof down in the sun, a towel on your seat or a fitted cockpit cover will prevent scorched legs when you jump in wearing shorts!

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The MX-5 Owners Club organises circuit driving events to bring out the Jenson Button in you! By IAN PALMER Motorsport Coordinator

Oulton Park Saturday November 7


ESTLING in the heart of the Cheshire countryside and widely acknowledged as the most picturesque race circuit in the country, is Oulton Park. It is recognised as much for its stunning surroundings as the spectacular racing that takes place on its hallowed tarmac. The circuit hosts a variety of national and international motorsport events of the highest calibre and was the venue for an exciting round for Ma5da Racing in August. Oulton Park has barely a single stretch of track which is actually level. The combination of climbs and descents, intercepted with flowing curves and bends (including the banked Shell Oil’s Corner) is a real challenge for all drivers. If taking part in track driving at Mallory Park has whetted your appetite, our event on November 7 will be a great place to take your track experience a step further. The event will be held in sessions, so ours will be entirely MX-5s if we get enough participants. The cost is £140, which is great value for a weekend track day at this circuit.

This will be the last Club event of the year so don’t delay if you would like to join up for this great track day. You can sign up through the MGs on Track website at Look for our event on the list on the left hand side of the page. We look forward to seeing you there.

The future of Club motorsport We still need your input and feedback as to what you would like from motorsport in the Owners Club. Our events this year haven’t been as well attended as we had hoped, and we would like to improve on that. We want to provide members with activities that you want to take part in, among like-minded enthusiasts driving MX-5s. To do that successfully, we need to hear from you. Please email me with your comments, suggestions or ideas at We also have a mailing list, so if you would like us to keep you informed of events, and to have advance notice when bookings are open, send an email to with “mailing list” in the subject. The list won’t be available to anyone else, won’t be shared or sold and won’t be used for any purpose other than to keep you informed about MX-5 Owners Club motorsport. See also the Forum.

Make a date to see your pictures in the Club calendar YOU can now submit photos for the MX-5 Owners Club Calendar 2010. Iain Fleming requests pictures which reflect the seasons, or capture the essence of turning 21, eg. a party or getting your first keys but the car must be the star! Think about the composition and remember keep the car in focus. Send pics to with your full name and contact details by October 23. Please keep overall email size below 9MB. Images should be five mega pixels or more. The calendar cannot use heavily edited or Photoshopped photos.

inprofile... Name: Selina Davey Club role: Advertising officer Age: 52 Lives: Higher Clovelly, North Devon. Area: South West Q: When did you join the Club and why? A: July 2006. The Wessex Area used to meet where my daughter worked and they were a great source of info when deciding what to look for in an MX-5. Q: What cars do you drive? A: A Mk2 MX-5 1.6 and a Peugeot 207 Q: Why do you love your MX-5? A: I love it for its sleek looks and it’s great to drive. It’s hard to get in this car and be unhappy. Driving it reminds me to live each day as if it were my last and to be thankful for the work of Cancer Research. The car has enabled me to make many new friends at Club meets and rallies. Q: What’s your car history? A: This is my first ‘own’ car, even though I’ve been driving for 35 years! Family cars have been: 1970 Mini Van, Opel Kadett, Ford Escort, Peugeot 205, Peugeot 306, Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Corolla, Fiat Punto, Peugeot 207. Q: What are your other hobbies? A: Gardening, surfing the net, all types of music, going to the theatre, and last but not least, driving my MX-5. Q: What’s your day job? A: Pharmacy technician/ supervisor. I am also a NVQ/VRQ assessor. Q: What would you like to see from the Club in future? A: To continue to have a lively, diverse group of members with strong Areas and a good internet Forum presence.

Have your say... What would you like to see covered in this magazine? There’s a section of the Club Forum dedicated to Soft Top Hardtop, on which you can post suggestions, feedback and find out how to submit articles, order extra copies etc. ■ Log on to

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Have banner, will travel... Tour of glory for South West Area’s beloved banner


OST Club areas have their own banner, but how many take it on holiday with them? Nine MX-5s from the South West took their banner to bonny Scotland after attending the Spring Rally in Yorkshire. The banner first proved useful to save a parking place for a ‘South Wester’ at the Rally, then went to Carlisle and Arrochar, stopping off at places including Gretna Green, Glen Fruin, Loch Long and Glencoe in the rain and mist. Other locations visited included Inveraray Castle and jail, Loch Lomond, the Mull of Kintyre, the Falkirk Wheel and the northern journey ended just outside Glasgow. In all, the banner (and South West members) covered 1,700 miles.

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In this regular feature we ask area coordinators to give an insight into what the role involves and why they do it. TRACEY SPARLING got the lowdown from the leaders of the Eastern Region which is famous for ‘having more fun.’


ASTERN REGION area coordinators Martin Curtis and Jamie Tink love MX-5s so much that they own 4.3 altogether – yes, one is a third share! As well as owning a stake in Project Merlot – the unmissable Mk1 track car which any ER member can sign up to drive on a circuit – Martin has a 2002 Mk2.5 Sport in Racing Green Mica and a Mk1 1.8 in white with black stripes just for fun. Jamie’s love for the MX-5 also goes into multiple figures. He owns a Mk1 1.8 and a Mk2 1.8, both in red, and added with a smile: “Do they make any other colours?” Between them they drive forward the momentum which Geoff Walton set in motion, when he seized the wheel as AC back in the early 2000s to revitalise the Area. When he emigrated to Australia five years later, Martin, who was joint AC at the time, steered a similar course. Martin, from Ipswich in Suffolk, is also the Club’s communications team leader and works full time as a building designer so in late 2008 he invited fellow ‘car nut’ Jamie from Norwich in Norfolk to share the AC role. As well as splitting the workload, this arrangement helps ensure a good spread of contacts, events and pub meetings across the two counties. The Area also includes north Essex, and Cambridgeshire where Darren Wragg coordinates the monthly meets and events, so ER members can dip in and out across the area and many do. Martin, 48, said: “I joined the Club in July 2003, as I was getting a lot of pleasure out of the Club so I thought it would be a good idea to put some back – that may be a cliché but it’s true – and I enjoyed getting involved so why not? I’m not usually one to volunteer for anything but something about the Eastern Region was different, and it was worth it. “I think it’s fun, and being the AC is right at the sharp pointy end of the fun!” Most of the role is about communication to keep members informed, and also coordination to make sure people, cars, banners and gazebos etc all end up in the right place at the right time. Martin achieves this feat fairly unobtrusively, so that most members think it all happened by happy coincidence. He admits his Club work takes ‘ages and ages’ to do, and wife Sharon loses him to the computer on most evenings as he answers emails and solves Forum problems. Martin, said: “She thinks it’s a real pain but puts up with it as she knows it’s become important to me.” Eastern Region is home to Constable Country, The Broads, scenic Cambridge and many beautiful coastal locations. Members enjoy a packed programme of events including tech days, treasure hunts,


The ‘F’ word “Those who know me best, will know how I agonise over Club stuff but I try very hard not to let that show.”

It’s good to talk: Jamie Tink and Martin Curtis (right) say communication is the key. special is simply living up to our motto ‘Have More Fun!’ The most rewarding feeling is when you see that the sun is shining on the for £400 d raise bers mem n Regio rn morning of the event you have Having more fun: Easte r. mbe Septe in Day Gala olk Help for Heroes at the Norf spent weeks planning! Having more fun and helping others to have more fun, is what it’s all about.” motorsport and scenic drives. They also His memorable moments include the make an occasion of the Spring Rally by National Rally 2008 at Belvoir Castle: “Try sharing accommodation and Martin as I might, something I will never forget is particularly enjoyed exploring the routes Robbie Marsh impersonating Robbie across the Yorkshire Moors this year. Williams at the hog roast! Plus I enjoyed Le Jamie, 36, works as an examiner for the Mans last year and the Silverstone Classic Vehicle and Operator Services Agency for the first time this year, both brilliant.” (VOSA) where rules and standards have to So how do they work together as joint be adhered to, so he loves being able to play ACs? Martin said: “Communication is vital. with cars in his spare time. It’s not always easy to stay completely in He said: “For me, what makes our Area tune with each other, but we do try, and we

Pictures: JON ELSEY

The fun factor is what Eastern Region has become famous for!

haven’t had any rows yet! “We do have different styles, at least I think so; Jamie is super-efficient and that was part of the reason why he was invited to be joint AC. I try to be as laid back as possible, but rest assured, underneath I have my finger on the pulse! “Those who know me best, will know how I agonise over Club stuff but I try very hard not to let that show. I like to think I have an eye for detail and even the simplest event needs careful planning, yet having said that, Eastern events are often complimented on their laid back nature.” Jamie agreed: “Communication is the key. I think that having a master plan without appearing too organised, is very important. I guess I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I do tend to check and double check, but there are plenty of things I am still learning! I am lucky that my wife Claire is very much involved in the Club and very supportive.” Martin and Jamie aim to keep growing the Eastern Region’s membership. Martin said: “It’s not the ‘be all and end all’ but I believe its a measure of success. I do keep tabs on the Eastern Region size and we do keep growing in membership against an overall Club membership that’s pretty stable. We held a ‘meet the members’ night recently which attracted many new faces so we may repeat that. “The reason for the success must be that people hear about us and want to get involved, or because they stay on as members year after year, because we get it right – usually.”

Eastern Region meetings Suffolk: The Manger, Bradfield Combust near Bury St Edmunds, first Wednesday of every month 8pm.

Norfolk: The Countryman, Tasburgh on the A140 south of Norwich, third Wednesday of every month, 8pm. Cambridgeshire: The Old Ferry Boat, Holywellon the second Tuesday of every month, 8pm.

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Babbs bows out Chairman stands down after bringing in new structure By GRAEME BABBS


HAVE been Chairman of this Club for two years and it has been a great privilege to hold the position. I always intended to stay for this long, first to design and implement the restructuring, then to see it through to stability. In many ways it has worked very well and in others it hasn’t, but I still feel that we are in a much better position than we were. We now have a system where seven people make the strategic plans and fulfil the legal obligations of running a limited company, while the Support Group are left to do what they volunteered for – to give the Club the benefit of their knowledge and expertise in a specific area. I believe that any changes needed now will be in the form of tweaking rather than a major overhaul. It is up to the next Chairman to do that – or indeed to shape things differently, for they have carte blanche to do that.

“The strength of this Club is also its vulnerability: it is run by volunteers.” There have been some problems with communication between the Club Management Team (CMT) and the Support Team and many of those were my fault. I tend to differentiate between “need to know” and “want to know” without fully appreciating that the two can be equally important. We lost a huge amount of experience from the committee when Vanessa Batup, Gillian Fearon, Gerry Nicholls and Clive and Madeline Marshall stepped down. While my tenure was described by one of them as “the changing of the guard”, there was still plenty that the old guard could have taught the new. But such is the calibre of the members that when we faced problems, they came back and helped steady the ship. Then we had new enthusiastic people join us: Katie Pyle as Secretary, Tracey Sparling and Jon Elsey with Soft Top Hardtop, Iain Fleming with Graphics and Peter Jakeways with Events.

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In the second year, an anniversary fell: 15 years of the Club and 20 years of the car. We decided to have an organising committee to promote the events of this year. We had several false starts and ‘staff changes’ but the group pulled together and organised an anniversary rally at Mallory Park and organised a raffle of a Mk1 MX-5. We found that the scale of the raffle meant that we had to be licensed by the UK Gaming Commission (not just the local council in the promoter’s home town). We had to submit our full financial accounts and ticket artwork to them. The promoter even had to be checked by the Criminal Records Bureau. The strength of this Club is also its vulnerability: it is run by volunteers. The reward for a post in this Club is pretty much a free membership and a badge. It’s not something you do for the money (there isn’t any). It’s certainly not something you do for political power or status (there isn’t any). It’s something you do because you feel you have the experience, ideas, and time to help to make things better. As expectations among the members rise, the number of people who can rally to the flag falls and yet people keep emailing or phoning saying “I’m a such-and-such by trade. I can help you”. When I arrive at an event, I am always taken aback by what I see. Everything that is there – traders, marquees, you – is there because someone gave up their own time to make it happen. There is no ‘Sir Fred’ at the top raking off thousands, there is no professional HR team or communications department. There are 20 or so people who feel that the Club could be a better thing for their being involved. We expect a professionally-run organisation from people who also have paid jobs to do. When things don’t go to plan, we should remember that. It is time for me to return to being ‘an ordinary member’ who can just turn up and not make speeches, but when I see the next person making a speech I’ll remember the sleepless nights (yes there was more than one), or the sheer panic that it might all go wrong or the total fatigue that envelops you after each event. Yes, I’ll feel proud that I was Chairman of this Club, but most of all, I’ll feel grateful that I was surrounded by people of this calibre. Happy motoring.

Five h DAVID CRITCHLEY from Merseyside tells the story of his succession of six MX-5s – three of which he has driven to Italy on holiday.


EN years ago, my wife’s perplexed comment was: “So let me see if I’ve got this right… you’re about to stand in the magistrates’ court to try and explain why you should be allowed to keep your licence so to help lend weight to your plea of becoming a reformed character you have gone out and bought a two-seater sports car?” She added as an afterthought, “in bright red!” This was indeed the case. However she was missing the point, but then so had I, for far too long with my succession of hot hatchbacks over the years. The important lesson I was about to learn was simply: You don’t need to travel fast to travel fun. The magistrates listened with patience to my presentation, and responded with great kindness to the tune of a fine costing several hundred pounds and six points awarded for an SP50. I’m proud to report that my licence has since remained spotless since that day in 1998, and so the great Mazda adventure was then allowed to begin. The red Mk1 was fitted with a new set of Stealth alloys and driven via Eurotunnel on our annual pilgrimage to Italy. I was soon pretty much besotted with this little jewel of a car. The boot provided sufficient space for three weeks’ luggage (just). On the day we returned home though, souvenir shopping meant that there was considerably more of a struggle to hear that reassuring click as the boot lid closed. It was with some dismay then that we turned to see the hotel proprietor waiting to wave us off, holding

A taste of power steering: The Mk2 in Italy,2000.


has sixappeal Decade of devotion leads to many Italian adventures

Lake First love: The first MX-5, pictured at

Playing it cool in Bavaria: The current model is a 2-litre Sport Coupe with all the‘bells and whistles’on.

out two bottles of home-bottled olive oil as parting gifts. We found room. Next came the black Mk2 1.6 (power steering – whoopee!) and a return to Italy. As to be expected the car performed faultlessly, but mid August hailstones, not an uncommon event in the Veneto, left us with a textured boot and bonnet requiring

some skilful skimming and spraying once back in the UK. Ryanair then took over responsibility for our Italian experiences for several years, but those MX-5 s just kept on coming nonetheless. I popped out to Warrington Motors one afternoon in 2002 for an oil filter and returned having left a deposit on a 1.6 Mk2.5 in silver. This was replaced 18 months later with a 1.8 Cerion Silver Nevada from Bramwell’s in Wigan. Nice car this, but despite the combined efforts of Autoglym and myself we could never really get that blue fabric hood looking its best. Then came the Mk3. To be honest I wasn’t convinced about the shape at first but soon came to my senses and bought an

Shining: A Mk2.5 was the first of three silver MX-5s.

Hood down: The Nevada at Kirkstone Pass,in 2004.

“The important lesson I was about to learn was simply: You don’t need to travel fast to travel fun.”

Garda in 1998.

Gorgeous: The Mk3 1.8 with option pack , 2006. ex-demonstrator from Perry’s in Preston, a silver 1.8 with option pack – gorgeous. Summer 2009 was designated our ‘return to Italy via four wheels year’ and so it was decided that clearly, climate control was a must-have, so on Halloween 2008 we took delivery of a brand new 2.0 Sport Coupe in True Red with all the bells and whistles. Despite living with no spare wheel for two years with the previous car, I had the tyres filled with ‘Protex’ sealant compound before our journey. The route this summer was straightforward enough – the first night spent at St Omer just past Calais, then two nights with German friends in the Pfalzerwald National Park before the ‘Romantisch Strasse’ led us on to Austria’s Brenner Pass for the journey to Lake Garda. Our return trip took in Lake Como, then burrowed beneath Switzerland and up through France to the coast. 24 nights, 2,400 miles in total – fabulous. I can unreservedly recommend most of these roads as truly magnificent driving experiences. Indeed, as the BMW X5s and Porsche Cayennes hurtled out of Munich to pass us at truly suicidal speeds, I couldn’t help but allow a smug grin to cross my face and think to myself – “actually guys, you’re missing the point too!”.

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Yourletters Write to: Editor, STHP, PO Box 1251, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 9LP or email:

Japanese import was a lucky find! Dear Editor, In this anniversary year I thought I would drop you a line about my Eunos Roadster which I purchased in January. I had owned a Mk1 for over four years prior to buying this one. Readers of your excellent magazine do not need to be told about how good they are. We have done three continental trips loaded with luggage on the boot rack – so they are not just for show! As I want to get involved with classic car events again, I went looking for a 20-year-old Eunos (my entries in the former Norwich Union Classic had been in a ‘frog eye’ Sprite and MGB). Among all the rather tired specimens on various websites I found a little gem. I bought the car from GLC Autos in Swansea, which specialises in importing cars from Japan. It was being sold at a winter sale price of under £3,000 – complete with a six-month warranty. It was registered on December 31, 1989 and I believe it had one owner in Japan who covered just 47,000km prior to the car being imported in May 2008 by GLC Autos. It is a red 1.6 with all the extras and, needless to say, everything works! I have had the spotless underside sprayed with oil and injected Dinitrol into the sills to keep it free from rot. Not being fluent in Japanese I cannot read the service sheets

apart from the kilometre reading which confirms the ‘mileage’. It is not my intention to spend lots of money modifying the car which I think is best kept in its original state. The only work I have had done has been to change some hard Bridgestone tyres and renew the rear dampers which seemed to have seized up presumably due to lack of use. This has improved the ride which was rather harsh, compared to my previous 1997 car. It also brought me some unexpected surprises, as follows: ■ Tools still sealed in polythene. ■ An unopened Japanese pinescented air freshener under the passenger seat. ■ A double drinks holder stuck to the top of the dashboard panel. This, fortunately, came unstuck without damage to the holder or panel. ■ A Japanese hazard warning device, mounted in the passenger footwell, which resembles a firework which you ignite and stick in the ground should you break down at night. This shows no sign of ever being used! We have just completed a 2,000km trip to Scotland (with luggage on the rack) and appreciate that fact that we had a faultless performance from the classic Eunos. The tools, air freshener, drinks holder and firework were not needed! Happy motoring – zoom zoom!

This low miler won biker’s heart The Letters page has shown MX-5s still going strong after many miles, but here’s something completely different.

Dear Editor, I have just brought a 1997 1.8iS which has done 7,085 miles from new. It’s had one owner and been on SORN for years – I thought it might be the basis for a slot in the mag. I am a 65-year OAP, ex born-again biker who likes doing eBay. I retired at 58 and had a double heart bypass at that age. I used to have ten bikes including a Vincent but sold them all to get a Eunos a few years ago. Then I sold the Eunos and went to an SLK but missed the MX-5 and now this has come along. What could be a better car?

Geoff and Lesley Elliott

Colin Leslie, Ware.

Fellow owners’golfing get together Dear Editor I am a member of the Milton Keynes area, and I work at Woburn Golf Club which has three unique and wonderful championship golf courses. I would like to ask if any other MX-5 owner would like the opportunity to play here, making a society if we get

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enough players, or groups of four, at possibly a reduced rate, with accommodation nearby if required. If anybody is interested please email me at for further information. Kind regards, Pam Mundy


New workshop for rust buster


Your say on the new Mk3 facelift

Dear Editor, Firstly I’d like to thank all involved with the article on rusty sills in August’s issue of Soft Top Hardtop. To see my own work published in this way truly was fantastic. However just about the time the magazine came out, a few factors made me decide it was time to move on, and it didn’t take long for me to find the perfect place. I am now based at workshops on the outskirts of Wymondham near Norwich, working alongside Phil at RPS Workshops who has over 20 years’ relevant experience. My enthusiasm… restored! My new contact details are: workshop 01953 606090, mobile 07847 287447. Many thanks, Jason Mills (Club Forum alias Jaseface)

New aggressive styling goes down well: The Mk3 facelift has won the hearts of many members.

Vote of thanks after wallet lost Dear Editor, We can all probably appreciate the hassle of losing a wallet or purse, having to cancel credit cards, obtaining a new driving licence, losing that list of important contacts... and in this case, a military ID card as well. So it was with surprise that one Tuesday morning I received a call from our OC membership secretary to be informed that my wallet had been found on the road. As a result of seeing my MX-5 Owners Club membership card, a kind person called the number on the front to leave their details. The wallet was returned the following morning. Until the call, I was unaware that I was missing said wallet, and then recalled where I had seen it last – sitting on the roof of the car where I had placed it. I had been trying to get into the passenger seat using two crutches, following a recent sporting accident. From losing the wallet to receiving the initial phone call, took all of 20 minutes – now that’s what I call a fast recovery! My sincere appreciation goes to Mattie Whyman. Thank you very much for your diligence. Cheers,

So what’s your opinion of the facelifted Mk3? Does the new model have more cosmetic upgrades than under-the-bonnet improvements? We asked you to write in with your thoughts. “I was amazed how good it was on small twisty roads. I was worried that it would be big and bloated but it didn’t feel that way at all. It did give you a slight feeling of being wrapped up in cotton wool because everything was just that little bit smoother than my Mk1 (especially as I have stiffer suspension on it), and quieter. Overall I liked it. “I was immediately able to start having fun with it on the road and felt confident to do so. It is a cliché but I suppose you could say that the MX-5 has grown up without losing its sense of fun.” Peter Esders. “What a lovely, willing engine. The chassis and suspension were also a revelation after my Mk1. “The extra weight and size was not the handicap I anticipated, and this new model handles corners and roundabouts with poise, praise, and pleasure. “This is an easy yet

rewarding vehicle to drive. “I found the average fuel consumption, better than 37mpg, very impressive for a 2-litre. This is a brilliant car if you discount the paddle levers and fiddly cruise control buttons. “Thanks to Magna Motors Poole for a very enjoyable and enlightening experience.” David Russell, Wessex Area. “The availability was awful initially but I was warned that they wouldn’t be generally available very quickly. For the particular model in the colour I wanted, there was only one in the country – a demo model in a showroom somewhere else. “Now I’ve finally got my copper red 2.0i Sport Tech coupe. Can you believe that, in my 70th year and having taken delivery of numerous new cars in the past, I couldn‘t sleep properly for thinking about it? I was just like a kid waiting for Christmas Day. “But then the dealer

ordered the wrong car! They ordered a soft top instead of a hardtop. This gem of maladministration was revealed to me a couple of days before the promised delivery date (July 28). So I had to wait yet again, and my nerves were in shreds. “There was not another copper red Sport Tech hardtop in the country (they said), so I had to await the next shipment from Japan and it arrived on August 7. “Outside, the most obvious difference is its bigger gob or, more politely, the depth of the radiator grille. Inside there’s very little change in appearance. The heater controls have got a bit of silver around them and there are cruise control knobs on the steering wheel. The driving seat feels harder and grips you a bit more around the hips.” Fred Godson, Tyne Tees. Some South East members attended a special event which offered 35-minute passenger rides with Mazda driver Simon Poole. Canterbury Mazda also gave them a 10 per cent discount on their next service. Several Club members displayed their MX-5s at the dealership for a weekend, and were given courtesy cars.

Chris Player

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This year’s Classic had winning formula

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Stars flocked to motorsport date for feast of nostalgia The Silverstone Classic is fast becoming a major date in the MX-5 Owners Club calendar, with our stand being one of the biggest on site. The weekend of classic car racing drew hundreds of Club members to the Northamptonshire home of British motorsport. TRACEY SPARLING reports.


ITH sunny weather on the Saturday, this July weekend was packed with on-track action. More than 600 cars and 900 drivers took part in 21 races in celebration of over 90 years of racing and progress in automobile technology. Off track, this was also one of the UK’s biggest gatherings for classic car clubs, with 80 displays from Ferraris to Corvettes and Triumph Stags – as well as MX-5s. The Silverstone Classic also saw over 65,000 visitors flock through the gates

which was the highest number recorded since the event’s beginnings five years ago. Nearly a century of racing’s finest provided plenty of adrenaline-fuelled action: from rare Heskeths battling for the trophy in the Grand Prix Masters race, to the unique short wheel base Ferrari GT ‘Breadvan’, winner of the pre-’63 GT race. Gentleman Drivers’ AC Cobras chased after Jaguar E-Types, and four decades of touring cars took to the GP circuit. It was a rare chance to see what could be considered to be museum pieces taking to the prestigious circuit and racing nose to tail for the delight of new generations of people to enjoy. Bonhams’ motorsport auction was also a runaway success, with every lot sold from the Brawn GP and Jaguar Heritage collections, and over £750,000 raised. Some Continued over

Famous faces:(From top) Sir Stirling Moss,ex BTCC star Anthony Reid,Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon, US racing legend Bobby Rahal,Mark Knopfler, Murray Walker and Chris Rea all attended.

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From previous page items went for what could be considered by enthusiasts, as bargain prices. Music concerts were included in entry prices, and saw boy band Blue share the outdoor stage with Pussycat Dolls on the Friday night. Saturday saw another concert, this time by Carlos Santana and it was his only UK date. It followed a full day’s racing, just after the Masters Sports Cars dusk race. There were also air displays by aerobatic teams, stalls with art, antiques and automobilia, and a Victorian funfair. Celebrities were drawn to the event including famous faces such as Sir Stirling Moss, Mark Knopfler, Chris Rea and US racing legend Bobby Rahal who all took part in some of the races. But they were not the only stars of the show. MX-5 Owners Club members were privileged to the lead the car clubs’ parade laps during the Sunday lunchtime break from racing. The 15/20 raffle car headed off in pole position, carrying a huge advert for the charity raffle and many tickets were sold from the Club stand. Three Soft Top Hardtop competition winners had received free pairs of weekend tickets and many members stayed for the whole weekend. National events organiser Peter Jakeways said: “I believe that despite the problems with the ticket bookings, this year’s Classic was a success. We had one of the largest plots of all the car clubs, which accommodated 40 cars on Friday, 93 on Saturday and 64 on Sunday.” Participant Phil Holloway said: “My wife Sue and I thoroughly enjoyed our weekend. “The event offered a good mix of racing through the ages, a wide selection of owners clubs displaying some

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Launch of new motorsport website THE weekend also saw the launch of the new British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) website and BRDC Prints at, an online store of the best images in the Club’s archive. The BRDC, based at Silverstone, has a wealth of history, much of it previously unseen, in its extensive archive and prints are now available to the public, ranging in price from £6 to £330. BRDC secretary Stuart Pringle said: “This is an extremely exciting time for the Club as we develop our interactive relationship with our members, and the wider motorsport community. We will continue to develop both sites and add more content over the coming months.”

wonderful vehicles, some interesting trade stalls and of course some good company. Saturday was a particularly good day, if rather long as we were at the circuit for 8.30am and did not leave until 11pm. “This consisted of a full programme of racing, including the evening race followed by a superb concert by Santana. So I think we can safely say we will be back for 2010.” This event is fast becoming a firm fixture in the Club’s summer calendar and the provisional dates for the next Silverstone Classic weekend are July 23 to 25.

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Some people never change Time to reflect for longserving members During this anniversary year, TRACEY SPARLING tracked down some of the longest-standing MX-5 Owners Club members (after the founders) and asked what the Club has brought to their lives. Why are they still members and what would they recommend so that the Club has at least another 15 successful years?

Loyal 30: The longest serving Club members membership number


Paul and Jayne Grogan



Tim Robinson



Steve Barnard


Stewart Rendell


Ian Houston



Alan Capell



Bob Hill



Colin Bailey



Steve Watkins



Andrew Dobberson



Catherine Pearson



Rod Grainger



Paul Kenyon


5 14


John Wilson

005: STEVE BARNARD from Eastern


Trevor Collins

Region is the longest-standing member and his car has been on the Club’s register longer than any other. When he and wife Jackie joined in 1994, they chose membership number 5 rather than 3. When I first set eyes on a Miata while on holiday in California (before they launched in the UK), the car was so hot, America had gone berserk for it. Along had come this dinky little Japanese car which was so different to what the Americans were used to, and it epitomised the UK sports car. It seemed to be quite unusual for the Americans to love a non-US car so much. I think it just captured their imagination. So, in California, we were sitting outside having breakfast, when a blue Miata went past with two young girls in it – I couldn’t stop staring but it wasn’t at the girls! I used my inheritance money to order an MX-5 from our local Mazda dealer in Enfield but none were available until July 1990 – and only in red. I wanted blue so I managed to get the dealer’s order changed, which may make my car the first blue one in the UK. I bought it without having even test driven an MX-5 – as there were none in the country to test drive at the time! I couldn’t get a penny off the price – I did well to get the car when I did. I was in the motor trade working for Volvo at the time,


Clive Southern



Cedric Waite



Ian MacArthur



Anthony Greenaway



James Roberts



Jacqueline Smith



Pauline Green



Nicholas Tozer



Chris Hall



Sue Duncan



Bruce Hamilton



Chris Veysey



Martin Richards


29 30

Barrie March Bryan Oliver

171 359

Then and now: Steve never dreamed he would still be a Club member in 2009!

91 114

starting it up. I remember the first ever event at Billing Aquadrome with 24 cars and that really was amazing to see so many MX-5s together in the UK. Jill Hunt had even had hers painted purple to match her favourite nightie! There were some real characters. We went to so many events that first year and made many new friends. We all just wanted to go out and play with our cars and the social side was superb. There

and drove it on dealer plates until August so I could get H5 MXV as my numberplate. We used to have such fun driving it, turning heads and you could see people asking, ‘Wow what’s that?’ as you whizzed past. There was such an aura about it, like no other car before and since. We were members of the Miata Club of America first, and went to Gold Rush, a big Continued over national event run by the north California chapter in the early 1990s. Everything was done by post in those days so we heard about the events through the US club magazine and they adopted us, particularly a lady called Bonnie Lutz who had six MX-5s. They hired us a white MX-5 when we went over there. I was forever sending off for stuff like headrest speakers, through the US club, but you had to send a letter off then await a reply, as there was no email then, just faxes. We’d had the car for four years before we came out of the wilderness car The : UK? and Paul Grogan and Tim Robinson First Mariner Blue MX-5 in the Hillclimb: Steve Barnard prepares for a tered in August. run at Prescott. set up the Club. They and Jayne pictured in July 1990 before it was regis (Grogan) really put their all into

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earlymembers From previous page was a phase when we all got Tamiya radio control MX-5s, which was fun! I organised the Club’s first motorsport event, a visit to hillclimb venue Prescott. We also went to Brooklands when my car slid sideways down the banking, after I had parked it on the incline to take a picture! I remember Tim and Paul’s panic, when in March 1995, MX-5 fans asked to visit – from all over Europe. The infectious fever for the MX-5 had spread throughout Europe by now. A Dutch chap had faxed all UK Mazda dealers saying there was going to be a mass gathering at a bus car park in Dover, naming it as an official Club event. Fifty cars from Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany were expected. At the time we had just 60 members and although that fax showed the spontaneity of it all, Paul and Tim feared the police would intervene due to the sheer scale of things. We attended the UK launch of the California limited edition, where celebrity guest Honor Blackman split her trousers while posing with the yellow MX-5! Mazda was very supportive at the start and Tim and Paul were very switched on, knowing how to get what they wanted, and not be in the manufacturer’s pockets. It was clear even at that early stage that the car was going to be a ‘stayer’. I was never going to use mine that much but when we did, it was often for big trips of thousands of miles to Scotland and Europe. It’s amazing to see how the Club has developed, and I never thought it would grow quite like it did. We used to attend everything for a couple of years, but when Paul and Tim handed over the reins, that was a pivotal time for us too. We started to back off a bit and spent many years with North Thames before moving to Suffolk and being with Eastern Region but we don’t know many members any more. The main reason that I’ve stayed with the Club, apart from my love for the car, is the insurance scheme. Our travels have taken us to Cyprus, Mauritius as well as California, and Jackie says ‘I’m not sure we have holidays but we do have car chasing trips!’ I admit we once chased an MX-5 in a hire car for 20 miles!

015: IAIN HOUSTON from South West Midlands is a keen racing driver from Herefordshire, who crashed his first MX-5 but the car protected him. He always knew he would stay a fan of the racy roadster for a long time.

in his Sprint finish: Iain Houston competing

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The personal touch: Even back in 1994 many members wanted to modify their cars,with performance or cosmetic additions – check out the teddy bear alloy wheels and custom paint jobs above. Most parts had to be sourced from the US. My reason for joining was to get access to information about the car. I was also a Miata Club member for the same reason. At the time, there wasn’t a lot of advice on tuning or general modifications and most of the ‘stuff ’ was either American or Japanese. I was also planning on being a long-time Mazda owner and so I wanted access to maintenance data. I bought my first MX-5 new in 1992 and kept it for three years. This car was very reliable but I suffered a ‘hypo’ (I am a type 1 diabetic) while travelling home and passed out at the wheel. Forward progress was prevented by a tree and the car was a writeoff but it protected me. I purchased my current car in 1995 from new. I had decided that I wanted to do some competitive driving. Due to health reasons I was not permitted (at the time) to have a circuit licence, so I took up sprinting. I chose the base model without ABS or radio to minimise weight, took some lessons and set out on my competition career. The Mazda was run in the standard production class up to two litres in the CCC Speed Championship. I fitted a racing seat, full harness, a roll-over bar, 15 x 7ins wheels and Koni adjustable suspension. These were the maximum modifications that I could make and still remain ‘legal’. I won the class in 1998 and 1999. The car was brilliant, we drove to events, emptied all the kit out, took our competitive runs, loaded up and drove home. In three years of competitive driving the car was 100 per cent reliable and I had great fun. I went on to sprint a single-seater and when the MSA changed its stance on diabetic competitors I started circuit racing. I still compete in the Castle Combe Formula Ford 1600 championship driving a Van Diemen RF89. The Mazda was a great training vehicle for racing a Formula Ford – neither seem to relish being driven sideways, opposite locking around a corner is fun but it generally is not the quickest way around a circuit. I wish that I had started racing sooner. It is a brilliant mix of exhilaration and

Fondly remembered: Newbury Mazd a treas

ure hunt.

“I am always astounded at how widespread the ownership extends, from young to old, rich to poor. This has to be the appeal of owning a Five. It seems not to matter what social standing you hold, unlike many other sports cars.” despair... mostly the latter this season! My Mk1 has now done 173,000 miles and still takes me to work efficiently each day. It has always been a working car. Amazingly it is still running with the original battery. I must admit that it has had a hard life and it does feel like a high mile car but I am now planning on bringing her back to a reasonable state of repair. I found the recent article on rusting sills very interesting because to buy a new car raises some problems. I am a Mk1 man so a new Five would be no good; I would like a quicker car (like an Elise) but the reality is that Racer: Iain Houston on the grid at to use any car Castle Combe before a Formula to the Ford race. maximum you

earlymembers need to be on track and I need a good system of transport (not a Lotus then) as well as a fun car. All of these things suggest I should stay with my roadster. I do not get involved with the ‘meetings’ side of the Club. I went on one drive years ago and after 45 minutes of moving the cars around so that they were in the correct colour order I decided that ‘drives’ were not for me. I must say that the track stuff that is offered is good and would attract me if I wasn’t racing. What does stand out in my mind is the Curborough track day. I attended twice and can remember being embarrassed that I beat some of the turbo charged cars but it was really good fun. I would like more technical information in the magazine and maybe more motorsport. Race reports are also good.

018: BOB and PAT HILL, from Wessex area, still hold a passion for the MX-5, and friendships which they made at the outset have kept them renewing their membership ever since. They would like to see better communication, but less emphasis on the internet. Pat and I fell in love with the MX-5 in May 1990 and took delivery of a Classic Red that August, and the car with 103,000 miles on the clock is still on my driveway today. In May 2005 we purchased a Le Mans special edition with 20,000 miles on the clock. To quote headlines from the original MX-5 brochure: ‘The sports car is back’, ‘Exciting and exhilarating with its own unique personality’, ‘Man and machine as one’, ‘Driving is believing’, ‘The enthusiast’s dream realised.’ That’s why we purchased the car and that’s why we joined the Club. Even though we attend regular monthly meetings and events, the Club means less to us today than it did in the early days. Maybe this is because we have seen changes implemented by more recent members that are not to our liking or interest. However we stayed with the Club, because in those early days we made so many friends across the country. From the outset there was a passion and a sense of pride that we had invested in a car that we knew from the start would be ‘a classic’. However we did not appreciate the impact that this little car would have on the rest of the motoring world. The events of those early days stand out in our memories. National rallies were much smaller for obvious reasons, but those who attended were all known members, unlike the rallies of today. Over the years the Club has grown, but not by as much as some of us expected, due mainly to the Club’s failure to retain membership – unlike the MG Owners Club where members stay for many years. Maybe renewal by direct debit or standing order could improve this situation. Also, the Club now puts great emphasis on the Internet and that’s fine if all members were computer literate but sadly that is not the case and a lot of members feel left out. This is not helped by some area coordinators not communicating what has been discussed or suggested in other areas. We do not think the Club needs to change as such, it just needs to be more open and communicate with its membership, and not

Social success: In the early days members enjoyed many days out across the county.

“The Club needs to be more open and communicate with its membership.” such a long time. My car now joins my motorbikes as being more of a hobby than just a means of transport but it has got to the point where I will probably never sell it, and as time goes on I think it is even more important to keep the originality of the car. There cannot be many un-restored 20-yearold MX-5s left in good condition. The car is still a treat to drive on a warm sunny day and it’s the complete opposite to my Mercedes CLK. It seems that as cars get more modern, you become more isolated from the driving experience, yet the Five shows how much fun a lightweight sports car can be. The Club magazine has become very professional over recent years and the current content is spot on, a far cry from the original one-sided photocopies in the early days. For me, reading about the way owners modify their cars is great. Some of the cars featured in the magazine are truly outstanding. The technical features are always well written and give a very good insight into how to maintain the car. I don’t attend many events these days as I always seem to be too busy, plus it always seems to be raining when a local event is on. I used to attend a lot of the meetings in the early days and have some very fond memories especially of a meeting at Brooklands. I use the Forum a lot (my Forum name is FastCol) and find it a great source of information. I spend many a long hour reading the posts, and I also like to view other members’ cars and see how the various modifications work. I am always astounded at how widespread the ownership extends, from young to old, rich to poor. This has to be the appeal of owning a Five, it seems not to matter what social standing you hold, unlike many other sports cars.

rely on the Internet. I think it should elect sub-committee members from the regions (not areas) and make a rule that area coordinators stand for election every two years, and are supervised by the Club.

020: COLIN BAILEY from Northampton area has a passion for bikes as well as MX-5s, but says his 1990 Mk1 is still a treat to drive. To be honest it’s hard to believe that the Club has been going for 15 years, and Soft Top Hardtop’s recent feature about that first meeting at Billing certainly bought back some great memories. Seeing my car in the line up was great. I was also shown in one of the photos listening to Tim and Paul. I still have the same MX-5, a 1990 Classic Red model, which has covered only 37,000 miles in almost 20 years, I bought the car when it was 18 months old and today it is completely original except for a new stainless steel exhaust, fitted this year, several new batteries, one brake line and a new rear spring. Paintwork, interior, wheels and hood are all original, not bad for a car that’s almost two decades old. Still owning an MX-5 has to be my main reason for continuing with the Club for


done 37k mile Stunning: Colin’s 1990 Mk1 that’s only

Continued over

soft top hardtop 39

earlymembers From previous page


Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, for the young patients to enjoy. Then in March 1996, along with 24 other members, I had the thrill of driving my Mk1 around the Goodwood circuit on a track day, after first being taken around by a qualified instructor. The annual Newbury Mazda Treasure Hunt and barbecue meetings where we met up with old friends and made new ones over the years, also bring back happy memories. I am not such an active member now, but keep up to date via the excellent magazine (I have every copy from the very first newsletter) and I plan to remain a member of the Club for a very long time.

“From the outset there was a passion and a sense of pride that we had invested in a car that we knew from the start would be ‘a classic’.”

South Central has been very attached to all her MX-5s ever since achieving her ambition to own one, in 1994 – and her cake decorating feats became famous in Club circles. I took delivery of my first MX-5, a Red 1.6 in January 1994. I joined the new MX-5 Owners Club soon after and have subsequently had the joy of owning four more – a Mk2 1.8iS in Racing Bronze, two show for four years, as well as quite a few Mk2.5 1.8i Sports in Crystal Blue and autotests/gymkhanas at national rallies. Splash Green and currently my beautiful Along with 218 MX-5s, we went to the Isle Mk3 2l Niseko special edition. of Man in 2000 – a great all-round event Club events of the early days which 115: CLIVE SOUTHERN from North that lasted a whole week with something stand out in my memory include my very East Midlands can often be found different every day, arranged by Allan and first Club meeting in April 1995. I attended welcoming members to rallies and Joy Legg (ACs for Wessex). The highlight the third ever Club event with my husband helping organise the parking – which is was to drive over the mountain on a Christopher, and it was a weekend away no different from the early days! In his Saturday afternoon, with the road closed to including a visit to the Haynes Motor role as exhibitions officer, enthusiastic traffic coming the other way! I hope we can Museum at Sparkford near Yeovil. On the Clive even organised Club stands at 12 do this event again some day. drive from Esher, we met up with others in events in one year. We have also enjoyed European trips to Solihull and drove in convoy to our hotel, We bought our MX-5 Le-Mans new in 1991 Bruges twice, the Netherlands, Germany the Half Moon Inn in Mudford. I parked my (see page 18) so my first vote of thanks goes twice and Italy for three weeks (only three car last in a line of 12, behind the pub. We to Mazda for cars this time) passing through France and enjoyed a social producing a real Switzerland – loads of fun in the Fives. evening with Tim, winner. One side to the Club which I have really Paul and Jayne as On buying the car, I enjoyed, has been getting involved and well as the other searched for a club for helping at any events where I can. In March MX-5 enthusiasts. MX-5s but there was 1996, Maureen and myself started the Imagine my nothing until I was North East Midlands area which has grown surprise and dismay given Paul Grogan’s from nine members at the first meeting to the next morning contact details in approximately 250 helpful and friendly when we discovered February 1995. members. We have travelled to many other that my side window Paul, Tim and areas and been welcomed into their fold. had been broken Jayne brought us all Also over the years it’s been a pleasure during the night by together, so my not only to help on the national committee vandals! However the second thanks goes to but also some of the roles I have Club’s founders them. I said I was volunteered for: in November 1996 I took ’s Club the for e mad cake ’s Fast food: Catherine immediately came to interested in helping over regalia sales until March 1998 during rally. nal first annivesary at the 1995 natio the rescue by making to move the Club several phone calls forward, and in and later Tim and March 1995, they invited Maureen and Jayne accompanied us to the local Mazda myself onto the ‘committee’. dealer in Yeovil for help, while Paul set off We met at Paul’s house at least every with the others for the museum visit. The three months to discuss how we could camaraderie we experienced, was the start help increase membership and move the of a long and happy association with the Club forward. We also offered help to our MX-5 Owners Club. area coordinators – what an enthusiastic I later had the challenge of making and bunch they have been over the years, decorating a cake, in the shape of an MX-5, arranging meetings, and running events. red with black interior, for both the first When we joined the Club there were and second national rallies. They were later just over 100 members in the UK, about donated to the children’s wards at six Areas had been formed, and the numbers were growing fast. The first major event we attended was the Committed to the Club: Clive and Mau reen Southern. National Rally on September 17, 1995, at the Land Rover Social Club in Solihull, thanks to Paul who worked there at that which time I was able to establish a good time. Around 145 cars attended – I relationship with a small local company, remember the number as I was from which I could collect garments and volunteered to help park the cars and post them out to members. Maureen to help welcome members into In February 2000 while on the new the large marquee. What an initiation for committee I was occasionally approached us that was. by members with questions, ideas and Other events we fondly remember were suggestions. I felt the real link between the Mazda dealer days at Newbury, members and those who ran the Club was Coventry, and Peter Hawke in our hardworking area coordinators, so I Huddersfield. I am sure there were suggested a new role be created, called area others but these were the ones where we coordinator liaison. I did this new role met and made many friends, who we still until 2001. I arranged two meetings each meet up with now. year where not only did we have an agenda I’ve also enjoyed track days like but also a chance for the ACs to air their Curborough, which I arranged for nine views. It was up to me to help decide the years. I also organised the Club’s best course of action. Some members asked Five. t lates her is ko Nise ’s MX number five: Catherine participation at the Silverstone Trax why they had to travel so far to their

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“The committee needs new blood and fresh ideas. Rallies are becoming stale – if I didn’t enjoy meeting up with old friends I probably wouldn’t bother going now.

The class of ’97: Photo call for the 1997 coordinators’ meeting, back row, Clive Southern, Paul Kenyon, Martyn Ryan, Stewart Rendall, Andrew Fearon, Peter Darling, Gill Whitlow, Mark Weymouth. Front row, Maxine Jarvis, Steve Watkins, Tony Pearce, Alan Capell, Helen Shea, Hamish McLean, Andy Whitlow, and Lynn Maddox.

The Winter Weekends were also very good social events – either at Stow-on–theWold, or somewhere in the Midlands. I have been to all the national rallies except one and in my opinion, one of the best was at Stratford-Upon-Avon many years ago. I led a few good drives down to Brighton, and went to Skye and Ullapool for Scottish events organised by Angus Anderson. I have been on many track days, including Goodwood, plus Donington and Knockhill. I also went to Japan with some Club members for the car’s tenth anniversary – that was a memorable occasion. Over the

meetings, and with people asking to become ACs and start new areas, we introduced new areas using postcodes. Occasionally I would be invited to an area’s local or planning meeting. I always found the meetings beneficial and helpful in terms of passing ideas on to other areas. On a couple of occasions I was joined by our then Club chairman Allan Legg. I had (in 2000) arranged for our Club to have a display of cars at the Sportscar Show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), which is no longer held unfortunately. However it was such a success that I asked the NEC if we would be allowed to exhibit at the Classic Car Show held every year. They offered us space for three cars so we sourced marquees, carpet tiles, barrier ropes, tables and chairs, a small TV showing Club events, flags and poles etc. It was so popular that we had two more marquees made which enabled us to do shows from the South coast to Southport. In the first year I did five shows which grew to 12 in 2005. I enjoyed every minute of it. My third thanks goes to the many friends that we have made in the Club. I got involved because I enjoy meeting people who share our common interest. A Club role takes time and it’s not always a bed of roses, but the benefits we get from the effort we put in, far outweigh any negative moments. May we all enjoy many more happy motoring years in our MX-5s!

201: SUE DUNCAN from Oxford area, is a familiar face at many Club events. As well as national events she attends meetings in Oxford, West London, Hemel and Wessex. However she thinks the Club leadership needs new blood, and rallies would benefit from fresh ideas. I joined in May 1995 when I got my first MX-5 (a California). The Club allowed me to meet up with other owners and it was a great treat to chat to other California drivers. As long as I have an MX-5 I will stay in the Club. The Club was much smaller in the early days and because of it we made longstanding friendships. I used to go to events all over the place especially the very active South East area where Maxine Jarvis was area coordinator. At that time the Club held lots of runs, treasure hunts, but not so Dedication: Sue Duncan with her prize many pub meetings. d Le Mans. My first national rally was the inaugural event in a marquee at Land Rover in 1995. I liked to see what other Club members had years I have driven MX-5s in Australia, done to their cars. The first modification Japan, California, and all over Europe. which I made to mine was to change the I have owned three MX-5s. As well as my dials to yellow. California, I bought a Mk2.5 yellow 1.8 I then fell in love with a Jackson Racing Arizona in 2002, and got a 1991 Le Mans in exhaust which I had heard on another car, 2004. For 18 months I had all three cars, and I had to have that. finally trading in the Arizona for a yellow I enjoyed the first Newbury Mazda Honda S2000. I then sold the California in Treasure Hunt so much that I have been to 2006. I only own the Le Mans now. every one since, even this year’s revival at The Club has obviously got bigger over Maidenhead. the years but the format hasn’t changed a lot. There are more areas and more pub meetings. I think committee (management team) members should only be on the team for a set time, three years or so, and then stand down. The committee needs new blood and fresh ideas. Rallies are becoming stale – if I didn’t enjoy meeting up with old friends I probably wouldn’t bother going now. Also the Club needs to improve the image of the MX-5, which is seen as slow and people think that owners never put their roofs down!

in 1996. Polished performance: Visit to Autoglym

■ Thanks to Steve and Clive for lending Soft Top Hardtop their photo albums.

soft top hardtop 41


Read all about it From humble beginnings, Soft Top Hardtop has kept members informed for 15 years How it all started: Paul Grogan and Tim Robinson produced this doublesided newsletter about forthcoming activities and events.

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

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Volume 4

Volume 5


Volume 6

Volume 10

Volume 7

Volume 8


to a massive 88 pages. Editors have included Paul Grogan and Tim Robinson, Allan Legg, Helen Knott, Clive Marshall and Tracey Sparling. The new editor will be Sharon Down. Soft Top Hardtop remains the only Club communication which reaches all members – and which every member can be a part of by sending in contributions. Looking back, past issues form a historical archive of what’s happened in the Club, and in future it could chart the evolution of the MX-5 into a true classic.

OFT TOP HARDTOP is the thread which draws the MX-5 Owners Club together – across all geographical and social boundaries. Even in today’s Internet-obsessed, twitter and texting world, members still like to hear the magazine drop through their letterbox and rip open the packaging to read the pages dedicated to their favourite car. From its humble beginnings as an A4 newsletter (left) in 1994, the magazine has developed under five editorships

Volume 12

Volume 13

Volume 14

Volume 15

Volume 9

Volume 11

Volume 16

soft top hardtop 43


Do the white

When he saw this white wonder in the showroom, Darren Mooney just had to bu

44 soft top hardtop


buy it – and then start working to improve it!


HAD intended only to buy some clear indicator lenses for my partner Louise’s Eunos Roadster, as she had admired them at the National Rally the previous year. I did buy those at the Mazda specialist, but came out with a new project as well! I always have a look around the forecourt and I always stop at the white ones, as my previous Five was white, and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. On this day there was a white Japanese R2 limited edition that caught my eye. I went into the accessory shop and bought the clear lenses I had gone there for and had a chat with the manager about the R2. It turned out that although it wasn’t perfect, he had seen it when it was originally imported in 2002, but sold it to an elderly couple. As all the servicing had been done there, he had kept his eye on it just in case they decided to sell it in the future.


te thing

When DARREN MOONEY visited his local MX-5 dealer in March, he went home with more than he bargained for. Here’s the story of his new Mazda, which proves that while a leopard cannot change its spots, a tiger can change its stripes!

Name: Darren Mooney Occupation: Sales manager for Tarmac Ltd Lives: Biddulph, Stoke on Trent Area: North East Midlands Forum Alias: Darren M The car came back in February, but unfortunately he wasn’t in a position to buy it for himself, so he bought it back into the garage to sell on. It needed a few jobs doing but I managed to be in the right place at the right time it seemed. The deal was done, the garage took my old Five, which had won second place in the Best Kept competition at the National Rally last year, and sold it within two days. I was off to spend more time in my own garage with a new project. It all started with a good cleaning session, to see what I had to work Continued over

white dials Gleaming: Stainless steel surround and

were added.

soft top hardtop 45


Suspending belief: White wishbones.

Technical specification Exterior: Front fog lights, mesh grille, Mazda mudflaps, white side markers and indicator lenses, clear front indicator and sidelight lenses, polished Eunos badge. Stainless steel boot rack.

Interior: Red leather seats with Roadster script, chrome style bars, start button, white dials, various chrome accessories and trim. Original R2 Limited floor mats. Polished alloy gear knob and handbrake lever. Original Japanese specification flare. Engine: Standard Mazda 1.8i, Pipercross induction kit. Painted rocker cover, exhaust heat shield and inlet manifold.

Transmission: Lightened flywheel and 4.3:1 limited slip differential.

Suspension: Standard R2 Limited suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers and Mazda strut brace. Exhaust: I L Motorsports polished stainless steel single outlet cat back exhaust.

Wheels: Five spoke 6J X 15 limited edition alloy wheels fitted with 195/50 VR 15 Yokohama S306 tyres.

Brakes: Standard discs with EBC brake pads cleaned and painted with Hammerite silver!

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From previous page with, and she wasn’t too bad. The worst parts were extensive rusting to the suspension components, lots of door dings, and staining to the engine bay paintwork. The interior wasn’t too bad, but a little dull with some scuffing to the leather on the bolster of the seats. I love music and the outdated radio cassette player was the first thing to go. I replaced this with a Kenwood iPod-ready CD/radio head unit and a Mutant amplifier mounted on the bulkhead behind the passenger seat. Then it was time to brighten up the interior with chromed eyeball vents and rings, stainless steel instrument surround and white dials, stainless steel heater control trims and a style bar. I repaired the scuffing to the seats using some leather care chemicals I found in an advertisement in a car magazine. The white and blue stripes on the style bar are in memory of my previous two Mk1s. There were also some stickers on the rear panel, which were tiger paw prints added by an owner in Japan – they are on the photos I have of the car in the East. I soon realised why they hadn’t been removed in England as I ended up rubbing them off with wet and dry paper and repainting the rear panel. But this gave the car her name Tiggy! Under the bonnet, I started by pressure washing the engine bay, to get rid of all the

In Japan: The tiger stickers are just visib


“I am very pleased with the results, it’s amazing what you can do with a Dremel and patience!.” thick dirt. This still left a lot of staining to the paintwork and I’m afraid it was a case of lots of polish, sore fingers and scuffed knuckles to clean it properly, and it is still a work in progress. Then to freshen up the engine bay a bit more, I fitted an induction kit and painted the cam cover, heat shield and inlet manifold with some heat resistant paint. I have just added a Mazda strut brace to the car too, which should have been on the car originally, but wasn’t for some reason. The wheels were very badly chipped and


scuffed in a few places, and the plan was to have them professionally refurbished but I decided to have a go myself and I am very pleased with the results. It’s amazing what you can do with a Dremel and patience! The suspension was a challenge, as it was quite rusty but covered in Waxoyl which is a filthy job to remove. I first took it all to pieces and wire-brushed, sanded and even in some places used an angle grinder to make it all ready for painting. I was going to paint the wishbones silver instead of the standard black, and the shock absorbers yellow as they were originally, but I had a tin of white Hammerite in the garage and Louise suggested I give it a go with the white as I could always change it. As you can see on the photos, I didn’t change it, I love it. It takes some keeping clean, but it looks great underneath! The last addition was the stainless steel

exhaust, which I bought at the Spring Rally 2009, which makes the car sound like she should and looks lovely too. This is my third Eunos, and I keep saying she will be my last, as I would really like to keep this one, but who knows! I am very proud of Tiggy in that I have done everything to this car myself, and

taken on some jobs that I didn’t think I could do until I actually tried. She will continue to be a work in progress, and I will continue to enjoy driving her regularly. However unless I go down the route of performance enhancing parts, I don’t really see too much more work apart from routine maintenance.

soft top hardtop 47


Talkin’ about Mazda purist was tempted to make a few modifications - but not all endured Many members will know the MX-5 Owner’s Club’s technical adviser Robbie Marsh – he’s fixed a few of our cars over the years! But the succession of modifications which he’s tried on his own Roadster, make an interesting lesson about what works and what doesn’t. TRACEY SPARLING reports on a Mazda fan’s quest to improve on perfection!


AKE a look at Robbie Marsh’s 1990 Mk1 Eunos Roadster, and it seems fairly standard. Sure the wheels aren’t original and it’s got a black windscreen surround instead of red, but the rest of his beloved car is pretty un-messed with – in stark contrast to the stripped-out Project Merlot track car which he is a co-owner of. The red Roadster’s authentic appearance belies the fact that during the ten years that Mazda mechanic Robbie has owned it, he has tried many modifications. Well, with constant access to cheap parts and a professional workshop, wouldn’t you be tempted too? But few of the changes and additions came up to Robbie’s exacting high standards and when they didn’t come up to scratch they were taken off as quickly as they were put on. Every such experiment only served to bolster his long-held conviction that the manufacturer simply got the design of the MX-5 right in the first place. What else could be done to really improve on such perfection? Robbie bought the car in September 1999, six years after he first started working on other peoples’ Mazdas as an eager teenage mechanic. Back in the early 90s, he was bowled over by the sight of the MX-5, which was then relatively new to the UK market: “I just thought ‘wow’ when I first saw it. So I’d always wanted one but never thought I’d be able to have one, until imported Eunos Roadsters made it an affordable option. “When I did manage to buy a Eunos, I

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Making a splash: Robbie’s a regular on runs, and doesn’t shirk from any obstacle en route! bought the first car I went coilovers, but I could not to look at, because I’d get a setting I was happy been studying the adverts with. I went back to noncarefully and waiting for adjustable Bilsteins and one which was as Mazda springs.” standard as possible.” He has also fitted However he started uprated anti roll bars, changing things the day and has had four he got the car, because different sets of wheels he’d already amassed a over the years. collection of unwanted He fitted a rare, early, MX-5 parts through work. two-piece front lip spoiler He said: “All my after picking it up from a colleagues used to take Mazda clearance sale for the mickey, saying I could £50. It came in a Eunosprobably have built my branded box with full own car from all the bits I Name: Robert Marsh instructions. With had collected over the hindsight he now wishes Age: 34 years, and it’s true. I he’d bought a few more never throw anything to sell on, as originals Lives: Ely, Cambridgeshire away, even now! are now hard to come by! “The very first thing I Other additions Area: Eastern Region did was change the included a UK rear Forum alias: Roadster Robbie steering wheel. The car numberplate surround, originally had a wooden bumper and rear fog Nardi wheel so I replaced it with an light. All these have now been changed original leather Momo one. It now has a back to Japanese versions with a fog lamp later Momo version. in the right hand reverse lamp because he “The next thing I did was to lower it decided they look better. using Koni shock absorbers and springs. A K&N 57i cold air induction kit which They stayed a long time and when they got tatty they were changed for Gaz Continued over


Pictures: JON ELSEY

an evolution!

soft top hardtop 49

myMazda From previous page he’d fitted, was taken out to accommodate a supercharger. But unfortunately, as he now admits, was ‘an expensive mistake.’ Robbie said: “It never ran right. Over the year or so that it was installed, I changed many things to solve its idling and stalling problems. I changed the piping and moved the throttle body which are the common fixes – short of an expensive new engine management system. It was sold as a bolton kit but it was not that, so I removed it. When asked if the extra power had improved the car he said: “I can’t say it made me enjoy the car any more. I enjoy it much more now, without the supercharger.” Robbie rebuilt a 9,000-mile engine which he got for free because it had seized up and was useless to most. But with his care and skill it was revived and installed in his Roadster. Even though the supercharger has now been removed, Robbie’s quest for a touch more performance led to the fitting of high-lift HKS camshafts. He said “Once the engine comes on cam at 4,000rpm it pulls all the way to the red line, although off the line, grunt is lost.” To make the car sound a little sportier, he fitted a Borla exhaust which didn’t have as good a note as he had hoped. He said: “Had I done my research I wouldn’t have bought it but I was tempted by the name. The HKS Superdrager which I later swapped my original exhaust for, has an extra silencer and a lot better note in my ing wheel. Change of direction The latest steer opinion.” Following his quest to make the car quicker, Robbie opted to uprate the car’s one day as he was working on a friend’s car. braking system by swapping the 1.6 discs, He said: “The battery was flat because pads and callipers for the larger versions the car was a second car at that point and from a 1.8. had been stored over the winter. I was However, a new short-shift gear lever trying to push my car up the drive, to get it remained on the car only as far as the local out of the way so I could work on a friend’s Tesco store, whereby he went home and car. I had bricks stopping the wheels from removed it. Robbie said: “It lasted less than rolling back down the slope, but the wheels three miles. I just thought ‘this isn’t for rolled right over the bricks and it hit the me’. I thought it was a great example of the house. I had to leave the car embedded in aftermarket spoiling what Mazda had spent the house while I drove into town to buy so much time perfecting.” some jump leads! “Soon after that I bought His ownership of the Mazda has not been a CTEK battery conditioner!” without incident. The car had to be The car needed a new front wing and repainted after it crashed into his house bumper repair but he took the opportunity for a complete respray, and to paint the windscreen surround black, inspired by the

yellow J-Ltd Japanese special edition. He chose to have the anti-stonechip paint along the sides of he car, smoothed. To match the red and black theme he also swapped the chrome mirrors which had replaced the original red ones, for black. He fitted a brace bar behind the seats – originally a standard black one from a 1.8 which was then swapped for a chrome one from a Berkeley special edition. His car temporarily sported a Mk2 hood, which he changed back to a Mk1 version for a while, for originality, before realising the Mk2 roof was the better choice and swapping back! Moving inside, Robbie said: “I don’t like to mess with the interior much. I did fit extra gauges when the supercharger was fitted, but they’re gone now. “I’m not into sticking on chrome and I like to make modifications reversible wherever possible.” But he did fiddle with the radio. Robbie fitted a Mazda modular audio unit with orange illumination. He changed the dashboard illumination to match the orange of the radio – only to then install a green radio acquired from a Mazda 626 so changed the dash back to green! It’s not that Robbie’s chop-and-change

Latest addition: The new luggage rack leaves room for a toolbox in the boot instead!

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“I had to leave the car embedded in the house while I drove into town to buy some jump leads!” modifications have been prompted by indecisiveness. He insists he always wanted a green radio! The multitude of changes have always been made with Mazda parts where possible, and Robbie admits he is a purist when it comes to branding – and for good reason. He said: “I tend to think that non Mazda parts just don’t fit right, and I’d always know it wasn’t right and have to re-do it to be happy. I’d also hate to do anything which would mean the car couldn’t be returned to its original specification. “There have been technical bulletins and changes, but very few recalls which shows you that Mazda really got the Mk1 right in the first place.”He added: I will always have that car, forever. I’ve had it too long now to get rid of it.” His dedication to the Club matches his commitment to the MX-5 – he’s been to every national rally since he joined the Club in 1999. So if ever you want to ask the advice of a diehard Five fan, Robbie’s your man!

Technical specification Exterior: Mazda two-piece front lip

Book your prize WIN W

One of five copies of new MX-5 guide

E have FIVE copies of the eagerly-awaited second edition of Mazda MX-5: Haynes Enthusiast Guide Series by Liz Turner, to give away. The MX-5 Owners Club and its members star in the full story of the MX-5, captured in a £19.99 hardback book which will launched at Haynes International Motor Museum near Yeovil at 11am on November 28. This careful revision of the first edition charts the MX-5 from genesis to today’s Mk3, complete with a special chapter about the numerous special editions. There are also extensive sections on the practical aspects of ownership – buying guidance, modifying and accessories, and maintenance essentials. This is a comprehensive update of You & Your Mazda MX5/Miata (published 2002), which

Classic Cars magazine described as ‘comprehensive and useful’. It contains 250 colour illustrations. During her journalistic career Liz Turner has worked for various car magazines, including Autocar, and as a road-tester has had considerable experience of the MX-5. She recently bought her own and is a Club member. Liz will be signing copies at the launch, where Club members can have exclusive parking plus free entry into the museum from 10am. ■ To enter this great prize draw, send your name, address, Area, membership number, plus the answer to the following question, to uk or post to: The Editor, PO Box 833, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 9AT by October 30. ■ The question is: Which venue hosted a ‘limited edition’ photo shoot for this book, in April 2009?

spoiler, Mazda NB roof frame and fabric, Mazda front fog lamps, Clear side repeaters, corner reflectors and centre brake light, Mazda black coloured door mirrors, gloss black windscreen surround, aluminium fuel filler flap, Garage Vary type 3 vented headlamp lid.

Interior: Mazda leather hand brake grip and aluminium hand brake button, Mazda aluminium pedals and foot rest, Mazda head rest wind blocker, Momo Competition 350mm steering wheel, Engine Start button. ICE: Mazda modular audio with CD and MD, Mazda upgrade speakers (Sony branded), Engine: Ported and polished head, HKS 8.7mm lift/256* duration camshafts, K&N 57i kit, Jackson Racing 8mm ignition leads, Wrinkle finish cam cover. Suspension: Mazda OE spec Bilstein dampers and springs, chrome cockpit brace, Mazda adjustable front strut brace, front and rear subframe braces, Racing Beat anti-roll bars. Exhaust: Jackson Racing 4-2-1 header, HKS Superdrager cat back system

Wheels: Mazdaspeed MS-01R (15x7.0JJ ET35), Toyo Proxy T1R (195/50 15).

Brakes: Goodridge braided hoses, 1800 brake conversion on front.

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The fast and the furious! Thrills and spills aplenty as MX-5 racing championship goes down to the wire at last round

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Racerelations: SteveGreensmith(left) atAnglesey while his son Jonathan leads Tom Roche at Oulton.

Anglesey In the last issue we told how a very soggy lot of drivers and teams were bemoaning the fact that the second race at Donington had been cancelled. The force of rain water had created a hole in the track itself. The next place to visit was Anglesey right on the Irish Sea and rumour had it that the wind, rain and sea spray there was enough to make a Cape Horner run for shelter. Well perhaps the weather gods thought that the MX-5s deserved a break because when we were there the sun shone and it only blew a gentle zephyr. The picturesque circuit at Anglesey (often seen on Fifth Gear) really suits the

Mazdas, being technical but with a number of overtaking places and we were going to have three races here – that couldn’t be bad. Keen readers of the Ma5da Championship so far will know that we normally have three drivers battling for the lead, Tom Roche, Jonathan Greensmith and Rob Boston and as usual, in the first race these three had a great battle, swapping places around the track until we came to the last lap. At the top of the hill Boston, from third position, made a lunge to get inside Greensmith’s line and unfortunately it took both of them off. There was no damage, so it was a race to see who could get back onto the track quickest and grab the vital second place behind Roche. In their haste and with the accuracy of marksmen they both accelerated into each other nose to nose (watch out for this on a blooper show soon) and though Boston was able to regain the track and take second place, poor Greensmith was relegated to the side of the track awaiting a tow vehicle. This meant Paul Sheard who had been having a very lonely race, came through to collect third wishing that he hadn’t taken things so

Continued over


As the Ma5da Racing MX-5 Championship 2009 drew to a close, race day coordinator HUGH HARTLEY reported on the final races which saw Tom Roche take the title but a host of other battles also enthralled the rest of the field.

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top) Performance enhancing? (above and

dged Both of these lead cars shown have dislo off track!) their headlight covers (the tractors were From previous page

easy – you never know it could have been second. Behind Sheard, Scott Kirlew, Steve Greensmith and Richard Breland had being having a great scrap and keeping the spectators amused and finished in that order. Some hard work in the paddock saw both Jonathan Greensmith and Boston’s cars repaired and back out for the second race. This rewarded Greensmith with a runaway victory – well he was five seconds in front and by our standards that is a long way. He was helped in getting this lead by a cracking battle for second between Boston and Roche which was decided in Boston’s favour when Roche went over the kerb and flattened his engine’s breather pipe and could then only crawl round to finish way down the field. Third place went again to Sheard, but only after a super battle with Steve Greensmith and Alyn Robson. It was three very happy and smiley people in the parc ferme and to quote one of them “great old gits race that!” At one point Wayne de la Montais was up

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Boston was the person that got squeezed out, turned sideways and spat out onto the infield with a lot of front end damage. there, as was Breland, but they dropped back slightly on the last couple of laps. To me it seemed they were allowing the oldies to get on with it. For the third race of the day it was Roche’s turn to get away in the lead and leave the battle for second place between Jonathan Greensmith and Boston. On the last lap they were very close but thankfully they managed to stay on the track this time and at the line it was Jonathan Greensmith who got second about half a car’s length in front of Boston. Fourth place was gained by Steve

Ready to go: The packed grid at Mallory Park.

Greensmith to round off a great day for him. This time he didn’t have his fellow ’old gits’ around him (they were not far away!) but it was those ‘youngsters’ Kirlew and Breland who got between him and his previous race sparring partners Sheard and Robson.

Mallory Park After the sunshine of Wales it was back to the clouds of England or to be more specific, Mallory Park where we were to have rounds 15 and 16. For the first race at least it was dry and if this had been a 13-lap race this would be a eulogy to Rob Boston of how to drive defensively but completely fairly at the front of the field. It did not matter if it was Jonathan Greensmith, or for one lap, Tom Roche, who was behind him – he gave them just enough room but made sure he held the important inside line and there was no way past. Sadly this was a 20-minute race and that meant it was 21 laps long so when he ran slightly wide at the hairpin on lap 14 Greensmith was through and it only took another lap for Roche also to find a way past. Thereafter there were no more place changes for the podium positions though it was not for want of trying by Boston and Roche. It was a great race from three great drivers. Sam Hill led the chase after a cracking start. He was having a great race in fourth position until Steve Greensmith caught him up and passed him at about one third distance. From then on these two had a great and entertaining duel all the way to the flag with Steve just having the upper hand on the line. By the time the second

Ma5daRacing race came around it was raining, and here the person who took off into the lead and just magnificently drove away from all the other drivers was Jonathan Greensmith. Behind him the wet track conditions did not make for good racing but it was Roche who got the second position. An inspired drive saw Sheard get third, ahead of Boston while that all-important last trophy for fifth place went to local lad Matt Robinson who was carrying sponsorship from Robinson Mazda.

Donington Park After rounds 15 and 16 we then had round 11! No this is not a case of our drivers can’t count (we all know MX-5 drivers are the cleverest people in the world) but we returned to Donington Park to have the round that got ‘monsooned off ’ in June.

“Drive of the race came from Steve Greensmith, who, having spun down to almost last position, stormed back through the field right up to fourth place. Now if he had only put enough fuel in the car it would have probably been the drive of the season, but unfortunately it ran dry and he was only able to coast across the line in twelfth.” There was a difference in that we were racing the full Grand Prix circuit and had a 30-minute race instead of our normal 20. This did not make any difference to Tom Roche though, as after a couple of laps swapping places with his usual playmates Jonathan Greensmith and Rob Boston, he calmly managed to keep at the head of the field for the rest of the race. After a few hectic passing and re-passing manoeuvres Boston emerged with a comfortable second place as Greensmith’s brakes cried ‘I am too hot’ and he had to take it easy to an eventual third. Drive of the race Continued over

Four-way tussle: A season-long battle for championship honours was played out at Oulton Park. Here Tom Roche leads Rob Boston, Jonathan Greensmith and Paul Sheard.

soft top hardtop 55

Ma5daRacing From previous page came from Jonathan’s dad Steve who, having spun down to almost last position, stormed back through the field right up to fourth place. Now if he had only put enough fuel in the car it would have probably been the drive of the season, but unfortunately it ran dry and he was only able to coast across the line in twelfth place. This meant that fourth place went to Paul Sheard again who spent a great part of the race trying to keep everyone behind him, only to have them pass him then leave the track. Sometimes it pays to be lucky! In fifth place once again was Matt Robinson.

Oulton Park At the beginning of September it was the turn of Oulton Park for rounds 17 and 18 and again we were blessed with a nice day – you know we could get used to this. This time the person on top form and winner of both races was Tom Roche which virtually guaranteed him the Ma5da MX-5 Championship title for 2009. From pole on the first race he was never headed, and the only blot on his record is that he did not get fastest lap. That went to Rob Boston though in the end he could only manage third place – just behind Jonathan Greensmith. In fact it was the usual good entertainment from these three. In what seems to be his normal fourth place came Paul Sheard on what is very much his home circuit, while fifth place went to Chris Rowlinson, another local who did a great job keeping a noisy barking pack of MX-5s behind him. For the second race behind Roche this time it was Boston who took second place with Jonathan Greensmith just behind him. However this time it was not Sheard in fourth place (he had got pushed on to the grass and lost a lot of places but managed to work his way back to seventh), but the person who inherited the mantle was Jonathan Blake – with a very good result. Mind you he only just made it as Ben Robinson (not relation to Matt) was less than 0.2 of a second behind, in what was a road car only a week or so before. It was a good effort by all the GMF team.

Bumped up: Racing this close will often lead

to lots of repair work!.

All season long there have been three people battling at the front of the field but for the first 18 rounds it was always either Greensmith or Roche who took the chequered flag. With nine wins each, this was the needle meeting where it would all be decided. Brands was the place where it all came good for Rob Boston, where he found the winning habit by taking both races with flag-to-flag victories. By taking a second and third place, MX-5 Owners Club member Roche gained enough points to confirm the fact that he was the champion for 2009, with 2008's champion Greensmith taking the runner-up spot. One person who had a great day was another Owners Club member Jonathan Blake, the 'driving force' behind the Ma5das. He managed a third and a fourth, while the minor places were shared among Chris Rawlinson, Charles Plumley and Paul Sheard.

Brands Hatch

The final lap

While many of you were at Mallory Park for the 15/20 Rally, we were Brands Hatch with full grids for the last two races.

Before I finish I would like to say thank you to Tracey and Jon for letting me tell you about the races. We have a great championship with TV, paddock facilities, and of course a great little car and in this we are really grateful to all the help our sponsors give – their equipment works really well on our cars! So a heartfelt thanks to Klarius (Timax) Exhausts, Hankook Tyres, Gaz Shocks, Team Dynamics Wheels, Scalextric Digital, and the BRSCC.

nsmith battle at Brands.

On the limit: Rob Boston (33) and Jon Gree

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■ Soft Top Hardtop congratulates Tom Roche, and thanks Hugh, Jonathan Blake and all at Ma5da Racing for

their help this year. We would also thank Club member Lewis Craik who has faithfully followed the series and supplied fantastic photography throughout the year. ■ The season was not quite over for the Ma5da Racing drivers. A new and separate event – the Autumn Championship – was due to take place on October 2 to 4 at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.

Ma5da Racing MX-5 Championship 2009

Champ: Tom Roche (right) with Hugh Hartley. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Tom Roche Jonathan Greensmith Rob Boston Paul Sheard Alyn Robson Charles Plumley Steve Greensmith Jonathan Blake Simon McAlpine Matt Robinson

1903 1879 1857 1752 1668 1648 1642 1636 1582 1536

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On the level Antirollbarsmakeyourcarcornerflatterandcansharpenthehandling


After fitting an Eibach lowering kit, the owner of this Mk3 was still unhappy with the handling so he bought a set of uprated anti roll bars (or stabiliser). ROBBIE MARSH fitted them, and here shows you how.


With the rear of the car supported safely on axle stands, the first step is to remove the anti roll bar links so wire brush the threads and spray with some penetrating oil. Depending on your facilities (I had the use of a ramp) you may find it easier to remove the wheels.


New mounting hardware is supplied with the bars. Using the old bar as a reference, install new bushes and clamps in the correct location.


Ensuring the bar is in the correct orientation, refit the links. They should be nearly vertical, not horizontal.


A 5mm hex key holds the ball joint while the nut is undone with a 14mm ratchet spanner. This car was only a couple of months old so I had no problems getting the links off. As the threads get rustier with age the nuts get harder to remove. You may have to resort to cutting the nuts off !


Then feed the new stabiliser over the exhaust pipe and into position. The stabiliser should be installed with the identification mark (paint on the original one and lettering on the new) to the right hand side of the car.


Torque the link rod nuts to 50Nm‌


The bar itself is secured to the sub frame by four 14mm nuts. Remove these (two each side) then the old anti roll bar can be removed.

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Fit the 14mm nuts to secure bar.


‌and the mounting nuts to 20Nm




With the rear finished, raise and support the front of the car safely to allow access underneath. The front under tray needs to be removed…





Now you can remove the fixings for the main under tray. Be aware that there is one clip on each side right at the front.

Removing the radiator lower mounts allows the radiator to move a bit to give space to remove the anti roll bar.



it’s held on with a lot of screws and clips.


This photo shows just how many.

Once the tray is loose the wiring clips are released from the inside.


Remove the links from the bar in the same way as you removed the rear ones.


Remove the mounting hardware from the bar and position it so it is hanging down in front of the track rods.



The two smaller panels on either side need to be removed first. To remove the plastic clips, turn the centre part and it’ll pop out. You can then remove the complete clip.

I found it necessary to remove the upper mounts as well, due to limited space.


The bar can then be slid out sideways. Take care not to damage any other components as you remove it.

Then remove the 14mm nuts that secure the bar to the subframe.

Continued over

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technicaltalk From previous page

Cover up Say goodbye to stone chips with new protective film


Install new clamps and bushes onto the new bar in their correct locations then slide the new bar into position ensuring the identification mark is on the right hand side.


Then refit and tighten the mounts to 40Nm and the link rod nuts to 50Nm.


With the bar fully fitted, resecure the radiator upper and lower mounts and refit the three parts of the under tray. There is a bit of an art to putting the clips back in – squeeze the four tags together, push the clip though the hole and press the centre in to lock. ■ Thanks to: EMG Mazda, Cambridge

Disclaimer: Any work you do to your car is entirely your own responsibility. If in any doubt, you should check technical advice with an independent, qualified person who has seen your car. The MX-5 Owners Club, its officers, the editor and author accept no responsibility for any damage caused to your person or property as a result of you following or not following the advice offered in articles.

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HROUGHOUT my 33 years as a police officer I had always been fanatical about cars – in particular my own cars! I loved how they looked, how they drove and tried to keep them in the same condition as they were when purchased. I have to admit that I was one of these sad individuals who, when washing his car every Sunday, became dismayed about the amount of stone chips my car had attracted. Needless to say I dutifully touched them up, only to find more the following week. For this reason, for many years, I avoided buying any car with a metallic finish as it was almost impossible to hide the damage that road debris had caused. In 2005 I was offered the option, by a dealer, of having paint protection film installed on a new car I had bought. When I took delivery I found that it was not a complete cover – it did not protect the crucial areas, looked like orange peel and ruined the aesthetics of the car so I removed it and decided that stone chips would look better! While in the United States a couple of years later, after a few beers, I found myself discussing my paranoia with a friend of mine. He suggested paint protection film so I explained about my previous experience but he continued to extol its virtues. The following day we visited a company which actually installed the product. This film bore no relation to the item I had been sold two years before. It was then that I realised that this technology was now truly viable and that the United Kingdom was well behind the American lead. As my retirement was now imminent I decided on my return to the UK, to research the availability of this film and

learn how to install it to use on my own cars. I undertook extensive training in association with Showtrax International (leaders in racing technology) and Car Shine UK to become fully qualified to install paint protection film to the high standards that they set. My first solo installations were on my new Volkswagen Passat and my wife’s new Mazda MX-5. It was my intention initially to continue doing installations only for family and friends. Just something that would keep me occupied during my retirement. That said, the demand for the product and my services has been such that I now carry out installations on a professional basis. I will only install VentureShield paint protection film, which I truly believe is the best on the market. It is a clear, thermoplastic urethane film made from 100% aliphatic resin. It is almost invisible, does not yellow or crack, can be polished and washed in the normal way and really does offer fantastic protection. The material leaves no residue whatsoever when removed. Those who have carbon fibre car panels will know that, even though it is immensely strong, it is still prone to stone chips. Also carbon fibre has an almost matt finish and only shines once lacquered. Lacquer will not prevent stone chips however VentureShield gives a very similar appearance. No harsh chemicals or preparations are applied to the vehicle during installation – the only fluids used are plain and soapy water. The vehicle must be spotlessly clean and free of grease then the film can be removed from its backing and floated onto the bodywork on a bed of soapy water. Once positioned, this water is replaced with fresh water, the film tacked down into position, and air bubbles removed. For maximum protection the film is ‘wrapped’



Reflected glory WIN

retro mirrors for your Mk1


“The photographs make it appear that the installation of paint protection film is a piece of cake. Let me assure you it is not.” around critical vulnerable areas such as the leading edge of the bonnet. Headlights are also covered with the film giving no perceptible loss of light. We all know how much a replacement headlight can cost. In fact on 99 per cent of installations I defy anyone to even detect that there is any film on the headlights. The other vulnerable areas which are covered, are the backs of the mirrors and the rear bumper area below the boot lid. You will know that this area seems to attract anything dropped from the boot, like a magnet. This is also the area that, if you let someone else take items out of your boot, they seem compelled to rest them on. Now here is the note of caution! The photographs and this explanation make it appear that the installation of paint protection film is a piece of cake. Let me assure you it is not. There are self-fit kits available for motorcycles which, generally speaking, can

Fifties finesse: Add some chrome style to your Mk1 with these mirrors available from Autolink.

Invisible shield: The bumper is now prote cted. be fitted by the customer. However I’ve known many individuals start the job only to destroy the product during installation and then have to call an expert to complete the task. It has taken me over a year, and many procedures, to become fully competent in this field. The price of the product varies according to vehicle and the extent of the cover. Some people choose just to have the headlights or bonnet treated, others have most of the car wrapped in film. If you don’t want stone chips I recommend paint protection film. You can then put your touch-up paint away. I would not be without it on my vehicle. ■ An MX-5 wrap ranges from £50 for headlights to £599 for a full kit, to a complete body wrap at just under £900 – and a 10% discount is available to MX-5 Owners Club members. ■ For more details see page 73 or visit:

A SET of these stunning chrome door mirrors worth £149 a pair, are up for grabs in our Autolink UK Ltd draw. The company’s latest new product is designed for the Mk1, inspired by the mirrors which were factory fitment to General Motors American classics of the 1950s (including Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Plymouth). Autolink’s Andrew Stott loves them so much he has added them on his own car, and the company has had bases made so they can be fitted onto the door of a Mk1 MX-5 or Eunos Roadster, without you needing to modify the door in any way – they use the existing screw holes. They are easily fitted using a Phillips screwdriver and allen key set. The mirrors are fully adjustable and supplied complete with fitting instructions, all fittings, a moulded rubber gasket and adaptor plate to make fitting easy. The mirrors have polished stainless steel backs with chrome stems. They are not sided, so if you break one they can be easily replaced. Mazda chrome mirrors (plastic) cost £200 a pair, and these metal ones are available for £149. See also and for parts. ■ To enter this great prize draw, send your name, address, Area and membership number, plus the answer to the following question, to or post to The Editor, PO Box 833, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 9AT to arrive by October 30. The winners will receive their prize by post direct from Autolink. ■ The question is: Which era inspired the design of these door mirrors?

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Brittany steers Members headed for a motor museum in France – but sadly found no real MX-5s on show Five Fives travelled to Finistère in Brittany, France, for a weekend of gastronomic delights. MIKE GLEAVES from Cornwall area tells the story.


N our trip to Brittany, some of us were meeting for the first time, adding a little uncertainty to the adventure. There were five cars from the Cornwall and South West areas and it’s a strange ritual that when MX-5 owners meet initially, they tend to examine each others cars with great interest; something like the way adolescent males assess each other’s girlfriends, concentrating their eyes on the bits that stand out the most! After a short wait we boarded the ferry but first encountered a fairly extensive security search before proceeding, the police finally came to the conclusion that we had no intention to wage jihad on France and allowed us up the ramp and onto the ship. The crossing was smooth and uneventful before docking at the pretty port of Roscoff, sat in our cars, we watched as the large steel doors were noisily lowered. An air of excitement came over as at this point we sensed our first few whiffs of garlic. Soon we were off gliding along the uncrowded roads in a neat formation, constantly checking on the car in front and behind to ensure we all would make it to the hotel. When motoring abroad, the skills of formation driving are much more important than back home. In the UK, if you lose somebody you can be sure that you’ll find them later at the pub; in France it is not so easy. Unfortunately, along the way, we did lose someone; the tail car suddenly disappeared from view on a long, straight and deserted road. We all pulled over, tried to phone with no reply but anxiously waited by the roadside for a glimpse of a red Mk1. After five minutes they caught up and pulled over behind us, and admitted: “We stopped for a pee!” We moved on to our hotel in the lovely village of Rostrenen, in central Brittany. It was remote and quiet, peaceful and picturesque yet we were still able to find a delightful gourmet restaurant to satisfy our hunger. Somebody remarked that they could eat a horse, not such a good idea in France. The next morning we had coffee and croissants before setting off, tops down, in a south easterly direction to Lohéac, around 100 miles away. Our destination was to be Manoir d’Automobile, one of the world’s finest motor museums. Along the way, we had to pull over as one

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“I can now report that the answer to the proverbial question of how many MX–5 owners does it take to change a lightbulb? is five.” of the team had a faulty brake light. After 30 minutes of fiddling with various bulb combinations, including at one stage the side lights being much brighter than the brake lights, we sorted it out. The answer to the proverbial question of how many MX–5 owners does it take to change a light bulb? is five.

We arrived at the museum entrance, smiling at the attendant “dix personnes s’il vous plait” she frowned back at us “Non” came the reply “fermé.” A little set back, we soon realised that it was closed for lunch! We would have to return at 2pm, so we went into the village and populated the local café while the museum staff took their customary lunch break. It was worth waiting for. The museum has one of the most extensive collections of cars we had seen, from the mundane to the spectacular, old to the new and fast down to slow but mostly French! It did include a collection of the world championship winning Formula One cars from the past 25 years or so. The only MX-5 we saw was for sale, by the French equivalent of Dinky. We drove back later in the day via a different route, choosing a winding road through wooded valleys, green hilltops and


Dock destination: The port of Roscoff

in France.

Tale of two Mazdas Double dose for MX-5 lover who couldn’t say goodbye


Car heaven: Manoir d’Automobile, Lohe

sleepy villages. The quality of Brittany’s roads cannot be understated, the surface is smooth with very little road noise, the lanes are wider than at home and most importantly, for several periods we drove for an hour or more without meeting another vehicle. This is driving Utopia, nobody even considered “when are we going to get there?” I am proud to say though that we all drove safely. On route, we briefly stopped in the beautiful town of Pontivy for a stroll and a little shopping. That evening, we had a fantastic fourcourse meal with wine, aperitifs and coffee for less than 30 euros each. On the final day, we headed northwards to the coast, again following unpopulated roads, smooth and curvy, long and wide. We stumbled on a charming Sunday street market in the village of Plestin les Graves, close to the north coast. Just about every gastronomic delicacy was being sold by small stallholders in the village square. The place was buzzing with locals buying fresh vegetables, ripe cheeses and live sea food. We carried on back to Roscoff, hugging the coastline as we went, driving through deserted coastal towns and villages. The last leg was through the large town of Morlaix, we followed the panoramic scenery both sides of the estuary as we drove in and out of this charming large town. In Brittany it is difficult to ascertain whether one is in a village, town or city since even the smallest village seems to have a cathedral the size of Salisbury. We arrived back at Roscoff, following a brief stop, where I somehow managed to squeeze three cases of claret in to my boot, sadly squashing the cheese I had bought previously at the market. All were agreed, the trip had been a huge success and the only outstanding question was when are we going to do it again?

Have you ever been tempted to change your MX-5 for a newer model? GILL SALT from North West Midlands Area did, and lived to regret it. Here is her tale of two Mazdas and luckily it has a happy ending.


BOUT six years ago I decided I wanted a sports car and looked at the BMW Z3, Toyota MR2 and the Mazda MX-5. I opted for the MX-5 as it seemed good value for money and bought a limited edition red Mk2 1.8 Sport. I grew to love the car, and over the next four years I spent a fortune on a new red and black leather interior, new alloys, mohair hood etc until it looked superb. I joined the Owners Club and my interest in and respect for the little red car grew and grew. The MX-5, unfortunately, is an addictive car, and then Mazda brought out the Mk3. My husband took me to the local dealer one afternoon to see it and I was hooked. I just had to have one. I loved the beefier styling, the modern interior, and all the refinements, not to mention the stunning looks, quick acceleration, and superb handling. I chose a 2-litre in Sunlight Silver with option pack of heated seats and climate control. Obviously the red MX-5 had to be sold, and luckily my neighbour and good friend Dave bought it and took it to his holiday home to have as a fun car for the summer. Dave added new alloys and replaced the interior wood that had been sun damaged. So that should have been that, but unfortunately, while the silver MX-5 was superbly refined, it simply did not have the sporty feel of the red Mk2. It did not get the same looks from passers by. Even though it was much quicker, it was not so low to the

ground, and it was a bigger car. I began to miss my red MX-5 very badly and wished that I had not sold it. A while later, my friend Dave kindly offered to sell the car back to me, but my dear mum had just died, and I had bought her lovely VW Polo to keep as a second car, so I regretfully declined. However, over the next year, the hankering for the red MX-5 became really bad, every time I saw one, I felt sad. Nobody could understand this sentiment, especially when I was driving around in a gorgeous 2-litre Mk3, but perhaps other members will. A year passed and Dave decided to sell the red MX-5 as it was not getting much use, and I could not bear to think of anyone else owning it other than him, so I finally bought it back!

“Hey, I don’t smoke and I don’t drink, and life is very short so why not enjoy yourself!” My brother bought Mum’s Polo so we could keep it in the family which was a great relief. The night before I drove the red MX-5 again I was so excited I could not sleep, and I drove to work with a massive grin on my face. And the silver Mk3? Well I am keeping it of course. Some people might say (and one or two already have!) that in the middle of a recession, having two MX-5s is an unnecessary expense, but hey, I don’t smoke and I don’t drink, and life is very short so why not enjoy yourself ! Why do I love the MX-5 so much? Well, I could go on for ever, but I think for me it is because the MX-5, whether you drive the classic Mk1, elegant Mk2 or beefy Mk3, it is a real head turner. And the final equation? MX5 X 2 = Pure Motoring Heaven!

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Coach party: Jayne and Tom learn the racing lines on the Silverstone GP circuit.

Training day Action pictures: XTREME SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Adrenalin-filled 50th birthday treat took Jayne out of her comfort zone JAYNE SMITH from South West Midlands, wanted to mark her 50th birthday in a special way. After reading February issue’s article about Ma5da Racing star Tom Roche’s new venture as a track instructor, she took the plunge and booked up. Here’s her inspiring story.


WANTED to do something different for my 50th birthday this year. My brother asked if I wanted a party? “No thanks,” I said. I had something much more exciting planned. When reading February’s Soft Top Hardtop, the articles on track days took my interest, and I thought ‘why not?’ I’m a keen follower of motorsport and have always wondered what it was like to go round a circuit. ‘Tom’s Masterclass’ had a couple more reads, then I plucked up the courage to give him a call. As I’d never done anything like this before, I wanted someone experienced to instruct me and show me what to do. The circuit and the date was booked and Tom said that he’d call me nearer the date. I went off on my annual pilgrimage to Le Mans, and then to the British Grand Prix. My on track debut was on my mind as I

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enjoyed the racing at both circuits. I was looking forward to it, but I must admit a little apprehensive. I had seen track days at my local circuit Castle Combe on a few occasions and watched some nice cars end up in the tyre wall. But Tom re-assured me that Silverstone had a good run off and that I’d be fine. A dry and sunny July 31 arrived and I met Tom at the circuit. We wandered over to sign on, then while waiting for the drivers briefing chatted about various things and admired the other cars going on the track with us. I was in one of my two MX-5s. During the sighting laps Tom asked me if I was nervous. “Just a little,“ I replied, but inside my stomach was turning and I didn’t admit to him how terrified I was. It was time for Tom to take the wheel and show me what my car could really do. After

all, this was what I was here for, or as my Dad said, to kill myself having a mid-life crisis! I lost count of how many laps we did, as I had my eyes closed at times Instructor: Tom Roche and was gripping my seat thinking “I can’t do this” (What I was really thinking can’t be printed) Then it was my turn. The morning session went so quickly, but with Tom’s tuition the corners got tighter, the speed got faster and the tyres squealed louder. Tom took the wheel a few times to show me where I was going wrong with lines, gear changes and braking. Quite a few times I did get it hopelessly wrong and I got frustrated with myself and lost confidence. But Tom was really encouraging when I did get it right, and then I wanted to push myself to do better. At lunchtime I re-fuelled the car. I had quite a bit left, but I was enjoying myself so much and was looking forward to the afternoon session and getting out there. I didn’t want to be the one towed off for running out of petrol. Then we were off again taking it in turns


Prize winners Signed copies attracted many entries for competition


HE winners of August issue’s competition to win a signed copy of the Stirling Moss Scrapbook 1956-1960 are: Steve Westley from Cornwall, Chris Wade from Tyne Tees, and Henri van Roden from Coorparoo, Queensland, Australia. Congratulations, your prizes are in the post direct from the publisher. Arguably, the world’s greatest allround racing driver, Sir Stirling was a hero to generations of schoolboys and countless enthusiasts throughout the world. He is still held in the highest esteem and proves to have enduring popularity whenever he attends events such as the Silverstone Classic this year to launch this book. He was one of the first of the jetsetters, living a glamorous life of high octane motor sport and beautiful women. He only had to be seen with a female friend twice and all the papers would be reporting they were engaged. If he sneezed, the Press wrote about it. He was the David Beckham of his era! The Stirling Moss Scrapbook 1956-60 is one in a series about his life, which takes a light-hearted look at the fun, the excitement, the lifestyle, the racing, the

“I had my eyes closed at times and was gripping my seat thinking I can’t do this.” to drive – which I was grateful for as I did get very tired at times and started to make mistakes again as my concentration lapsed. I now understand why drivers are so fit (physically… girls!) But all too soon the chequered flag was out. After nearly 200 miles, one-and-a-half tanks of fuel, and my day was over. I was exhausted, my arms ached, but I’d had the best day ever and learned so much – not only about the capabilities of my car, but my own capabilities as a driver. I couldn’t have done it though without Tom being such a patient instructor, and giving me the confidence to push myself. Would I do it again? You bet. Actually, on the Monday morning I booked my next track day at Castle Combe. There, we had a great time, managing to spin the car a couple of times as it was so wet at the beginning of the session. But I remembered everything Tom taught me and stayed clear of the tyre wall.

See or call Tom on 07841 457325 for details on track tuition.


people, the challenges, the tragedies and the victories. It is a large format book, 300x350mm, capturing in glossy period photography and text the excitement of Moss’s racing highlights. The work has been collated and compiled by award-winning motoring author, Philip Porter, who was given unprecedented access to Sir Stirling’s private records. A must for any racing enthusiast!


ON’T forget, your chance to have a say in how the Owners Club is run, is coming up soon. All members are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting of the MX-5 Owners Club on Saturday, October 10, where you will be able to raise questions and have your say on the resolutions being considered by the management team, plus get to see who runs the Club and how. The meeting will be held at the Kegworth Whitehouse Hotel, Kegworth, Derbyshire, DE74 2DF from 4.30pm.

Spring Rally 2010 dinner tickets due to go on sale soon


ICKETS go on sale on October 15 for the Gala Dinner of the Spring Rally 2010 in Northern Ireland. Only a limited number will be available, so they will be issued on a firstcome first-served basis. There will only be two tickets per club member initially. See the new website for booking details and further information including prices. ■ For anyone without internet access, please contact Steven McKnight, 48 Cleland Park North, Bangor, BT20 3EN for a booking form.

Historic venue: The dinner will be at Stormont.

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You may recall Club member LOUISE BAVERSTOCK’S story of moving to Las Vegas and buying a Miata, which featured in April 2008’s issue. Here she goes road tripping USA style, on one of the world’s most legendary driving roads!

California dreaming Driving the Sunshine State’s Pacific Coast Highway


E are currently two years into a three-year tour with the British Forces based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last summer we took the opportunity to go on a three-week road trip from Las Vegas up to the Canadian Rockies and back down Highway 1, known as the Pacific Coast Highway, in our family truck. My husband Andy and I wanted to repeat some of the journey, roof down, in our 1993 Miata LE. In May, Andy surprised me by telling me that he had booked a hotel in Monterey for my birthday in June, so it was the ideal opportunity to do the trip! We drove out of Vegas in 100-degree temperatures, probably unwisely with the roof down! Having done the journey out towards Los Angeles a few times now, the trip on Interstate 15 was pretty dull, a long straight dual carriageway through the Mojave Desert. We took a break from the drive and the heat and pulled into a great 50s style diner, Peggy Sue’s, on the outskirts of Barstow, California. Once refuelled, we headed back out into the desert. The quickest way to our first stop in Santa Barbara was through the maze of Los Angeles busy freeways – not for the faint-hearted – so we cut the corner by taking a route behind the San Gabriel Mountain range and through Heritage Valley from Palmdale to Fillmore. Heritage Valley was very lush and filled with orange groves that were in fruit with plenty of roadside vendors selling freshly squeezed juice. About 20 miles from the coast the temperature dropped 30 degrees and we were greeted with the famous Californian sea mist as we arrived in Continued over

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From previous page Santa Barbara, 360 miles from home. We spent two nights in lovely Santa Barbara. In our opinion, it is one of the nicest seaside towns in California, with lots of lovely boutique style shops, some history and it has a very European feel. We set off on our shorter journey up the Pacific Coast Highway in drizzle, hoping that it would clear up. Highway 1 cuts across country just north of Santa Barbara and then meets the coast again at Pismo Beach. We stopped for a fish and chip lunch at Morro Bay, a chance to stretch our legs round a few gift shops and go out to the harbour entrance to watch sea otters playing in the kelp. By this time the skies were beginning to clear and we were optimistic that we would at last get some sunshine. We passed Hearst Castle which

“The first time around we were warned about the Corkscrew, the second we were not and Andy’s lunch nearly made a reappearance!”

was built as a fantasy home by media tycoon William Randolph Hearst and is now a major tourist attraction epitomising the glamour of the 1930s and 40s. We stopped at a beach near San Simeon to watch the elephant seals, and then headed up the coast to Big Sur. Another Eastern Region traveller, Geoff Walton had given us a great tip for a stop at this 100mile stretch of the ‘big country of the South’. Robert Louis Stevenson called it ‘the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world.’ We took Geoff ’s advice and visited Nepenthe, a lovely restaurant and shop perched on the clifftops. Last year when we had stopped there we were above the clouds, this time we were lucky and had a great view out over Big Sur. We arrived at Monterey in the late afternoon and checked into our hotel for three nights. It was right on the seafront and we had a window seat, with binoculars to watch the sea otters and seals. We spent one day exploring er Racing Monterey and visiting the aquarium Ready for action: MX-5s at the Skip Barb the removable there, which is one of the best I have School at Laguna Seca Raceway. Note windscreens. ever been in. steering wheels perched on top of the

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Our second day in Monterey was my birthday, and we retrieved the car from the hotel valet and headed out to explore 17mile Drive and Carmel. 17-mile Drive takes you around the Monterey Peninsula past all the homes of the rich and famous at Pebble Beach. There were lots of places to stop and admire the views of the coast and the beautiful white sandy beaches. On a rock overlooking the ocean is a lone cypress tree, perhaps the most photographed tree in the world. We had lunch in Carmel where Clint Eastwood used to be mayor, and did a little window shopping. Carmel is awash with art galleries, designer stores and boutiques. We then headed inland through the Carmel Valley, famous for its vineyards. We took a mountain pass to head back down into Monterey and stumbled across the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway! We decided to have a quick look and take a few pictures

All weather wheels: Tioga Pass in Yose



Watching the wildlife: A stop at Morro Bay.


rstoc Loving the US: Andy and Louise Bave

of the Miata with the raceway signs above, and noticed that there was some activity on the track. The Skip Barber Racing School runs courses using Miatas so we went in and asked what were the chances of a passenger lap in a Miata. They wouldn’t do this, but we did get two laps in a Mazda 3.

year due to the snow, however there were a few road signs saying that the pass was closed that day. That would add even more miles and hours to the journey. Undeterred, we headed up toward the pass. On the way up we had a quick stop to admire a wild bear cub, and also had the opportunity to talk to a park ranger who told us that the pass had only just reopened after to the poor weather conditions. We had all weathers over the pass; snow, rain and freezing fog. Andy took it easy on the twisty pass because there were rocks and trees on one side of the road and sheer drops on the other. It was pretty scary but very scenic. Afternoon tea was taken at a German bakery in the town of Bishop and then we headed home over the Towne Pass in the Panamint Mountains and through Death Valley at sunset. We arrived back in Vegas after an epic journey of 13 hours, completing a great road trip of 1,308 miles.

The ride was amazing. The first time round we were warned about the Corkscrew, the second we were not and Andy’s lunch nearly made a reappearance! The experience was a great birthday treat, thanks so much to the Skip Barber crew. On our last day and return home, we could have stuck to the freeways, but decided to take a more scenic route, albeit 110 miles longer. The detour took us into Yosemite via the Merced River valley, with some lovely twisties for a Mazda, although the weather was closing in. The beautiful national park is a wilderness of evergreen forests, high meadows and sheer granite walls. Home to Las Vegas: Sunset over Deat The shortest way back to Las Vegas h Valley. from Yosemite is over the Tioga Pass. This pass is closed for six months of the

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Perfect timing How to check and adjust ignition timing on a Mk1 Ignition timing should be checked on a service and after certain engine repairs, to make sure your car is running at its optimum performance. Here ROBBIE MARSH explains how to check and then adjust your ignition timing on a Mk1.

clean metal part on the body for an earth. Ensure the cables are clear of moving parts and start the engine.


Open the “DIAGNOSTIC” box on the passenger side inner wing. Using a jumper wire (a paper clip will do) short out the TEN and GND terminals.


7 10 degrees Before Top Dead Centre (BTDC) is Mazda spec but there are various opinions as to advantages of setting it with more advance, eg.14 degrees BTDC. Once you’ve decided where to set yours, adjustment is simple. 1.8 engines have two marks on the pulley (you may have to clean your pulley to see them). This photo shows the position of the marks with the timing set to 10 degrees BTDC. For engines with only one mark, it would be lined up with the 10 mark on the scale. Each increment is two degrees so, for example to set your timing to 12 degrees BTDC line the mark up with the line just to the left of the 10 mark.

Warm the engine up to operating temperature.

5 2

Allow the engine to idle naturally and check the idle speed is around 850rpm. I have a rev counter on my timing light, and you can use the vehicle’s rev counter if you need to. If you need to adjust it, turn the air screw on the side of the throttle body until the speed is correct.

Connect the timing light HT pickup to number 1 spark plug lead.

3 Then connect the power leads. There is a blue power terminal on the passenger side inner wing, use any


Aim the timing light under the cross over tube on the passenger side at the timing marks on the timing belt cover near the bottom pulley.

Disclaimer: Any work you do to your car is entirely your own responsibility. If in any doubt, you should check technical advice with an independent, qualified person who has seen your car. The MX-5 Owners Club, its officers, the editor and author accept no responsibility for any damage caused to your person or property as a result of you following or not following the advice offered in articles.


If adjustment of the timing is required, the pinch bolt for the Crank Angle Sensor (CAS) on 1.8 engines is an extended 12mm bolt tucked between the sensor and coil pack. Loosen it about half a turn to allow the sensor to rotate.

9 While watching the timing marks, gently rotate the CAS until the desired timing is achieved. The body of the sensor will be hot. It’s okay to gently push on the connector to move it. A small amount of movement on the CAS gives a large amount of movement on the marks. Nip up the CAS pinch bolt and recheck the idle speed.

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Route one Novice run organiser reveals the tactics he’s learned

expected outcomes from the first drive were to firm up the route, determine distance and collect information for the route card.

5 Make a route card A few words now about the route card, as this is central to the enjoyment of a drive for the participants. The route card must be easy to read. This means you need to produce it in a large, bold typeface, and space the information out well so it can be easily read on the move.

6 Chart the mileage From my motorcycle competition experience, I favour giving two mileages. The first is cumulative, starting at zero and ending with the total mileage for the run, in my case about 75 miles. The second is point to point, so that the reader can see at a glance how far it is from one point on the run to the next – everything from 0.1 to almost 10 miles. Don’t forget kilometres for imports.

7 Give clear instructions Travels: Nick used his knowledge of local roads, but also loves travelling further afield such as to the Alps.

By NICK GRANGER, South Central

coffee, so a motorway services start point is far from obligatory.


2 Consider using back roads

ALK about the blind leading the blind! I have just organised my first run. Since I had not previously seen a guide on to how these things, I thought I would set down what I did and see what response it produces from those members who have far more experience than me at this sort of thing. At our area’s annual planning meeting, I offered to organise a Sunday run, having previously enjoyed the fruits of other people’s labours. I started with a blank sheet of paper, as no one said ‘do this’ or ‘don’t do that’. I reckoned that a drive lasting about two hours would be right, and my plan was to end somewhere that could serve us all a good lunch. I live in north east Hampshire, and since this area had not been covered recently, I decided to stick to home territory. I own a 1990 Eunos Roadster, but also have an a 1955 FB Mondial motorcycle on which I compete in road trials. I have an Auto Cycle Union licence for these events, but as far as I can see the only rule from the massive rule book that applies to me is the requirement that false teeth should be removed before the competition starts!

Here are my top tips: 1 Choose a start point with a loo! Pegging the start requires some thought. It needs to be somewhere easy to find, and preferably a location with toilets, a coffee shop and plenty of parking space. I opted for Fleet Services on the M3, being careful to identify which side of the motorway we should meet. A lot of pubs now open on Sunday mornings and are happy to provide

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Next, I thought about the roads and it was important to do more than take people down meandering lanes at 30mph, with the prospect of horse riders around every corner. I wanted to include some roads on which an MX-5 could have the opportunity to clear its pipes. I would imagine that everyone has a few stretches of road like this, near home. So, using a map I began to trace out the route. Since the Mondial is only 175cc, back roads are its natural territory so I have a fair knowledge of pleasant local roads that suit both my bike and the Eunos. Use your spare time to investigate the highways and byways in your MX-5 – it is a wonderful antidote to pelting along motorways or sitting in traffic queues.

3 Use all your senses The expectation is that Club runs are driven with your Five’s top down, so another factor to consider is sights and smells. On the upside, we went past a lavender farm, which smelt lovely. On the downside, a couple of farmers had just put slurry on their fields, but that is the countryside for you. For sights, identify attractive towns and villages to drive through. The Church of England may be looking to shed bishops like old socks, but the variety of village churches is a lasting visual pleasure for all of us.

4 Practice the route Having devised a rough route from the map combined with local knowledge, it was time to get in the car and drive the route. The

Do try to give useful information based on what will be seen at a given point. Do not just say, after point to point mileage is indicated as 0.6 miles, ‘right turn’. Say ‘right turn into Bowling Alley, signposted Crondall & Well, Chequers PH on left’. Giving that information helps a navigator to be sure that the turn is the right one, and it also gives a clue as to the general direction of the route. So even if a turn is missed, the navigator knows that the route is heading toward Crondall, and they will thus be able to rejoin. Where road numbers are displayed, they should be included in the route card.

8 Check everything again You will need to spend some time after the first drive of the route to pull together all the route information you have acquired to produce the first draft of the route card. Then you need to drive the route again, as you would expect to on the run proper. On the second drive, finalise the route, mileages and other information on the route card and determine the timings.

9 Be flexible Be prepared to revise the route to keep your time near the two-hour target (or whatever your local members prefer). If you have to eliminate some of the route, then you will need to do a third drive to pick up fresh route information and make sure you are down to your selected time.

10 Don’t forget the food! Finally, settle on the venue for lunch. It is not that easy to find somewhere that will be happy to take 20 or more people at around midday. I could not get a booking at my favoured restaurant until 2.30pm on a Sunday two months later. You may have to adjust the start time so you are not hanging hungrily around the restaurant waiting for your tables to be prepared.

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Gasket case

How to change your Mk1 or Mk2’s cam cover gasket and crank angle sensor O ring One of the most common places to find an oil leak on B6 and BP MX-5 engines is from the cam cover gasket and the crank angle sensor O ring. ROBBIE MARSH shows you how to replace these two parts on a Mk1 and Mk2, and recommends using genuine Mazda pieces to ensure the best fit.


Evenly undo the eleven 10mm bolts that secure the cover to the cylinder head.


Remove the spark plug leads by pulling the rubber insulator, not the lead. Note down their locations. On 1.8 engines the coil pack is on the other side of the engine. Also unplug the connector for the crank angle sensor and the low tension coil plug.


…to allow the coil pack to be moved out of the way of the cam cover.




Pull the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve out of its rubber seal.

Lift the cam cover off the engine. The gasket may stick to the head as you lift the cover off and engine oil may drip out – take care not to contaminate the timing belt.

Next remove the two 12mm bolts which secure the coil pack to the cam cover. On later engines the bolts go in horizontally, from the rear of the cover. One of the bolts will also secure a bracket for an electrical connector.


Then remove the breather pipe from the air intake pipe.


There is a hard-to-reach bolt under the coil pack which needs to be loosened off on early type coil packs…

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There should be silicone sealer in the corners of the front camshaft cams

Disclaimer: Any work you do to your car is entirely your own responsibility. If in any doubt, you should check technical advice with an independent, qualified person who has seen your car. The MX-5 Owners Club, its officers, the editor and author accept no responsibility for any damage caused to your person or property as a result of you following or not following the advice offered in articles.


technicaltalk and the crank sensor cap. Remove it with a scraper and clean oil off the cylinder head machined surfaces where it mates with the cam cover.

the O ring with the sensor where it is, use a small screwdriver to pry it out.

18 10


This O ring has gone very brittle. You can see that it broke on removal.

Remove the old cam cover gasket and fit the new one into the groove in the cover. The gasket has protrusions which will hold it in place when the cover is turned the right way up.

Using a scriber or permanent marker mark the position of the crank angle sensor (CAS) in relation to the cap.



The securing bolt for the CAS is a 12mm. It’s easily accessible on the 1.6, the 1.8 has an extended head bolt situated between the coil pack and the CAS.

Slip the new O ring onto the sensor and smear a bit of engine oil on it. The drive on the sensor is offset so it will only fit one way round.


Smear a blob of silicone sealer into the corners of the camshaft caps and the crank sensor cap.

20 16


Using a mirror, you can see which way the offset is on the end of the camshaft.

With the bolt removed, the CAS pulls out rearwards.



It’s a tight fit to get the sensor out from behind the engine, so I remove

Fit the sensor, you’ll need to use a bit of force to over come the thickness of the O ring. Once the sensor is installed, line the reference mark up and nip up the lock bolt.

Evenly tighten the 10mm cam cover bolts to 8Nm, tighten the 3 coil pack bolts (22Nm) - don’t forget the connector bracket. Re-fit the breather pipes and connect up the electrical connectors for the coil pack and the crank sensor. While my cam cover was removed, I took the opportunity to paint it with snazzy, wrinkle finish paint.


Re-fit the high tension leads in the correct order, start the engine and check for leaks around the cam cover and crank sensor.

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Magical mystery tour Surprise for one member New Cornwall member PETER BOOTH was taken on a surprise weekend away by his wife Sue. She wouldn’t tell him the destination, but said it would be romantic, with friends and that he would enjoy himself. The accommodation would be first rate and the food superb…


S we drove towards Powderham Castle near Exeter, the approach was lined with signs for the Powderham Castle Crash Box and Classic Car Club. I said to my wife I wouldn’t mind seeing some of that if we had a spare minute and if the romancing allowed – she just smiled! Then we turned left off the road to Dawlish and into the Powderham estate – ‘that’s luck’ I thought. I might even be able to sneak a quick look at the cars in the morning before she wakes up. We then pulled into a sheep field and I noticed lots of tents and classic cars – I began to see the picture. At the far end of the field was a row of highly polished MX5s with tents neatly lined up behind them. ‘Here we are,’ my wife said, ‘this is home for the next two nights.’ We quickly put up the tent, positioned the car in line with the others and went in search of the beer tent. In the dusk we could see it, we could hear the music, we could even smell the heady aroma of beer mixed with traction engine fumes (a curiously attractive odour) but we couldn’t find the gate in the fence. Frustration set in, after five minutes desperation set in, after seven minutes what relief, we found a gap in the fence and raced into the tent. Thankfully we were met by other Cornwall members sat around a table with several empty pints in front of them. We made a sterling effort to catch up and at one point I was even tempted to dance –

Tornado Steaming past: The brand new 75mp h. steam locomotive thunders by at

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On parade: The Cornwall area do their part to raise funds for Help for Heroes by selling raffle tickets to win the 15/20 car at Powderham.

Cheers: The beer tent took some findi ng. something that only usually happens at weddings and funerals! After several small shandies (yeah right) we toddled off to bed for a romantic interlude on our small leaky airbed – any of the chaps reading this will realise I had no chance so went to sleep disappointed! The dawn brought the sound of people asking to borrow buckets and chamois. I thought I had overslept, fumbled for my watch and found it was 6.30am. I don’t even get up at that time to go to work! I put my head out of the tent to see a hive of industry, all the Cornwall crew shining and polishing, washing and leathering their, what seemed to me, to be very clean cars. Not to be outdone I shot out and borrowed the nearest bucket, nicked a sponge and swiped a chamois and set about my machine with vigour and gusto. Once I had finished my car looked much the same as it did before – oh well at least I tried. After a hearty breakfast of bacon, sausages and eggs all cooked in the same pan resembling a six-year-old’s first attempt at a Spanish omelette we set off in convoy for the showground. My heart was pounding! Once inside it proved almost impossible to find where we were supposed to go, mainly because in my excitement I lost the back of the convoy and ended up on the Dark Side with the Devon Morgans! We

managed to escape their clutches unscathed and returned to the MX-5 fold and friendly faces. Once we had been put in line we explored the wonders that the Crash Box chaps had in store for us. Now I’m not really a petrolhead or particularly interested in old engine bits but I did find it interesting looking at the range of cars, the steam engines and the spare part stalls. I was almost wooed by the new Morgan Aero8 until I saw the price. I got into a conversation with one chap about tappets, what ever they are! Things were going well and all was rosy in my garden until 3.30pm when the Devon trade winds brought in the monsoon – my god did it rain! At 5pm we surrendered to the elements and sneaked off to the mother-inlaw’s – believe me I was desperate! We arrived back at the site at about 9pm, after being suitably fed and watered and joined the others in the excitement of the damp beer tent. We actually had a great night, drank far too much and even danced the night away, until the excitement induced exhaustion kicked in. The Sunday morning saw blue sky and more feverish polishing. I wimped out and let the side down by leaving my car still covered in the debris of the previous evening’s storm. After another breakfast that would make Fanny Craddock spin in her grave we said our goodbyes, packed up the sodden tent and headed for home. The more hardened among the Cornwall Crew (ie. everybody else except us) braved it out for another action-packed day at the show. All joking apart we had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the company of the Cornwall MX-5 Massive and will probably do it all again next year – by which time I will have fixed the leak in the lilo, so no excuses next year luv!


Cover story Get the fold factor right and preserve your top cover As the nights draw in and the winter months are upon us, you can seize the opportunity to put your hardtop on. But what do you do with the top cover – all the owner’s manual says is ‘store it properly in the boot’. ROBBIE MARSH shows you his folding method so it doesn’t end up a crumpled mess.

clubcontacts Chairman Graeme Babbs 0131 663 0568 Secretary Katie Pyle 07984 492492 Treasurer John Mason 01423 868263 ■ Postal address for all Club team members is: PO Box 1251, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 9LP unless noted otherwise.

Club Services


Now fold each end in towards the centre. The two types look different at this stage (Mk1 type shown below)

Club Services Team Leader John Cookson 01625 582132 Member Benefits Drew Ford Merchandise Drew Ford & Dee Guest (as above) Technical Adviser John Cookson 01625 582132 Technical Consultant Robert Marsh Dealer Liaison Drew Ford (as above) Club Archivist Andrew Fearon 0208 524 9098



Communications Team Leader Martin Curtis 0775 2750 894 Soft Top Hardtop Editor Tracey Sparling Soft Top Hardtop Editor – from December Sharon Down Advertising Selina Davey Website Admin Martin Curtis (as above) Graphics Iain Fleming

Lay the cover on a flat surface.



Fold the bottom third upwards where the straps are attached. Mk2 ones may need ‘training’ slightly…



Finally fold the cover in half to form a square-ish shape.

Events Team Leader Dave Kiely 0790 0891 868 National Events Peter Jakeways 07792 657231 Exhibitions David Kiely (as above) David Mortiboys Motorsport Ian Palmer 0121 355 8685

Area Liaison

whereas Mk1 covers have a seam to fold along.

Area Liaison Team Leader Mino Manekshaw 0780 1717 001



You’ll need to make folds in the ends, to make it lie flat.


If you’ve got the original bag then put the cover in it, to keep it clean then store safely.

Membership Administration Kernshill, Shute Street, Stogumber, Taunton, Somerset TA4 3TU 01984 656229 Club Insurance Scheme AON Limited Private Clients, Waterfall Lane, Cradley Heath B64 6PU New business enquiries: 0845 223 6129 Customer Service: 01384 552700

soft top hardtop 77



Check area and Club websites for event or meeting details or contact the Area Coordinator. Whether you are a regular or going along for the first time, you will be made very welcome. Central Scotland Gavin Ryans 0771 210 5360

Channel Islands Ian Ratazzi 01534 864279

Cheshire & North Wales

Bradfield Combust near Bury St Edmunds, first Wednesday of every month, 8pm. ■ The Norfolk meeting at The Countryman, Tasburgh, on the A140 South of Norwich, on the third Wednesday of every month, 8pm. ■ The Cambridgeshire meeting is at The Old Ferry Boat, Holywell PE27 4TG on the second Tuesday of every month, 8pm.

Isle of Man Stephen Beresford 01624 880889 Peter and Sonya Jones 01565 653580 ■ A friendly social gathering of MX-5 fans. Come along meet new friends and useful contacts. We are the most ‘un-car club’ around, no raffles, no judging, just fun. So forget ‘wot-uknow’ and give us a go! ■ Club nights – Second Wednesday of each month 8pm in the conservatory of The Birch and Bottle, Northwich Road, Higher Whitley, Warrington, WA4 4PH 01925 730225 We still have many members without email details – if you use email and do not receive newsletters, email Greg and Carolynne Winter 0797 6561 671 ■ Club nights from 8pm on the last Wednesday of the month. We usually have regular Sunday drives from March to October. Also regular midweek events. In winter we have regular Sunday lunch meetings. ■ For our midweek events please contact either Ian and Irene Wilkinson 01472 872577. ( or Ernie and Chris Jackson.01526 398377 (

Chilterns (Hemel Massive)

Milton Keynes Miles Cosher 0792 9666606 Dave Overall ■ Monthly Club meets on the third Tuesday of the month 8pm onwards at The Chequers, St Albans Road, Redbourne, Herts,) AL3 7AD Dick and Pat Harden 01908 615695 ■ Club nights are held at The Cock Hotel, Stony Stratford, 72-74 High Street, MK11 1AH on the first Wednesday of the month from 7pm (the meeting starts at 8pm). There is plenty of parking in the public car park behind the hotel. Members who provide details will receive regular email updates, giving full details of our activities.

Cornwall Sharon Luxton 01872 501375 ■ Club Socials are held bi-monthly at 8pm on the first Tuesday of the month at the Hawkins Arms, Zelah. TR4 9HU. Good pub, food and company. Ample parking. ■ For further details of our runs and events please call, email or check our website.

Eastern Region (has more fun) Martin Curtis 0775 2750 894 Jamie Tink ■ The Eastern Region organises a variety of events throughout the year as well as three regular monthly evening meetings; ■ The Suffolk meeting is at The Manger,

78 soft top hardtop


suitable venue. A second fixed monthly meet takes place every last Thursday at Clockwarehouse, starting at 7.30pm. Drives take place every first Sunday of the month. Unless otherwise stated we depart Clockwarehouse at 10am.

North Scotland – East Lorraine Grant 01224 480183 ■ Driving and social events will be held throughout the year and publicised on the North Scotland section of the above website and Forum, and through the local members mailing list. Pub meets are likely to be held every six to eight weeks.

North Scotland – North Bill Bennett 01408 634410

North Scotland – South Colin Stuart 01382 506169 ■ Events will be published on the North Scotland section of the above website and Forum, and through the mailing list. Contact Colin to be added to the mailing list.

North Thames Eric Terry 01621 740906 Andrew & Gillian Fearon 0208 524 9098 ■ Club nights are held on the last Wednesday of the month at The Eagle, Kelvedon Hatch. Good food, good beer, and a decent car park.


North West Paul ‘Swanny’ Stubbs 07970 352642 Christine Haslam 0161 724 6481 Jim Varnom 0772 9781 091 ■ Club nights are held on the second Tuesday of the month at The Crown, Platt Lane, Worthington, Standish WN1 2XF, and on the last Wednesday of the month at The Boat Yard, Bolton Road, Riley Green PR5 0SP. We meet from 7pm for a meal, or just a drink and a chat. Please look on the website for more details, an interactive map with directions, and our diary of activities.

North East Midlands Richard Pearce, 07866 510676 Kevin Whittaker, 07809 614325 ■ Club nights are held every second Wednesday of the month at venues throughout the Area. There is always a convoy drive departing Clockwarehouse, Shardlow near Derby just off Junction 1 of the A50, between 7.15pm and 7.30pm (depending on distance to travel). If you would like a meeting near you, contact us with details of a

North West Midlands Lee Polshaw 01782 878180


Northampton Ken Stanbury 01604 750341 Lewis Craik 0777 590 5411 ■ From October 20, Club nights will be held on the third Monday of the month (except December) at The Overstone Manor, Ecton Lane, Sywell, NN6 0BB where we have arranged dedicated parking for MX-5s and an exclusive meeting area. Owners start arriving from 7pm, often to take advantage of the carvery and the meeting proper starts at about 8pm. ■ Visitors and new owners are always most welcome. For up-to-date information, please visit our local web forum“

Northern Ireland Steve McKnight 02891 461411/07876 394667 ■ The Northern Ireland MX-5 owners club usually meets at 7.30pm on the second Wednesday of each month during the Winter months. This is at the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Maynard Sinclair Pavilion in Dundonald (beside Dundonald House). During the spring/summer months these meeting are replaced by an evening run, starting around 7:15pm. Also during the spring/summer months we have at least one Saturday event/run. Details of our meetings, runs and events can be found on the Northern Ireland Area of the MX-5 Owners Club website ■ If you are a new Member or are thinking of becoming a member you will be made very welcome – why not come along and join us on one of our events/runs and join in the fun and friendly atmosphere? Contact Steven for further details.

Oxford Jenny & Dave Ward 01235 525843 or mobiles 0771 1547 669 & 07803 702 207 ■ Club nights are on the first Wednesday of the month at the Blacksmith Arms, Old Marlow Road, Handy Cross HP10 9QD and the third Thursday at The Littlebury Hotel, Kings End, Bicester, OX26 6DR. Both meetings starting at 8pm. Details on the Oxford area of OC website. ■ If you want your name added to our area web mailing list/last minute events list please send details via our website.

Peaks and Pennines Jill Round 0779 0982 068 Burton Marsland 07774 410245 ■ Monthly social evenings are all held on the first Wednesday of every month at 8pm at The Queen’s Head, Main Road, Ridgeway, Sheffield, S12 3XR. ■ If you are new to Peaks and Pennines then come along and introduce yourself and your

car. The social evenings are an ideal time to discover what Peaks and Pennines get up to and you are more than welcome to help and organise a run of your own. Keep an eye on our own website and forum for more details of events and activities and don’t forget that every Sunday you have the chance to join us on the Roadster Run – so called because it’s not just open to MX-5s but any type of roadster. We bring together other like minded individuals to simply enjoy our cars on an informal run around the Peaks. We have had everything from MGs Lotuses and remember the Reliant SS1 to mention just a few. So join us for a run and a coffee at the Heatherdene car park adjacent to the Ladybower Reservoir, on the A6013 just north of Bamford at ■ One last thing to those who have submitted an email address – keep an eye out for events in your inbox. Upcoming events are normally notified via email as well so we don’t miss you.

Solent Helen Pinchin and Chris Evans 01962 714933 ■ Club meetings - During the winter months we usually meet at 7:30pm on the third Wednesday of every month at The Milburys pub in Beauworth SO24 0PB. There is good food if required, and plenty of parking. On spring/summer evenings we arrange ‘topdown’ runs ending up at the same or a different hostelry. ■ Weekend events – Most months we hold a drive or event, usually on the first Sunday. These are prepared by volunteer members, and may include a picnic/BBQ (in summer!), a visit to a venue or event of interest, some technical/motoring content, etc. The above arrangements can change. Details of all meetings and events are on the Area website, so please check there (Events and Forum) for final details. We are a friendly group, and would really like to meet all current or prospective new members in the area, so why not turn up and check us out! Feel free to contact Helen or Chris if you have any queries.

South Central Alan & Helen Capell 01483 237064 ■ Informal meets on the first Thursday of the month from 8.30pm The Duke of Normandy Pub on the A323 in the village of Normandy Surrey GU3 2AU. Food available until 9pm ■ October 18, Last of the Summer Runs - a mystery drive and pub lunch Contact Jon and Barbara on or 01483 489887 ■ November 5, Normal Club night begins 6.30-7pm, as the village Bonfire Night will be on. Food will be available at the bonfire or at the pub. Please let Alan and Helen know so that they can arrange food in the pub. ■ December 5, (evening) Christmas Meal. More details later. Contact Helen and Alan ■ If you have just joined or do not receive

email updates please send us an email address so we can keep you informed of any ad hoc events that take place.

South East Sarah Jarrett and Martyn Terry 0797 367 9636 or ■ The South East Area is on the Owners Club Forum so members can chit chat and catch up on all the local and non-local updates. Driving and social events will be held throughout the year and will be publicised on the South East section on the events page of the Club website. Pub meets are either Saturday or Sunday and usually the third weekend in the month, however additional events will take place during summer months. If you have email address then event details can also be sent to you.

South Wales Glenis Jones ■ Club nights on a ‘meet, greet and eat’ basis are held at the Grove Golf Club, Porthcawl on the second Wednesday of the month from 7pm. Monthly runs usually take place on the fourth Sunday of the month (except for Bank Holidays when they are usually held the Sunday before). Runs are prepared by volunteer members and details are posted on the Club’s national website. Email me for further details.

South West Nigel & Sharon Williams 01297 32740 ■ Club nights are held on the second Tuesday of each month. We drive to venues around the area to make the most of the ‘good evenings’. We look forward to meeting new and visiting members. ■ Monthly drives are held on the Sunday immediately following the monthly meeting and at present we meet at 11am Exeter Moto Services bottom car park unless otherwise advised in the calendar. Members who provide details will receive regular email updates, with details of events.

South West Midlands Harry Baldwin 01905 729296 ■ Club nights – first Thursday of the month from 7.30pm. Our venues vary and details are available on the website. Drives take place on the Sunday – 17 days after the meeting.

Tyne Tees Jim and Jenny Dorgan Jenny 0796 0066 995 Jim 0777 605 8905

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areainformation Wessex

West Midlands (Phoenix Fives) Allan and Joy Legg 01258 821199 ■ Club nights are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 8pm, new venue is Drusillas Inn, Horton, Wimborne, BH21 7JH. Sunday drives take place on the third Sunday of each month. There are also daytime midweek drives on either the second or third Wednesday in each month. ■ We have regular weekends away and display our cars at various car shows. For further details of events and activities see the Wessex Area website: or contact the Area Coordinator. Steve Taylor 0792 1198 073 Nick Dougill ■ Meet on the first Wednesday of the month at The Wharf, Hockley Heath (B94 6QT ) at 8pm until late. Summer months are our busiest with a record 38 MX-5s at one club night. It’s a good chance to pop along, meet new people, sort out any car related queries or just mix in with our community. If you appear for the first time and would like a walk around of the group ask for the area coordinators as mentioned above. We are a Forum based region, and all our event planning and banter happens online, so please register and join in.

West London Robert Pain 0208 991 1266 ■ Club nights – we meet on the first Monday of the month from 7.30pm. We are in the process of moving the venue for our meetings, so check out the latest newsletter for details. Members from surrounding areas are welcome to join us. For all the latest updates keep an eye on the Club and Area websites and the Forum.

Western England Jerry Gann and Karen Gough 01275 852243 ■ Club nights – second Wednesday each month, from 7.30pm at The Bull Inn, Hinton. From M4 J18 go south towards Bath on the A46. Take first right signposted Hinton (opposite The Crown). The Bull is at the bottom of the hill.

Yorkshire Ridings (We’re having a laugh!) Mick and Amanda Gauntlett 0771 5908 187 ■ Club nights are held on the second Wednesday of the month rotating around our area: West, East and North Riding. We meet any time after 7pm and most folk have a meal and drinks with plenty of chat and a raffle. ■ February/May/August /November – The Lawnswood Arms, Adel, Leeds. ■ April /July /October – The Windmill, Dunnington, York. ■ March/ June/ September – East Riding, please: refer to forum/website for venue. Sunday drives are organised once a month in winter and twice in summer. We normally meet at 10am for a 10:30am start. The Spring and National Rallies are embedded into our events programme and we usually plan a third weekend away in the autumn. A European driving holiday is run in late May/early June annually.

Don’t forget, when you’re out at an event, take a few pictures and write a quick report to say what you enjoyed about the day. Then simply email it to: or post to: Editor STHP, PO Box 1251, Maidstone, ME14 9LP

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■ Send your advert, including a photo if available (300 dpi jpeg), membership number, location, and contact details to

Classified ads are free to members. Cost to non-members is £25. No trade advertising allowed. Cars Eunos Roadster 1.6i

cambelt changed. Owned and maintained by a qualified RAC vehicle examining engineer (25yrs) 01342 325693 or 07802 904391

£1,950 ono 1991 H-reg, five-speed manual, 109,478km. MoT to June 2010. Metallic silver. Garaged. Cobra alarm system. Kenwood CD/Radio, alloys, Robbins soft top (2002), tonneau, history. Tel. 01270 626517.

Eunos Roadster 1.6i V-Special

Mk1 MX-5 £1,900 1993 (K) Red with hardtop 98,000 miles, taxed and MOT-ed, very good condition. John Addle 01454 294167 or 07966 545755 South Gloucestershire


Nardi wheel, wood trim. wind deflector, stainless sill plates and door edge strips, LSD. No mods. Original down to number plates and exhaust, large history file, every MoT, every tax disc! Taxed to March 2010 and MoT to April 2010. Pete on 07989 725591 or e-mail West Midlands

Parts Red Mk2 hardtop £450 ovno With a heated rear window in excellent condition, garaged in summer months. John 0780 8554923 or 01449 677266 Collect from Suffolk.

British Racing Green, 102,130 miles, tan interior – as original even including Japanese distress flare! Complete with hardtop and pulley storage system. Recent mohair hood, exhaust system and springs. Tonneau cover, custom luggage, spare headrest speakers, wind stop fitted, window protector, alarm system. Full year’s MoT. Manual, air con, electric windows, power assisted steering, alloy wheels, central locking, 10 CD autochanger, still have original radio too. Call Sam, daytime: 01730 813642, evenings, w/e 01730 817191 or email Near Midhurst, West Sussex:

MX-5 Mk1 £2,500

Mike 01837 54492 Oakhampton, Devon

Mk1 black mesh windblocker £75 Excellent condition

and Mk1 hardtop. £475 Recent respray in original Classic Red. Heated back window.. Charlie 01506 411254 Central Scotland

Wanted Harvard badge

Mk2 1.8 MX-5 £3,750 ono

condition, comes complete with cover and wall hanging brackets.

Surround for Harvard badge insert to fit into, approx 76mm x 20mm. Neil on 01744 895600 or 07528 197052 Lancashire, or email

Genuine Mazda hardtop

Mk1 hardtop

£595 ovno

British Racing Green or Black, nonheated window.

To suit Mk2.5 Nevada special edition in Cerion Silver. Mint

John 07985 217444 South Yorkshire

1998, six-speed. I imported this car from Japan in 2007. Only 46,000 miles and fully documented, never used in winter. Air con, ABS brakes, full electrics, BOSE sound system, 16-inch alloys, rear wind deflector. Undersealed and new cambelt fitted.Fantastic condition – no rust! 0191 3847245 or 07860 637659 Durham

MX5 1.6 (Mk 1 ) £2,900 1995, M reg. Classic Red with black cloth trim and alloy wheels. Excellent condition with only 56,500 miles. MoT untli Feb 2010. Part service history and receipts. Must be viewed to be appreciated. Charlie 01506 411254 Central Scotland

Mk2 1.8iS £3,250

1992 K-reg limited edition model, green with tan leather interior, headrest speakers, 60,000 miles only, radio/CD, air con, alloys, elec windows, PAS, immobiliser, satin black roll bar, manual, new hood and tonneau cover, stainless front grille. Recent full service, all oils and filters changed including engine/gearbox/rear axle plus

1999, T Reg, Racing Bronze, black cloth trim, alloys, 69k miles, owned since November 2000

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A warm welcome to all our new members who joined the Club in June and July Central Scotland

North East Midlands

Jackie Mullins, Terry and Denise Stokes.

Helen Amos and Ian Barnett, Ian and Fiona Anderson, Steven and Wendy Copeland, George Dormand, Alwyn and Sue Howes, John and Christine Jamieson, Gordon and Moira Kelly, Suzanne Le Blanc, Paul and Lorna Linfield, Louise Mayes and Logan Wright, Alistair Morrison, Euan and Mollie Scroggie.

Richard Connor, Keith and Clare Fox, Wayne and Melina Hanson, Alun Harry and Helen Taylor, Roy Healey, Martin and Catherine King, Carl Morgan and Claire May, Ian and Jill Robinson, Christopher and Beth Simmons, David White.

Northern Ireland

Cheshire and North Wales

Rob Binner, Dirk and Teresa Broere, Eddie Cairns and Joan Chalmers, Ronald Cohen.

Lyn and David Charlesworth, David and Christine Crozier, John and Barbara Hilton, Christine and Brian Hobbs, Brenda Hughes, Ian and Sue McHattie, Gllian and Roger Metcalf, Carl and Denise Orme, Dave and Amanda Rees, Eric Ridgeway, David Shelton, Elliot Jay Stocks and Samantha Cliffe.

North Scotland (North)


North Scotland (East)

Gerard Kassing and Tedde Stelling, Yuri Vetrov and Tanya Tsyrfa.

North Scotland (South)


Norman Allan, Arthur Gibb, Lindsey and Don Peters

Anne Bourne and Ian Johnson, Anthony Dillon, Tim Hatch, David Lloyd-Roach and Sarah Ford, Emma Vickers.

North Thames


John and Pat Bloomfield, Geoff Brown, Colin and Tina Deavin, Graham Dyson, Pamela and Richard Hagger, Derek and Elizabeth Hammond, Roger and Aileen Ingram, Robert and Jane Leonard, Doug Martin, Dennis McGuire, Chris Murphy, Terry and Liz Parker, John Petevinos, Stephen and Michelle Renwick, Richard Sieben, Mark and Carmella Skelton, Rod Smith, Nigel Tomas, Doug and Jan Tuson, Grant and Amanda Williamson, John and Janet Willis.

Eastern Dan Bacon, Carl Baker, Richard Bett, Peter and Mandy Blacker, Rob Bone and Christine Murphy, Bruce and Sharon Cane, Peter Clifton, John and Anne Cowan, John and Rita James, Sandra and Colin Kelly, Adrian and Angela Levett, Charles Lewinton, Andrew Mainprice, John and Rosanne Pyle, Paul and Karen Rogers, Julie Rowlatt and David Bachmann, Mike and Pam Soames, Stephen and Sally Spanner, Jason Staniland and Beverley Kinsley, Edwin Stone, Karen Taylor, Janice Walsh and Mike Webster, Ashley Ward, Chris Woodger.

North West

Keith and Fenella Button, Katharine and Steven Taylor.

Haden Boardman and Edward Fuller, Graham and Roslyn Bridgewood, Gordon and Anne Cameron, Andrew and Katrina Cox, Gary Downham, Stuart Hancock, Diana and Paul Hatton, Michael and Glennis Hulme, Jim Kerfoot, Eric and Heather Marshall, Nigel Mellor, Andrew and Claire Mountford, Michael O’Reilly, Karen Parr, John and Pauline Reddington, Darren Rourke, Tom Southgate, Lisa Wilson, Mark Winward, Alan Worden.


North West Midlands

Henry and Janet Burkinshaw, Zena and Neil Garnham, Andy Kennedy, Julian Lloyd, Phil and Joy Ray, David and Pamela Robinson, Duncan Saunders, Margret and Dick Shane, Denise Shaw and Kevin Popple, Malcolm and Susan Taylor, Andrew Town.

Teri and Mark Anthony, Ian and Catherine Bisbey, Christine Brook and Ian Griffiths, Robert Coghill, Michael and Samantha Jones, Jon Lambert and Wendy Church, Don McColm and Hannah Dovison, Rob and Nicola Sawyer, Robert and Kristine Ward, Jason Ward, Mark and Cindy Williams.

Isle of Man

Milton Keynes Michael and Jenny Alcock, Amy Jayne Bartmeier, Kevin Goody, Brian and Jean Gunton, Richard and Rachel Noble, Ken and Linda Smith, Christopher Sparrow.

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Sue and Keith Hawkins, Douglas and Muriel McDonald, Shane and Pam Rodgers.

Gordon and Liz Short

David Buckley, Graham and Angela Elkins, Les Netherton, Dido and Jackie Pengelly, Phil Ross, Suzanne Taylor.

Geoffrey and Kimberley Crossey, Mark Cunningham and Aoibheann Bennett, Robert Foster, Ivan and Denise Hamilton, Mike Lorusso and Paula McKnight, Leah McGarvey and Alex Clark, Ian McIntosh, Brian and Rodney McKee, John McMahon, Joe and Joanne O’Hagan, Jeremy Robinson, Laura Soutar.

Northampton James and Annabel Barrett, Martin and Sue Camp, Diana and Chris Glasspool, Denise and Pete Lawrence, Kay McIlroy, David and

Peaks and Pennines Terry Bullen and Linda Tyler, Carlos Flowerday, Frans Klarenberg, Karl Sugden.

Solent Caroline Appleby, Mike Bishop, Wayne Cranwell, Charles Critchlow, Jo Gardner and Ashley Miller, Perry and Sharon Grant, Lisa Hunt and Russell Harding, Robert and Carrie McDowell, Philip Meyer, John and Josie Nunn, James Paull-Edwards, Margaret Roberts, John Warren and Kevin Smith, Helen and Chris Wildey.

South Central Ben Champness and Rosie Weald, Paul Everett, Tony King and Jacqui Smith, Samuel Marshall, Wendy and William Milligan, Easter and Nigel Oxley, Arron Read, Reg and Pat Rees.

South East Mark Andrews, Florence Benigen, Peter and Debbie Bishop, Ian Black, Paul Budgen, Karen Burchett and Richard Bateman, Patrick Carpenter, John Cheney, Brian Clark, Trevor David and Terri Davis, Richard Dixon, Peter Friend, William and Barbara Gledhill, Patricia and David Gluckert, Fred and Ruth Goudie, Geoffrey Grevatt-Chandler and AChandler-Grevatt, Eddie Heron, Glen Howland, Sandy and David Hunstone, Simon Illsley, Jonathan Killick, Tom Langley and Marie Jouffroy, Gordon Lovell and Patricia Hicks, James Luckhurst, Sarah McCrory, Neil and Alison Mitchell, Lynne and Peter Murphy, Michael Nicholls, Barry Odoherty, Thomas Petrie and Linda

membershipupdate Hawthorne, Nicholas Pickett and Diane Hill, Jackie and Larry Ross, Ian Salter, Raymond Scott, Bryan and Jenny Shaw, Don and Susan Smith, Michael Sweeney, Brian and Ann Turner, Matthew Willis, Stephen Wood, David and Sonia Wright.

South Wales Sian-Marie Acteson, James Bevan, Lennard and Antoinette Browning, John and Jacqueline Carey, Gary and Eileen Coleman, Arthur Davies, Kevin Gray and Fiona Gardner, Andrea Jones and Diane Webster, Sue and Andy Rossetti.

South West Carole and Eric Ball, Douglas and Sabine Bell, David and Josie Bennett, Gary and Peni Blackmore, Nick and Jane Blunt, Paul Bradley, Michael and Helen Cordey, Bruce and Gloria Cowan, Richard Evans, Andrew and Clare Gill, Terence Hitchins, Gail Kelland, Margaret and Phillip Mitchell, David and Jan Ovenden, Keith and Caroline Sampford, Pam and Bob Scanlan, Maurice and Judy Shortman, Debbie Wilson.

South West Midlands Jane Barnard and David Curtis, Lucy Dowse and John Marshall,Tim and Jen Janes, Tracy Lepkowska and Alex Garton, Joe Sergeant, Becky Wilson.

Tyne Tees

and Catherine Watson.

Steven and Beverley Anderson, Chris and Emily Bolt, Edwin Boon, Alan Brown, Bernadette and David Carroll, Ron and Christine Cordner, Patricia and Paul D’Eath, Yvette and John Devlin, David Easby, Catharine Gidney, Terry and Mandy Greener, Keith and Janet Johnson, Peter and Christine Johnson, Yvonne McGarty and Peter Hawksfield, Ian and Dianne Morrison, Peter Stewart, Paul and Patsy Wayne.

West Midlands



Kirsty and Nigel Glover, Mike and Morgan Harvey, Sheila and John Kerley, Marilyn Laurie and Paul Watkins, Denis Miles, Geoffrey and Mary Miller, Barry and Caroline Paxton, Laura Slaney and Rudi Butler, Karen Tranter and Rod Cochrane, John Wadsworth, Derek Webb.

Brian Barter, Edward and Linda Bridges, Wendy and Philip Brown, Brian Bull and Lyn Greaves, Robin Green and Jenny Spiers, Elaine Jones and Iain Martin, Robert Potton and Natasha Bowey, Sandie Stone, Anthony Wilmot and Kay Richardson.

West London Stephen Abrahams, Angela and Tim Cherrett, Sarah Coyne, Carol and Peter Deane, Liz and Ed Evans, Cesare Ferrari, Andrew Gray, Grant Klimaytys, Hannah Marillat and Ashley Willingale, Michael and Linda Murphy, Richard and Marion Phillips, Anthony Powers and Carol McMerrell, Louise Simpson and Jamie Munro, Nicholas Townsend, Violet and Adrian Wall, Simon

Emma Aurelia, Stuart Bird, Simon Charles, Richard Craddock, Garry and Gemma Crewe, Philip and Kim Foster, Mick and Louise Garner, David Halstead, Daniel Lee, Peter and Diane Loader, Janet Lovesey, Vipul Patel, Michael and Elaine Rudge, William Timson, Helene Vaulbert de Chantilly and Andy Ashfield, Robert and Catherine Watts, Ron and Lin Wright, Nicholas Yeomans.

Yorkshire Ridings Alan Bristow and Helen Bovill, Colin Chadwick and Fionuala McGlynn, Angela Cox, Tim Crossley, Trevor and Barbara Duckworth, Russell and Karen Flynn, Pam and Nick Gaunt, Robert Gay, Colin and Pamela Gill, Keith Hammerton, Alan Jarvis, Philip and Lorraine Macdonald, Brian and Glenys Marshall, Alan and Gena Patchett, Philippa Ratcliff and Andrew Jennings, Mark Scott, George Swallow, Noel Talintyre.

soft top hardtop 83



Save £££s with these money-saving deals

We have negotiated the following discounts and offers for all current members By DREW FORD 10% discount on all parts for any model of car. Discount code ‘MX-5 Owners Club’. Free same day delivery (business premises only). 10% off all items, email and phone orders only. You MUST contact Paul White in sales quoting ‘MX5OC’ on 01978 663025 or email him: Please be aware this discount is subject to use, the more we use it the better it will get, if we dont use it, then it will be withdrawn.

SFT Up to 10% discount on all MX-5 parts ordered by telephone and over the counter. Contact Paul Grainger on 0121 544 5555.

JIM Parts 10% discount on orders over £20. Discount code is ‘MX5OCF’. See

Tyre and alloy wheel suppliers 5% discount can be obtained with online orders from these suppliers by quoting ‘mx5oc’.

Performance 5 25% discount (prior to VAT) on labour charges for servicing. To check discount availability contact Phil at Performance 5. See

Pipercross Shop 10% discount and free delivery on MX-5 panel filters and induction kits. Telephone 0845 430 3400 mentioning the Club discount. See

Kwik-fit mobile Up to 25% off mobile tyre fitting, pay for the tyres only and no call out charges, any make any model, free tyre safety check. Tel 0800 42 52 62 quoting code Mazda2007 25% off a set of four tyres otherwise approx 15% off. Membership card required as proof. 7.5% discount via online sales off all new and used parts. Quote the online code ‘solent’. Reduced labour rates on all work. Speak to Mark to confirm rates, proof of membership required See also

AA Up to 15% discount. New members to the AA should ring 08705 444222, quote scheme number ‘335466’ and affinity code ‘423’. Existing AA members at renewal call 08705 444222 and quote above numbers plus point-of-sale number ‘777496’. Have your membership number when renewing breakdown cover.

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WIN Classic Motor Show tickets T

HE Classic Motor Show is all about bringing together people who share a passion for cars – and we have FIVE pairs of tickets to give away. Every year this traditional ‘season grand finale’ for the classic car scene attracts tens of thousands of enthusiasts from all over the UK, Europe and even further away. The show at the NEC, Birmingham, on November 13, 14 and 15, will celebrate all ages, marques and models, with a huge and diverse display of 1,000 cars including the annual MX-5 Owners Club stand. Along with the huge car displays, the show hosts the biggest single gathering of UK companies and traders offering every conceivable product and service to the classic car enthusiast, plus some superb and unique show features. There will be the Restoration Theatre, Dream Rides and the Live Stage which offer the visitor everything from hands-on expert practical demonstrations and advice, ten-mile rides in amazing cars, seminars, celebrities and fun!

The 2008 Classic Motor Show was a huge success attracting an attendance of over 45,000, plus a similar number from the adjoining MPH/Top Gear Live show. The Classic Motor Show is open from 10am until 6.30pm on Friday, 9.30am until 6.30pm on Saturday, and 9.30am until 5.30pm on Sunday. Ticket prices start at £16 when purchased in advance. For more information or to book tickets, visit or telephone 0871 2301088.



■ To enter this great prize draw, send your name, address, area and membership number, plus the answer to the following question, to or post to The Editor, PO Box 833, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 9AT by October 14. ■ The question is: How many people attended last year’s show?

Norfolkline Ferries


10% discount on Dover to Dunkirk crossing and ferries to Ireland. Telephone bookings only (0870 870 1020) quoting code ‘talbot MX-5 Owners Club’.

15% discount, by calling 0800 9171898 and quoting your membership number and ‘MXTD’. Or order online at 20% discount off wheel refurbishment. Quote the discount code TWSMX5OC on email or over the phone, or enter on the ‘quote request’ page on the website. 5% off hoods, supply only, 10% off hoods and fitting. Order online quoting code ‘MX5CH’. 10% discount on multiple orders (10 or more) of one item. Supplier of car parts aimed at selfbuild kit car owners. Telephone 01580 893733 and mention the MX5OC to qualify for discount. Discount of 10-25% depending on product Currently updating the website, so email your request – with ‘Club Discount’ in the heading. Detail the product that you require, plus the make, model, year and engine of the car. Send to 10% discount across the car detailing range. No code, just mention ‘MX5OC’. Free postage on all products. Use the discount code (case sensitive) 7e6e57 at checkout, and state that you are a member of the MX-5 Owners Club in the notes panel.

membercompetition Bodykits for the MX-5 and all makes of cars plus interior and performance parts. Telephone Rob on 01422 330682 and mention the ‘ MX-5 Owners Club’ for discount depending on item. Motorsport parts. Contact Mark Bailey at or telephone 07815 636944.

Competition time WIN

Mens MX-5 watch worth £75 up for grabs Variable discount. Custom-made leather seats and retrims. Call Steve on 07807 060439 or email: 10% discount on car covers for your 5. Mention ‘MX-5 Owners Club’. Telephone 0845 225 2848. 5% discount on orders under £60, and 10% on orders over £60. Suppliers of K&N filters. Telephone 01383 841727 quoting ‘MX5OCDFF’ and membership number. 20% of all orders over £10. All designs of vinyl to suit your needs. Just quote MX5 Owners Club. Telephone 01489 795223.

RAC Up to 15% discount. New members to the RAC ring 0800 581 077 and quote code ‘DT1011’. Existing RAC members at renewal ring 0870 5722 722 and quote their membership number and code ‘DT1011’. Call also for 10% discount on European breakdown cover or (if applicable) to have the ‘old’ vehicle supplement charge waived.

Veloce 30% discount on all their products. You can order by phone or online. Quote reference ‘VELMX5’ when placing an order. Tel: 01305 260068. See:

Sea France 10% discount on fares. Call Reservations on 0871 2222500 and quote MX5OC Discount on hoods. This firm, part of MLC Monsoon Limited, has been supplying car accessories and parts for over 28 years. Last year it opened an office/showroom, waiting area and fitting area at its factory in East Sussex. Mk1 vinyl with plastic window, fitted: £224.25 (normally £265), Mk2 vinyl with glass window, fitted: £320.85 (normally £350.75), Mk1 vinyl with plastic window, supply only: £166.75 (normally £178.25), Mk2 vinyl with glass window, supply only: £240.35 (normally £258.75). Prices include VAT. Mohair also available. Call 01323 440422 quoting ‘the MX-5 Owners Club’ for your discount.

HPI As a member of the MX-5 Owners Club, you now qualify for a discount on HPI checks when you’re next looking to buy a used MX5, or any other used car. Club members can recieve a 25% discount off the online price. That’s £14.99 instead of the usual £19.99. To get your discount simply quote ‘MX-5’ and your membership number when you call on 0845 6418020.



T’S time to enter our great prize draw which has a selection of prizes courtesy of MX5 Parts – including this smart mens watch featuring the MX-5 logo. The chronograph watch worth £74.95 is sourced by Mazda Europe. It has a high quality, precise Miyota mechanism as used in all Citizen watches, and comes complete with a leather strap. Supplied in an aluminium-topped box, this will make the perfect gift for any occasion and it’s the top prize in our draw. MX5 Parts also stocks a ladies version. Second prize will be an Autoglym valet case worth £39.10 – this pack usually saves you pounds over buying products separately but you could win it for free. It contains: Super Resin Polish 325ml, Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner 500ml, Clean Wheels 500ml, Intensive Tar Remover 325ml, Jumbo Wash Sponge, Car Glass Polish 325ml, Paint Renovator 325ml, Quick Clear Screenwash 500ml, Perfect Polishing Cloth, Bumper Care 325ml, 36-page full colour Car Care Guide. Our two runners up will receive a Mazda cap each, featuring the MX-5

logo, worth £9.95. The blue cap has a large MX-5 logo embroidered on the front and the beige one has a smaller MX-5 logo. MX5 Parts started as a family business based in Portsmouth, with several MX-5s in daily use within the company. It is committed to bringing the very best MX-5 parts from around the world at competitive prices with the best customer service. The company runs a shop, online mail order, workshop and warehouse crammed to the rafters with parts and accessories for all your Mazda MX-5s or Eunos Roadsters. It is the the sole UK distributor for the full range of products from ‘IL Motorsport’ in Germany, as well as distributor for: Koni Suspension, K&N Filters, Pipercross Filters, EBC Brakes, Magnecor Ignition, Brainstorm Products and HKS. See also or call 0845 3452384. ■ To enter this great prize draw, send your name, address, Area and membership number, plus the answer to the following question, to or post to The Editor, PO Box 833, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 9AT by October 30. ■ The question is: Where is MX5 Parts based?

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Photofinish Think of yourself as a bit of a David Bailey? Now’s your chance to show us all and win a £25 voucher into the bargain in our great photo competition.

■ To enter the Photo Competition, email one favourite picture of your MX-5. Please include a caption, your full name, membership number and area and send to You must put PHOTO COMPETITION in capital letters in the subject header otherwise your email may be deleted by the spam filters. Alternatively you can send your photo to Editor STHP, PO Box 1251, Maidstone, ME14 9LP.

Prints and digital pictures accepted. Digital pictures must be high resolution JPEG format. Please limit any photo manipulation to minor adjustments of contrast, hue and saturation only and do not add text to pictures. Photographs with date stamps will not be accepted. Photographic prints will be returned if a s.a.e. is supplied. The winner will receive a £25 Club merchandise voucher.


Summer By The Tayside by IAN HINDMARSH (North Scotland East)

Classic Designs by VANESSA & GEORGE GILROY (Lincolnshire)

Black And Colour by ANTHONY BYRNE (Overseas)

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Always Check Your Mirrors by JEAN TULLOCH (Wessex)


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Mazda In The Sky With Diamonds by ROBBIE MARSH (Eastern)

Red On Wight by MARTYN & VAL MOORE (Solent)

New Internet Craze by GLENDA EVANS (Western)

Move To Devon by GEORGE WARE (South West)

Millau Crossing by CHARLES KENNEDY (Central Scotland)

Spike The Stowaway by KEVIN COXHEAD (Western)

Loch Leven by FRANK COUCH (Wessex)

Peak Perfection by GRAHAM DOBSON (Peaks & Pennines)

Hard Top v Man With Umbrella by MICHAEL MARTIN (Tyne Tees)

One Red One, One Yellow One by KEVIN ALLEN (Eastern)

Anyone Seen The Convoy? by JAMES FORD (Central Scotland)

You can view many of the photo competition entries online. Visit for more details.

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Soft Top Hardtop October 2009  
Soft Top Hardtop October 2009  

October 2009 edition of the UK MX-5 Owners Club Magazine