Motoring and Property Editor
9:04 PM 6th August 2019
Mazda’s MX-5 Is 30 Years Old - A Cause For Celebration
I’ve always been a fan of convertible sports cars and was lucky enough to own a couple of MGB Roadsters in my early 20s. They were fun to drive, but if I’m honest not very quick and sadly not terribly reliable.
Not being very hands on with car maintenance and with a young family now taking centre stage, the MGBs gave way to more sensible family transport.
Fast forward a few years, and whilst hunting for a suitable replacement for our venerable Renault Espace, I came across a bright red Mazda MX-5. Not just any old MX-5 mind, but a factory approved BBR Turbo variant, made in 1990.
To my amazement, my lovely wife agreed to the purchase and once again I was the proud owner of a two-seater sports car.
The car was enjoyed for many, many years and unlike its British forebear, it proved to be ultra-reliable. It was extremely quick too, once the turbocharger was in full swing.
I am still not sure why we sold it, but it went to a good home and continued to be enjoyed.
I have been lucky enough to drive and review all the latest MX-5 models and they stick to the recipe of being engaging to drive, trouble free to run and above all fun.
It is hard to believe it is thirty years since the MX-5 was launched and Mazda could scarcely have known just how popular the car would be, with well over a million sold.
Never a company to miss an opportunity, a 30th Anniversary Edition has been launched. It is offered exclusively in newly developed Racing Orange body paint, a rather striking hue.
In addition to the paint finish, the commemorative MX-5 features forged aluminium Rays wheels, orange brake callipers operating bespoke Brembo front brakes.
The interior has had the 30-year treatment too so expect to find orange accents on the seats, door trim, dashboard, steering wheel, air vents and gear lever. Recaro seats and Alcantara trim on the doors and instrument panel add a sense of exclusivity.
Only 3,000 cars will be on sale globally and as the UK is such a good market for the MX-5, we will receive a decent quota. Of the 550 coming our way, 370 will be full convertibles with the remaining 180 being the RF (Retractable Fastback). £28,095 will buy the convertible, add £1,800 for the RF.
Under the bonnet sits Mazda’s powerful new 184PS 2.0-litre engine mated to a slick six-speed manual gearbox and to make the most of the MX-5’s legendary handling, Bilstein dampers, a strut brace and a limited slip differential are fitted.
Has all this whetted your appetite? Do you crave the thrill of some MX-5 action? I certainly did, but sadly did not have the wherewithal to purchase a 30th Anniversary model.
However, there is another way and for just £1,000, an MX-5 once again graces my driveway. It’s a 2003 second-generation model equipped with a peppy 1.8-litre engine. It has covered a little over 70,000 miles and has clearly been loved by its five former owners.
It has had a new hood and seat covers fitted and is in remarkably good overall condition. It drives well and handles beautifully.
There are a few jobs to attend to as one would expect. There is a little bubbling on one of the rear wheel arches as rust tries to take hold and I’m not impressed by the low budget tyres that are fitted. These are winter jobs that I will look forward to tackling.
So, if you have £30k burning a hole in your back pocket, snap up a 30th Anniversary model before they all sell out. They are sure to be collectable too, so may even be an investment in the longer term. Or you can scour the classifieds and take the plunge as I did. Either way you will have lots of fun!