Mx-5 in good company

How I ended up with my Eunos Roadster


Jonny Edge tells us how he knew the Eunos Roadster was the ideal project car

Waitrose, we can blame Waitrose for this one.

They make the best ravioli and I’m more than happy to drive 20 miles to get a high quality packet of ravioli. That probably strikes you as being a bit odd, but is it stranger than finding a random Mazda MX-5 specialist out in the middle of the Devonshire countryside?

On my way back from a ‘Ravioli Run’ across the Devonshire hills, a small garage appeared by the name of ‘Southwest MX-5s’. Outside was a selection of five or six of the little Japanese roadsters, and being a curious sort of chap when it comes to specialist dealerships the opportunity to have a little look around was just too difficult to resist. A week later, the keys to an imported MX-5 (more commonly known as the Eunos Roadster) were being dropped into my hand. How on earth did all that happen?

Well, as it turns out, me and my two best mates were looking for a little project car we could work on for our podcast, Smooth Traffic. After looking at a few tech-laden luxury cars on eBay, the back-to-basics simplicity of the Roadster was a big appeal. Southwest MX-5s had a few cars that weren’t perfect by any means, and this was sort of what we were looking for: something to have a bit of fun with, work on, fix up and hopefully not lose money on.

With that concept in mind, the set of £1,000 to £2,000 cars on offer gave us the perfect foundation to build our idea on, and we eventually ended up with the car you see in the pictures here.

MX-5 Eunos Roadster parked outside in the sunshine

What we have here is an imported JDM 1991 Eunos Roadster. It’s a rather desirable specification, with British Racing Green paint and a tan leather interior. Crucially, it also has a beautiful wooden Nardi steering wheel which is a lovely object to use and to look at – it’s probably our favourite part of the car, actually.

With over 110,000 miles on the clock, she’s seen a fair few journeys in her time but she still drives really well – a big surprise for a car that cost us just £1,100. The little 1.6-litre engine certainly isn’t as excitable as it was back in 1991, but it has plenty of life left in it and we’re pretty confident we can extract a little bit more power out of her to bring a little bit of freshness back to the overall performance. We’ve decided to go down a route that’s much closer to restoration than modification, though we still want to put our own stamp on the car – like many an MX-5 owner.

Cat in the front seat of an imported MX-5, i.e. the Eunos Roadster

Ownership so far has been relatively uneventful: we needed a new battery and wanted to change some parts of the interior which have seen better days. We recently ripped up the tatty old carpet but rather annoyingly, we found some rather large rust issues – a common fault with all MX-5s – and so now the chaps at Southwest MX-5s are breaking the welders out to get the old girl back in one piece again.

In the meantime, we’re going to be without the little Eunos for a few weeks, and there’s plenty of bits that still need doing, so if you’re reading this, Boss, do you mind sending me a few more articles to write?

Eunos Roadster parked outside on a sunny day