Mazda MX-5 Miata banner
1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

This is my first post to your forum because after seeing so many members and their vehicles at Japfest yesterday, I was rather hoping that some of you could help me with a small dilemma...

I have about five grand to play with (so far) and for months now I've been trying to choose from a (not so) short-list of about ten different cars. And when I did finally come close to making a decision between the MK2 Golf and a fifth generation Honda Civic, I saw a modified MX-5 on my way to college that blew both lead contenders out of the water. This made me realise that I'd never really considered anything from Mazda nor anything RWD before. Now at the top of my "short"-list are the MX-5 NA/NB and the RX-7 FC, both of which have superb styling and performance potential.

Although yesterday was useful in helping me decide between the MX-5 and the RX-7, I still can't make up my mind between the NA and the NB. And since I can't choose between them aesthetically, I was hoping that those of you who have modified and driven both could help.

I want something that will be quick off the line and have a lively, sharp, go-kart feel to it in the corners (think classic Mini Cooper). Whichever generation I go for, my plans are to strip most of the interior, as well as all of the mod cons (i.e. ABS, air conditioning, electric windows/mirrors, central locking, stereo etc.), lower (very low), stiffen the chassis, turbo charge, fit a Torsen LSD (if not already fitted), coil overs, front and rear strut braces, roll bar, bucket seats and harnesses, etc.

Therefore (finally) my question is, of the NA and NB MX-5s which has the most potential as a hot off the line, quick in the corners track day racer? Which (post some serious modification) will win a race basically? Apologies in advance if this seems like a futile question but please bear with me because it's the final part of my elongated deciding process. :)

Warmest wishes,
Leslie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,421 Posts
Usually everyone just answers with what they own, which is fair play as it's what they have experience of.

Although I remember on here reading "An Italian would buy a Mk1, whereas a German would buy a Mk2" which I kind of like.

I personally don't like the look of a standard Mk2, but modified I think they look amazing - just a simple OEM aero kit and some lows - plus I find mine very go cart like, but then I've not experienced a Mk1.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
592 Posts
Having owned various Mk1s and an early Mk2, I would say the Mk2 is a better car in every way except looks (subjective) and price (I paid ?675 for a very decent Mk1, expect to pay at least double for a decent Mk2).

"Very low" will ruin whatever car you choose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
282 Posts
I've had both. NA, no contest.

You could get a very nice example for your money and have a little left of to personalise it & to spend on a few track days.
 

·
watch this...
Joined
·
4,290 Posts
Hi Leslie, nice to see you've signed up, as per our conversation yesterday I'd suggest you go for which ever you like the looks of. They both drive well and the skys the limit with modifications.
When I bought my most recent one I had decided to buy a mk2 but a couple of mk1s made the short list and to be honest I nearly bought BOM - the white mk1 that my friend Dan bought, but as i knew it would be a while before I could afford to do performance modifications I opten for a mk2 import with the short gearing, lsd, higher red line and bonkers dials. Also as I said with your budget you can get whatever you like as there aren't many mk1s or mk2s that command more than 5k!

best of luck in your search, in fact you could always buy one of each!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,172 Posts
The answer is simple the mk2 is far more modern carries additional weight have more powerful engines to accommodate the extra weight and look different, whereas the mk1 is older far more raw, lighter and is like driving a go-kart lights go up, lights go down all the way sort the brakes (since in std form they don't have any), suspension, geometry, stick some FI under the bonnet and smile, the 1600 revs more freely than the 1800 however I am biased ....
 

·
Payday! Aaaand it's gone.....
Joined
·
2,870 Posts
5k could probably get you a s2000, I know i would have one if I had that money.

as for mk1/mk2, mk2 for me, but then that's as a 'daily' choice, if you were stripping and making if faster a mk1 would be the more sensible choice and 5k would even buy a ready sorted one.

I'd say the RS is the one to go for in mk2's, that or a mazdaspeed if you can find one, but it would seem a waste to gut it of all its features to save weight.

or, you could possibly wait, add a bit more to the kitty and build a MEV? Providing you don't want it as a daily of course.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
748 Posts
well both cars make around the same power (or little as no differance in regards to speed) so I'd say its more of a personal taste issue. Their tends to me more out their for the NA in the style area but the NB witht the right kit can be just as nice

typically if you want more speed out a 5 the generial concencis is that its far cheaper and easier to just cut dead wieght out of it rather then boosting power to get a better power to wieght ratio.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@ RyanT
"An Italian would buy a Mk1, whereas a German would buy a Mk2".
Most succinct, thank you.

@ LilWashu
"Very low" will ruin whatever car you choose.
Very true however, it does appeal to the poser in me but I?ll make sure it?s adjustable.

@mabt5s
?the mk1 is older far more raw, lighter and is like driving a go-kart? the 1600 revs more freely than the 1800 however I am biased.
Rawness is defiantly something I?m after. I feel another question coming on, 1600 or 1800 for the quickest 0-60mph time?

@GmoLargey
Your car is exactly the reason why I can?t discount an NB. Looks fantastic mate.
I should confess that I?m not a huge S2000 fan. The styling just isn?t my cup of tea, otherwise you?re probably right about keeping my options open (exactly the reason why it's taken me this long to get only this far). :)

@BlitzWing
Well both cars make around the same power (or little as no differance in regards to speed) so I'd say its more of a personal taste issue.
Thanks for clarifying this, I presumed that?s what it would come down to.

Typically if you want more speed out a 5 the generial concencis is that its far cheaper and easier to just cut dead wieght out of it rather then boosting power to get a better power to wieght ratio
My plan exactly.

Thank you to all those who took the time to offer their advice and/or opinion. It?s very much appreciated. You to you I?m pretty much decided on the NA/MK1, simply because of the thought of its simplicity and rawness, which leads me to my next question?

The 1600 or the 1800? I know it?s likely been asked a thousand times already so I?ll comb through the forum a bit but whilst we?re here, any opinions? Bearing in mind that I?m planning on competing in a few sprints and hill climbs in the IOM next year and am looking to build something that?s quick off the line and out of the hairpins.

Thanks again,
Leslie
 

·
erk alors el blast from th' past dude
Joined
·
4,474 Posts
I'd be checking the class splits if you are doing sprints a MK1 1.8 is likely to have an edge
over a MK1 1.6 just on power to weight I did see a chart somewhere with the various engine
output ratings surprisingly not all MK1's are the same. (and I don't just mean the 88bhp)
Meanwhile...
 

·
Early Man
Joined
·
3,324 Posts
Go for a test drive in both mk's. Several test drives actually. There are lots on the market so you don't need to worry about missing out on 'teh one'. Then choose which ever model you prefer the feel of.
 

·
9 points, $20,000 and a lot of happiness.
Joined
·
20,813 Posts
Go for a test drive in both mk's. Several test drives actually. There are lots on the market so you don't need to worry about missing out on 'teh one'. Then choose which ever model you prefer the feel of.
+1

Cause if you want something quick off the line an MX5 is not really a good choice.
Sure they go a lot better when FI'd, but still the best bit about the car is it's real world type handling.

You also need to decide if your more interested in getting it really low or decent handling as you can't have both from a MX5.

I'd also think twice about gutting the car.
Sure it might be worth a few 1/10ths on a track/hill climb, it's a fooooooookin nightmare to live with daily though, plus you've pretty much halfed the cars value as well.

How about an Elise ot VX220 instead?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Hello,

I've owned both so please allow me to add my perspective.

If you plan on modifying the car there seems to a be a lot more aftermarket parts that are available for the Mk1, and a much stronger market for second hand bits so you will probably have more fun with a mk1 if you are the sort of person that constantly changes parts. I feel that is the most important factor if you are considering both cars but are keen on modifying.

In terms of how the cars drive and feel, the Mk2 is a much nicer place to be, as in my opinion the mk2 interior is much more superior and feels like a modern car and the mk1 quite retro but also dated. The mk2 feels tighter to drive although this is probably down to it being a decade newer however. When people say the mk1 is more "go-cart" like I do not understand what they mean, the set up (suspension, steering wheel, seating position) makes a much bigger difference than is present between the Mk1 and mk2. On a final note when comparing the 1.6 and 1.8 engined card, if you compare acceleration times you will find little in it however the 1.6 does feel laboured on the motorway compared to the 1.8 which pulls in gear much better and is a lot better for long distance drives.

Hope this helps. They are fun cars ultimately so enjoy it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So far, the general consensus seems to prefer the 1800 over the 1600 for performance. Agreed? However, I?m still a little unclear with regards to something mabt5s said,
1600 revs more freely than the 1800
Perhaps you could clear this up for me by explaining, in real terms, would this means ? bearing in mind my intensions for the vehicle (i.e. racing)?

@Gixer
Cause if you want something quick off the line an MX5 is not really a good choice.
Sure they go a lot better when FI'd, but still the best bit about the car is it's real world type handling.
I?m looking to build something that will be quick off the line and in the corners. And please forgive my ignorance here, but what does FI?d stand for?

You also need to decide if your more interested in getting it really low or decent handling as you can't have both from a MX5.
Understood, I?m probably be doing a lot of tinkering with the setup. No doubt mistakes will be made and lessons will be learned. :)

I'd also think twice about gutting the car. Sure it might be worth a few 1/10ths on a track/hill climb, it's a fooooooookin nightmare to live with daily though, plus you've pretty much halfed the cars value as well.
Just to be clear this car will not be a daily drive. I will be building it up with the intension of racing and for general high speed fun.

How about an Elise ot VX220 instead?
Both are possibilities however, a MK1 MX5 is still top of my list simply because of the styling.

Thanks again to you all. Your opinions and advice are very much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,172 Posts
II've owned and driven both the 1600 and 1800 Variants and at the moment on the drive there are 2 1600 eunos's I personally find it more fun with less torque- a
 

·
9 points, $20,000 and a lot of happiness.
Joined
·
20,813 Posts
If your racing it's a no brainer then, gut the foooooker


With regards to 1600 v 1800 a lot of people talk utter bollox.

yep the 1600 does seem to rev a but quicker BUT only out of gear.
Put the car in gear and nail it and the 1800 will reach the redline quicker simply because it has more power.

Besides who cares if an engine free revs quicker without any load


Even if that's what you wanted, a lighter flywheel on the next clutch change will have a 1.8 free reving as quick as a 1.6 if not quicker.

Each to their own but for me it's a no brainer, the 1.8 has:
More power
Better brakes
Stronger diff
Better chassis rigidity
Better reliability (search 1.6 short nose crank)
More options (engine building wise)
More spares (again engine wise)

If you are fitting a SC or turbo and you buy a 1.6 you will be advised to upgrade the brakes and the diff/1/2 shafts to the 1.8 ones.
The later 99-00 engines have a noticeable better designed head, with the motor having a bit more power from both the head and slightly higher compression ratio.

I know there are many on here who's opinions i trust that love 1.6's, each to their own,

Personally i would not buy a 1.6.
BUT if a 1.6 in fantastic condition came up, at a fantastic price i might consider it, but i'd still fit a 99-00 motor, 1.8 diff/1/2 shafts and brakes, so it kinda defeats the point of buying a 1.6 in the first place.

I'm looking around at MX5's right now and it's getting really tough to find NA's in decent condition.
all the ones i've seen so far were right dogs, NB's seem to be in better condition here and the owners don't seem to mess with them as much as NA's.
So there is a good chance i will be buying a NB next.

Your best bet is to get as many test drives as you can and see which you like best

Cheers
Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks very much for your post Mark, it's precisely what I was looking for. I also put this question to a friend of mine, Wayne, who had this to say,

In a like-for-like situation (modifications, tuning, etc.) a 1600 will never outperform a 1800. There's no replacement for displacement.
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Top