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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I'm new to the world of the MX-5. Having previously slated them as "girls' cars", I went for a drive in a friend's Mk2 and I have now come to my senses.

Thing is, I don't have much of a clue about what's what, and what is any good.

I have a ?1500 budget, and want something that is ready to go. I have a Eurotrip planned for the end of June, with the mandatory Nordschleife stop in there, and then I'm thinking about modifying whatever I end up getting into a fast fun second car for the road, and a track car.

I've done a bit of looking, and it seems that unless I want a wreck of a Mk2, then Mk1 is what I'm after. Thing is, do I get a 1.6 or a 1.8, UK or import, and if I'm going to modify it and track day it, which will no doubt involve some interior weight loss, is it worth getting a special edition of some sort? I'm a bit confused, so I thought I'd ask you lot, seeing as you're all very much more familiar with 5s than I am.

Any help will be fab, and if it helps, I will be ready to buy at the end of the month when I get some money from a lot of eBay sales


Thanks in advance,

Paul
 

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early 1.6 or later 1.8.

the late 1.6 is the 90bhp version

get a recent import if you can as they tend to be less rusty. Imports generally have an LSD and often come with extras like strut braces and bilstein suspenders.

Limited editions are usually not all that interesting but there are exceptions - the s-special, rs limited and a few others have nice extras.
 

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Get whichever one takes your fancy. Most of the 'extras' can usually come up for sale here fairly cheap and bolt straight on. The exception being maybe an LSD.

Personally I would take a nice clean one with few extras than a tattier example with lots of shiney bits.

Just my opinion though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, thanks guys.

What kind of difference does an import make to insurance costs?

And I agree, I'd rather have a good solid car without extras than a tatty one with. I'm not bothered about things like the shiny rollover bar etc. as at some point it'll probably get a full rollcage put in.

I think one of my friends was saying that it tends to only be the imports that have the LSD? Is there any truth in this at all? Obviously if it going to be a track car, then an LSD would be an advantage.
 

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Import mk1s are much more common with LSD, though I don't know exactly what the score is for UK cars with one, think it was an option (an unpopular one). There are two types of LSD aswell. The torsen one on 1.8s and viscous on 1.6. Torsen is better by all accounts but I have no experience of this.

Insurance wise, it depends on your insurer. Get a proper insurer who deal with these type of cars and it shouldn't matter much. If you're planning on modifying it aswell look at Adrian Flux, Sky and some tohers. There is a thread recomending some on here somewhere.

Edit:

http://www.mx5nutz.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=11162
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Seems to be pointing towards a 1.8 import then. And having done some work on differentials for my degree, I would agree that TorSen far outweighs a viscous diff.

Thanks for the insurers link, I will ring round nearer the time and see what prices I get.

Is there anything MX-5 specific that I should know about when going to look at a one?
 

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As a really broad rule of thumb, mk1 imports will have a viscus or torsion LSD of some sort and UK MK1's mostly had open diffs.

However, the early viscus diffs will possibly be as "open" by now with age, mileage, abuse etc (maybe) and given the age, a lot of cars may have had whatever they did have replaced at some point so you never know


My old white car had an open diff and it was still great fun. I think Richy has changed it to a torsion on that car now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If I was going to just have it as a road car, then I'd happily settle for a car with an open diff. There's little point in having an LSD on the road as you can't really get away with stuff. On the track it's a different story though, so I'm pretty sure I'll be going for a TorSen diff'd car. That said, I'm sure if a decent car comes up for the right money then I'll go for it then add the diff at a later date.

Is there a really noticable difference between the 1.6 and 1.8? There seems to be a lot more 1.6s around at more sensible prices...
 

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If I was going to just have it as a road car, then I'd happily settle for a car with an open diff. There's little point in having an LSD on the road as you can't really get away with stuff. On the track it's a different story though, so I'm pretty sure I'll be going for a TorSen diff'd car. That said, I'm sure if a decent car comes up for the right money then I'll go for it then add the diff at a later date.

Is there a really noticable difference between the 1.6 and 1.8? There seems to be a lot more 1.6s around at more sensible prices...
I've had both UK 1.8 and Import 1.6... I personally wouldn't say there was a massive difference between the 2. On paper there's 15bhp between them... the 1.8 maybe has a little bit more torque at the bottom but most say the early 1.6s are a bit more lively and free revving.... I sold my 1.8 UK car to my friend and I can keep up with it in my 1.6. The later UK 1.8 definitely felt more solid and tighter and mechanically better than my 1.6 (very similar mileage between the 2), the 1.6 has a higher spec and hopefully once i've finished with it will be better... new wheels and tyres made a MASSIVE difference to the feel from the 14" ditchfinders it came with.

The 1.8 had an open diff and the 1.6 has a VLSD again on the road not a massive difference... I like both my UK POV Spec 1.8 and my 1.6 import for different reasons.... bodywise imports are always better in my experience and most seem to say the same on here... UK cars generally are cheaper to insure tho, unless you shop around and get an "import freindly" insurer... you can get some good prices dependant on age/mods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks CRNeo. Useful, but I'm still a bit lost as to which one to get!

Whatever it is, it will be lowered and stiffened, with new wheels and tyres. What size wheels would be best for a Mk1? Depending on budget, I'll probably leave the mods until after the Eurotrip, although I'm sure the suspension and tyres will be very handy for the 'Ring!
 

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Thanks CRNeo. Useful, but I'm still a bit lost as to which one to get!

Whatever it is, it will be lowered and stiffened, with new wheels and tyres. What size wheels would be best for a Mk1? Depending on budget, I'll probably leave the mods until after the Eurotrip, although I'm sure the suspension and tyres will be very handy for the 'Ring!
15" seems to be the wheel size of choice for mk1's... bigger people say it can upset things...

You will struggle to find a rust free UK mk1 depending on your budget... I saw plenty of really really crap UK models the one I ended up getting wasn't perfect but certainly the best of a bad bunch and drove really well.

The thing to do is get a few registrations and do some quotes... I found that I couldn't get a ANY decent quotes with my OH on the policy on an import... hence why I got the UK model... which she never drove because it didn't have power steering and it was too small and had bad visibility with the top down allegedly... so for that reason I managed to get a good quote on an import for me alone after a while and went with that!

I think the main thing with the UK models is more rust that imports in general... and the lack of a LSD if that's important to you (not that you couldn't fit one easily)

Go look at some, test drive some and get some insurance quotes... then enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well my budget is only ?1500, so not huge, but enough to get something that works, and is MOT'd for a bit I hope. I don't mind the odd bit of mechanical work, I have built race cars in the past, but I'm no body expert, so rust free, or at least major rust free, is a biggy. Mostly, I'm after something that will take 3 weeks of Euro abuse straight off the forecourt, and be ready to go whenever the weather is great and I feel like a blast in something more fun than my diesel Saab!
 

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Humm, from what you were saying I think I would hold out for a 1.8. It does look like a clean example for a uk car but in hindsight wish I'd got a 1.8 jut for that little bit more power and stiffer chasis (due to extra bracing). I have bought all the bracing for the 1.6 but would have saved a bit of cash in the long run as there isnt normally much of a difference in price between the 1.6 and 1.8s.

Having said that I love how my 1.6 revs. It is said to be a free'r reving engine than the 1.8 but I have never driven one so wouldnt know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thinking about it more, I reckon you're right Jon. The extra power will be useful when it becomes a track car, as will the chassis stiffness. Didn't realise the 1.8 came with extra bracing. I'm thinking about decatting whatever I get as well, so that'll be another power advantage for the 1.8. Just got to keep my eyes peeled for the right car.
 

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What's the difference in the 1.8?

Apart from the slight power increase I thought it was just the larger brakes and a cabin brace?
 

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I think there's some extra chassis bracing - presumably not a problem to add that to a 1.6 though
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

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good decision on the 1.8 and a nice looking car for the money.

No one mentioned the 1.8 has bigger brakes then the 1.6, so well worth it for a track whore


Enjoy it
 
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