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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So about 10-12 years ago I picked up a cat d 1996 mk1 1.8 merlot, it had really light damage to an alloy and front bumper. Easy fix and was perfect for what I wanted which was a little track toy.
fixed it up, put some 15’s, coil overs and a TR lane rollover hoop on it and off we went to the track and tbh I hated it. Way to slow and at the time not great fun.

it then got dumped at my fathers workshop and pretty much forgotten about apart from an MOT in 2014 (it failed) I fixed the failure points but never got it re-tested and back it went to the workshop until a year or so ago when I recovered it back to my garage with a half hearted idea about restoring it.

this week my son has pulled it out and given it a good going over, there is no rot and amazingly no rodent damage. And even with 8 year old fuel and the usual checks before starting a car that has stood for a while it has fired up without issue and I’ve driven it up and down the road.

it needs some work, the paintwork is absolute toast and it needs obvious maintenance in terms of timing and aux belts etc, new hood and the interior is sun faded but everything works

the kicker? It has 42000 genuine miles on it.

my son wants it for a drift slag, I have half a mind to put some nice paint on it and use it as a summer run around/show car but I have no idea of the potential value so before I make any decisions I wondered if the collective here had any thoughts on value as it is, restored or as proper drift toy.

simon
 

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Banish a little rust a day people
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Without pictures, a guess of 1-3k.... but regardless, a good chunk less than what a proper respray would cost you.

Mileage doesn't really matter on these cars as long as they are clean and well cared for. It only adds value when very low. However, any car thats sat a long time like that will need some work as you've said, all the fluids will need changing for sure, the oil has likely met with condensation which can form acidic products and cause issues. It'll need a new timing belt, plugs, likely all aux belts, water pump and thermostat etc as I wouldn't risk anything (especially rubber) that's sat for 8 years. It's quite likely a lot of the seals have dried out or shrunk, including things like valve seals. I imagine the brakes might be binding and at the least they'd need a strip down and re-grease, and the suspension bushed might be pretty rotten by now. Cars don't really like to sit unused and most buyers are aware of the issues this can bring. Poor paint/faded interior will also turn a lot of people away, people are far more likely to pay good money for a shiny clean car with some light sill rust than a solid car with poor paint or faded interior, it just looks more worn out and neglected, and welding is the more widely accessible DIY fix than respraying a car.

Regardless of what you decide to do it'll need servicing first, I'd get that done and use it for a bit then see how you feel. If the valve seals have shrunk and need replacing or you end up chasing a number of issues you find you don't want to deal with then maybe sell as is or let your son have/buy it, if it turns out to be really sweet then focus some time on fixing it up and giving it a new lease of life.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just for background I've built a R33 GTR from a shell, including fully forged engine and conversion to RWD only, my lockdown project was rebuilding a crash damaged B8 Audi S4 and subsequent upgrades to suspension, engine and brake conversion so I know my way around a car.

I have bodyshop contacts so a full respray wouldn't cost me anything like the figures you suggest but only because I have the facilities and capability to do 90% of the prep work and save the labour there.

It is in far far better condition than I expected when we got it up in the air, and in all honesty I never expected it to even start. We had all the plugs out and oiled the bores, turned it over by hand, cranked it with no plugs all the usual stuff before attempting the start up and when we did try it for real it fired first time. No smoke at all so I am confident that the valve stem seals are still good.

Brakes are remarkably free a few runs up and down the road cleared most of the surface rust and the calipers are not sticky, which again is pretty amazing - I was smart enough to leave it stored with the handbrake off so that never seized. But again it did have new disks and pads before it was put away so perhaps that has helped it somewhat

Plan is to stick it in for MOT next week and see what i fails on and then fix that. Following that a full external engine refresh, new brakes and fluid, some new tyres and then perhaps put a few miles on it to see how the bushes have weathered before we make a final decision on what direction we go.

Have to say I thought it might be a worth a bit more...
 

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Banish a little rust a day people
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Just for background I've built a R33 GTR from a shell, including fully forged engine and conversion to RWD only, my lockdown project was rebuilding a crash damaged B8 Audi S4 and subsequent upgrades to suspension, engine and brake conversion so I know my way around a car.

I have bodyshop contacts so a full respray wouldn't cost me anything like the figures you suggest but only because I have the facilities and capability to do 90% of the prep work and save the labour there.

It is in far far better condition than I expected when we got it up in the air, and in all honesty I never expected it to even start. We had all the plugs out and oiled the bores, turned it over by hand, cranked it with no plugs all the usual stuff before attempting the start up and when we did try it for real it fired first time. No smoke at all so I am confident that the valve stem seals are still good.

Brakes are remarkably free a few runs up and down the road cleared most of the surface rust and the calipers are not sticky, which again is pretty amazing - I was smart enough to leave it stored with the handbrake off so that never seized. But again it did have new disks and pads before it was put away so perhaps that has helped it somewhat

Plan is to stick it in for MOT next week and see what i fails on and then fix that. Following that a full external engine refresh, new brakes and fluid, some new tyres and then perhaps put a few miles on it to see how the bushes have weathered before we make a final decision on what direction we go.

Have to say I thought it might be a worth a bit more...
It's hard to say, especially having not seen it or any pictures. Prices are still all over the place and as I said a lot of people are really put off by bad paint and faded interior.
 

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I'd love to think Mk1 MX5s will attract Mk1 Escort money, but I don't see any of the cars on facebook or any of our resident Mike Brewer's actually sell at asking.

A Cat D car will always be recorded and will always be suspect so your only market is someone who has the nouse to look at what's in front of them and asses the risk or price it where Joe Public won't care. Unfortunately the former are also the people that know how Cat D affects the value and you're not going to choose to buy a damaged appreciating asset at good money unless you intend to keep it forever and won't have to consider selling on.

If you've had it 10 years, it's going to be worth more than what you paid for it, but in the described condition, not much more, so I'd get it mechanically sound and enjoy it as it is. Don't let your son have it though.
 

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Ive had a merlot in the past and is was pretty much spot on condition wise, it was advertised for weeks n weeks and i pretty much kept on reducing price til it went. I think this was pretty much down to the colour combo being abit out there.
I love mx5s but walking away from it and looking back at it the merlot never did it for me.

Sent from my SM-G977B using Tapatalk
 

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Banish a little rust a day people
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I totally missed that it was Cat D.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It was bonkers reasoning as well, at the time I think a bumper from Mazda was about £700 so by the time you added paint into that the repair cost was more than 50% of the value of the car - hence the write off.

I think I paid about £2k back in the day and it is money long spent so not really relevant to my approach today. We will see how the MOT goes next week and let that guide the direction we go in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
well it failed the MOT today, three of the tyres had sufficient cracks to fail them - one passed amazingly! the fog light which is currently zip tied on wasn't considered secure enough and there is a small rust patch that needs attending to (already booked in with a classic car restorer to have the work done) and then advisories on the remaining tyre, brakes disks that are rusty and the handbrake "fluctuating" but not excessively.

So all in all I am super pleased, we've decided against it becoming a drift slag so going for a light-ish restoration on a kind of OEM+ theme, having had a wider look at prices I think it is worth throwing a couple of grand or so at it even if I end up keeping it for summer fun duties.

I'll put a thread up to document the process when we start, which should be pretty soon.
 
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