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MX5 The Second

I shouldn’t watch Wheeler Dealers, and then go on Trademe.

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Well here we are again, another car in the list.

So this was bit of an impulse buy. I was surfing the Motoring section of Trademe the other night, and came across an auction for an MX5 that was at a low price. It finished in a couple of hours, so I thought I would watch it and see what it went for.

The description made it clear the car was in good condition, with the only issues being a leaky soft top and a cracked rear bumper. “No other issues other than listed” it said. Others had asked the important questions, like if there were any issues with the engine or gearbox, to which a “no” was replied for each. Sounds pretty good I thought.

It was still low with a couple of minutes remaining, so I threw in a bid, only to be countered with an Auto-Bid from another bidder. Now, there is this game out there where if someone has an Auto-Bid to a certain price, you push the bids up until you hit the upper limit and match the Auto-Bid. Its bit of a dick move, but clearly this other bidder didn’t want anyone else to get it, so why not make them pay for it?

Anyway, I chose to play the game, and pushed the bids up. I went too far though, and overstepped his top limit by $10. So, that’s how I won the car. I was prepared to buy it anyway, and it wasn’t much more than I was expecting to pay (and still cheap).

Long story short, when I saw the car, it was FAR from the condition described in the listing. I wasn’t happy, it was actually bit of a neglected dog really. The seller threatened “legal action” based on advice from his “lawyer” late on a Friday night if I didn’t proceed with the purchase. I laughed at the idle threat, did some calculations, priced some parts and eventually went through with the deal knowing that I will get the last laugh when I sell the car on for a profit, and won’t rip some poor sod off by selling them a car in the shit condition I got it in.

I would have liked for him to take me to the Disputes Tribunal based on his threat of his “bailiff enforcing judgement”, because I would have wiped the floor with his face for the gross misrepresentation, not to mention it would cost him a lot more in wasted time and missed wages than it would for me, but I still wanted a project to play with. Who can turn down an MX5 in need of love?

So what was wrong with the car, that wasn’t as described? Well, let me tell you.

Passengers door looks like its been through a fence, with multiple scratches through the paint
Paint damaged on front bumper and bumper held on with zip ties
Electric aerial broken off and plugged with silicone sealant
Passengers side mirror blue

Drivers door card held on with hopes and dreams (not screws and clips like it should be)
Drivers electric window doesn’t roll down more than in inch or two (to which the seller said “oh I think its something to do with the speaker”, indicating he knew about it)
Passengers door card loose, but at least has a screw or two in it
Factory Airbag steering wheel replaced with some cheap “OMP” wheel
Airbag light doesn’t come on, so bulb probably disconnected
Water leak into boot leading to condensation and surface rust
Missing all tools, jack etc in boot
Spare wheel not secure

Oil leak from front of engine, covering it in oil
Valve cover gasket leaking
Running very rich
Gearbox crunches into 3rd gear
AC doesn’t work

So yeah, totally as described.

The good thing is that other than the gearbox crunch and running rich, the car seems to drive OK. The idle is a bit wonky sometimes, but it runs and drives decently enough. It’s a hoot to drive though, corners flat. Really reminds me why I like these little things.

So, what is this little thing?

It’s a 1999 NB Mazda MX5 S Spec
1.8L 4 Cylinder
6 Speed Manual
Torsen LSD
Manual Mirrors
Electric Windows

Someone has at some point spent some serious money on the car. Its full of flash JDM bits.

From what I have found so far, this is what is installed at time of purchase

Mazdaspeed Dials in cluster
Mazdaspeed Type-F bucket seat
Mazdaspeed Front strut brace
“Roadster” metal shifter surround
Racing Beat Type V “style bar”
Twin outlet stainless exhaust (Racing Beat Power Pulse Dual, maybe. Need to clean and see)
Maxim Works stainless headers
Tein Type-NA circlip suspension
AutoEXE braided front brake lines

And the additions/changes I make to it as I go

Standard 14×6 wheels
Standard Nardi Torino airbag wheel with stitched on cover
NA Soft Top and frame
Wrinkle Painted valve cover

So yes. The plan is to basically tidy it up, get it legal again (how it has a current warrant I will never know), make it less Stance-Bro, and a car that a new owner can jump into an enjoy. In the meantime I will have some fun working on it, some satisfaction in cleaning it up, and enjoyment driving it.

Heres a quick walk around video of the car, and its various issues

And some photos

And some photos before it was sold

Update 8/3/20 – Registration is currently on hold.