Freedom At Last!

I am ashamed to confess that I have not been as brave as MX5 Owner’s Club member Ady, from Essex, who went out in  the heavy snow this month. In my defence we have had four weeks of blizzards here in Whitby and all I have done is to run the engine of my trusty steed every three days and charge the battery once a week. However, today the roads are clear at last and I have just driven 30 miles with the roof down and the heated seats keeping me warm. The car went well and I feel really rejuvenated but I was horrified by the state of the tarmac. Many of our roads were not repaired after the ravages of last winter and the very low temperatures and ice of the past month have produced some spectacular potholes:

My wife has a ten mile drive across the moors to work in her Mazda 2 and has already had a front tyre replaced before Christmas after a huge crater tore the sidewall out of the front nearside boot. Yesterday she drove thirty miles to our Mazda dealer to have a rear shock absorber bush replaced, I can’t be sure it was a pothole wot dunnit but I think  its very likely!  The other hazard I came across today was the huge amount of loose stones and grit on the road; my neighbour found out the hard way yesterday when he had a home visit from Autoglass to repair the large chip in the windscreen of his nice new Landrover. If you get hit just click on the logo for help:

So the message is: keep a very sharp eye open for these huge potholes and avoid driving through large puddles at all costs, they can hold a very expensive surprise. At best you may need a new tyre, possibly a new wheel and certainly a suspension and tracking check to make sure there is no secondary damage. Secondly, keep your speed down and stay well clear of the car in front to save your bonnet and windscreen.  If the county councils don’t get their act together and start repairing our roads we could soon see more of this:

Finally, a really big pothole can be extremely dangerous and can cause major damage to your MX5. The situation around the country is now critical and if you need advice on how to claim damages, would like to report a pothole, or just want to know more about what is going on then visit Potholes.co.uk, its not as daft as it sounds:

Take Cover!

This 1937 Bugatti was found in a barn last year, where it had stood since 1960. It later sold for around 3 million pounds.

This burst of terrible weather has kept me off the road for ages and it reminded me that many people who don’t use their MX5 as a primary means of transport lay their cars up for the winter months. I decided not to do this because there is a school of thought that it is better to keep using the car than leaving it stationary. However, if you decide to mothball your motor there are some preparations you should take to keep it in top condition until the spring. The well respected Beaufort Restoration Company has produced a checklist of actions to guide you through the procedure and you can download it by clicking on the Bugatti picture above.

Ideally you should keep the car in a dry garage with a dust cover once you have completed the work and you can order this breathable cover from S G Petch at a great sale price. One thing I have done is to install a 4ft tubular heater in my garage, it is only 180 watts and it is just sufficient to keep the temperature above freezing and take the dampness from the air. There is a good selection on Amazon and they are easy to install and very cheap to run. Click on the photo for details:

The Beaufort Company also produces a spring recovery guide which details the procedure to be followed to wake up your car from storage, it is primarily aimed at older classic cars but is well worth reading. Just click on their logo:

You Can Have A Cosworth MX5!

Renowned Mazda MX5 tuner BBR has joined forces with Cosworth Engineering, the premier motorsport engineering company in the UK, to deliver an exciting performance upgrade package for the latest 2.0-litre, 158 bhp Mk3 Mazda MX5. The BBR-Cosworth collaboration unleashes a supercharger conversion that centres around a state of the art 4th generation Eaton MP62 supercharger.

The upgrade increases the power output to a dyno proven 235 bhp at 7130 rpm, with a healthy 190 lb.ft of torque available at 5260 rpm. Crucially the progressive nature of the power delivery means that the delicate dynamic balance of the MX5 isn’t upset, yet naturally with a power gain of 77 bhp and a torque increase of 51 lb.ft performance is transformed for the better.

In addition, to celebrate the 1990 launch of the original MX5 BBR turbo, BBR is also proud to announce a 20th Anniversary turbo conversion package for the Mazda MX5 model range, covering Mk1 and Mk2 variants of the world’s most popular sports cars, in both 1.6 and 1.8 – litre capacities. BBR’s relaunched turbo kit transforms the much loved Mazda MX5 into a serious driving machine, elevating its performance from sedate to electrifying. BBR’s in-house expertise and unrivalled experience with the Mazda MX5 enables the firm to build upon the overwhelming success of the original 1990 150 bhp MX5 turbo kit, updating and enhancing the design to produce a stunning, dyno proven 220 bhp plus from just 1.6-litres.

Finally, complete Mk1 MX5 turbocharged cars with cohesive braking and chassis enhancements are now available from BBR, with options from mild to wild! To get all the deails, just click on the logo:

New Review

Here is the latest review of the 2.0 ltr MX5 from Car Buyer magazine. An interesting profile of our favourite car which is presented in something of a laddish manner – everything is wrenched open, twisted hard and generally viewed at a superficial level. Still, I suppose even Chelsea fans have to work somewhere!

Just to correct some points in the film: not fast? 0 to 62mph in 7.6secs and 132mph sounds good to me! The central cup holders are designed to be easily removed to leave a useful storage box. The softtop and the hardtop both retract without reducing boot space and the volume is the same for both cars at 150ltrs. Finally the Powershift gearbox is absolutely superb in all modes and the paddles give you lightning fast changes, I know because I have got one!

Be Prepared

Your MX5 is a superbly made and robust car, but soft tops need extra protection from the winter elements. Also powerful, lightweight rear wheel drive sports cars can be temperamental in extreme weather.

So first of all lets look at keeping the car in good condition despite snow and ice. Of course the  most vulnerable part of an MX5 is the hood and reproofing it annually is a well worth it, so visit our hood cleaning post for how to tackle it.

The low front of the car is very vulnerable to stone chips and a layer of high quality polish such as Autoglym Deep Shine will really help. Similarly the MX5 alloys can be prone to corrosion and a coating of sealant makes a big difference. Finally give your leather seats a feed to keep the damp out, Autoglym again make a superb and easy to use balm.

If you tend to drive your five less often in the winter then you should invest in a good battery charger, the MX5 has a small current drain even when switched off so it well worth topping up regularly. Next, check your radiator anti-freeze and increase the screenwash concentration so you can see out!

Tyre condition and pressure are most important factors in making the best of the car’s handling; with a good pressure gauge and a tread depth tool you can make sure you are safe. A digital pump saves a trip to the garage and Michelin make an excellent model which I have found to be very reliable.

The secret of staying on the road comes down to smooth driving technique, the MX5 can lose back-end grip very easily on snow and ice and great care should be taken both with the accelerator, and when braking. In deep snow turning off the DSC can help you to move forward but switch it back on as soon as you can. If you have a Powershift then use the second gear fixed mode to get going by tapping the M shift lever backwards whilst stationary.

Finally, click on the picture above to read a very interesting article on winter driving techniques, including a story of a hairy drive in an MX5!


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