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Jinba Ittai - click here to find out more

Home / History

Mark 3 MX-5 Logo

'Jester' : mk1 Eunos Roadster 1.6i - 1999 - 2001

'Jester II' : mk1 Eunos Roadster VR Limited Combination A - 2001 - 2005

'Tic Tac' : 2005 >

Click to enlargeOn Friday 11th November 2005 I became the very proud owner of a MX-5 2.0 Sport in Winning Blue, with Eibach Lowered Suspension and Winning Blue dash panel.

I collected it on Friday 11th November and have now covered about 650 thoroughly enjoyable miles. There's a couple of tiny niggles I could go into, but they're tiny niggles and don't detract from the fact that this really is a superb car. Kind of an evolved mk1 in my opinion (drove a mk2 and didn’t like it, so this is miles better). If you’ve not spent any time with a mk3 in the flesh, or driven one for any length of time, then all I can say is do so, it is much better for having spent time with.

So the story of my new mk3….

For those of you that don’t know me from the UK national MX-5 email list I've had MX-5's for 6 years now, since November 1999 in fact. I had a red 1990 mk1 Roadster from November 1999 to July 2001, then a 1996 mk1 1.8 VR Limited till late September 2005 (that’s right I’ve been without an MX-5 for almost 2 months!!!) so you could call me a bit of a mk1 die hard fan. Could never imagine not having a Roadster.

I was very much looking forward to the launch of the mk3. Not necessarily in the hope that it might be a replacement for my much-loved mk1 as I wasn’t seriously considering a change. Just interested in how the car would evolve. Even when the mk3/NC was launched I can honestly say it wasn’t love at first sight - certainly when having only seen it in photo’s (which is why the comment above stresses to spend time with one in the flesh).

So the car was launched way back in August and I’ve tentatively lurked on the mk3 section of the Miata list seeing opinions, reviews and everything else I could digest about the new car. I watched the live launch from the Geneva motorshow and read every review the car magazines published. 99% of the reviews liked it. OK lots said its still girly, its still too slow, its not a mk1 any more blah blah blah but overall opinion was very good.

Then the clincher - I get an email from my bank saying they’ve already approved a preferential rate for a loan. So I did a bit of loan hunting, just with the possible prospect of a change. Turns out I could just about afford to borrow enough to get me a new car, depending on how much I got for my current car.

So having established the loan was pretty much sorted I began looking more seriously. I had seen the us cars were available in a colour known as Copper Red. This colour was as near as I could get to my existing Art Vin Rouge VR Ltd. I wasn’t sure if the colour was available in the UK, and at least two dealerships told me it wasn’t.

Then, JCT 600 Wakefield, said, "Yes" if you want that colour, you can have it, a 2.0 Sport with black hood and black leather". Oh my god, I could have a Copper Red 2.0 MX-5 - just needed to commit and make the decision. I was excited at the prospect of having a pretty rare Copper Red car. Most people didn’t seem aware that this colour could be ordered in the UK, and knowing how I like to be a one off I very nearly signed on the dotted line…..very nearly....

That was until I got someone in the US to email me some photo’s of his Copper Red mk3. Now my Art Vin Rouge car looks brilliant in full sunshine, however on overcast and grey days it can look a totally different animal. The previous link shows the car in sun, shade, and on a dull day. Again it was three different cars. The full sun one looked fabulous a real copper orangey red colour and how I’d hoped it would look. The shade and dull day photos he sent totally ruined it for me...back to the drawing board.

So that threw my plan into disarray. I then considered the Launch Edition car. I liked the red seats, and sort of liked the red paint. But decided after going to see an RX-8 in Velocity red, that again its great on a sunny day when you’re stood a foot away from the car. It’s a stunning colour. Some fantastic shades in the metallic flecks. However, if you walk a few steps away, even on a sunny day, it just looks like flat red. That combined with the awful chrome windscreen surround (sorry an Launch Edition Owners reading this) turned me off the Velocity Red.

I never thought colour would be such an influence, but I knew if I chose wrongly I’d spend every minute hating the colour I’d chosen. The decision process went on.

One day on the way home from work I called in to see the local dealer that I pass on my commute, he said they were getting a mk3 in the next day. Superb! I could finally get to see a mk3 in the flesh (this was September). So I called round the next day and I was gutted to see no car in the showroom. Spoke to the salesman and he said it wouldn’t be ready till the next day. Frustrated I set off to get back into my car and saw the mk3 sat in the workshop ready to go into the showroom! I peered through the frosted glass and the salesman beckoned me in. The car was Winning Blue 1.8 with option pack. The colour and car combination just looked fabulous. Even under the dim early evening workshop light it sort of sparkled l like a sort of electric blue. I got to sit in it and have a play with the hood, look under the bonnet and in the boot. I was sold. Even without driving it, I knew I had to have it, in that colour.

That evening I rushed home and arranged the loan with the bank, and next day I was straight to my friendly dealer, JCT 600 Wakefield, and placed the order for my car. I paid my deposit and left shaking with nerves over the most expensive purchase I’ve ever made.

So over the next few weeks I pestered the dealership for a delivery date. They were a bit vague but told me it would be late November, early December. Far too long as far as I was concerned.

I then decided I wanted it lowering as it sits way too high as standard. A bit 4 x 4. The springs lower it about an inch all round and make it look how it should look, like a sports car. Check out the modifications page for more info.

Click to enlargeThe interior is great, a vast improvement over the mk1 in terms of quality - but to me just seemed a bit too dark. A bit too much black going on. So I ordered with winning blue dash panel too. I also ordered some luxury carpet mats. I was going to order mud flaps, but they wanted £318 for 4 – whereas they’re half that price INCLUDING delivery to have them sent from the US. So that's in the pipeline as we speak.

So the spec was sorted, and now I had to wait. While all this was going I had to sell my current MX-5, and in order to do that I had to buy a replacement run-around till the new car arrived. I found a 1991 VW Golf via ebay and bought it for the princely sum of £255! I collected the Golf on the Sunday, advertised the old MX-5 on the Monday and it had been sold by Tuesday! I advertised it at work on our intranet and a guy came along to look at it and offered my £4700 for it (I had it advertised for £5000). I know this sounds a lot for a 1996 mk1, but it was in great condition and quite rare being a VR Ltd. The guy that came to see it had a black Roadster already, and knew what the VR Ltd was, he’d always wanted one in this colour so snapped at the opportunity to own a good example.

A week later and the MX-5 went, I was extremely sad to see it go. But equally really happy that it had gone to a local couple who were as passionate about their MX-5s as I was.

So I waited, and waited, and waited. Knowing it was coming anytime soon and that I was not able to blab to anyone in the club that I was getting it was extremely hard. I had to avoid going to any of the club events throughout the end of September and all of October, yet still maintained my presence on the email lists and signed my emails with my usual signature.

My final indulgence in getting a new car was to invest in a new private registration. I already had one on the current MX-5; ‘PAZ 3293’ and everyone has known me as having this plate. I use it for my email address, ebay ID and other things, so it seemed a shame to lose it. But I had the opportunity to get a reg that I considered to be that bit special. So, I have now the registration “MX5 1 OFF”. I bought the plate direct from the DVLA, and was quite surprised that no-one had already bought it.

Once I had the plates made up I took the documentation and the plates down to the dealership ready for the car’s arrival. Then, amazing news, the car was coming early! It had a due date of the end of October, a whole month early. I was so excited. Sadly though, it didn’t arrive in late October and finally arrived Friday 4th November. I shot down to the dealership as soon as I knew it was there, just so I could take a look at it, and see it finally, in the flesh (before getting its suspension lowered and the dash panel fitted).

So a week later, the car was ready. It had all the mods done and a Pre Delivery Inspection and the reg plate all sorted.

Collecting the car from the dealership - click to enlargeAll I had to do was collect the car. I even managed to keep the imminent arrival secret from my partner and my family. I managed to get to the dealership without the Golf and brought the car home to surprise everyone. I was greeted with various expletives that I can't repeat here. Everyone loves it. I also surprised the local club members on a club drive.

So now everyone knows I can chill out and enjoy the bloody thing!