You know what really gets to me when people refer to the MX5/Miata/Eunos? That they’re just a bit of fun and they have a bad image, I say it through gritted teeth, but the word ‘hairdresser’ seems to come up a lot. These tired cliches may have been the general consensus 15yrs ago, but times have changed and thankfully so have attitudes. Mazda did good and shame on you if you think differently. Really, shame on you.
Aside from Rob Godwin’s Eunos featured here, which serves to show my point better than many. Why am I so convinced of the two-seaters charms? During the summer of 1999 I spent a lot of miles driving a brand new Mk2 MX5, working for a long since dead modified car magazine called Revs, we were surfing on the bow wave of all the container ships landing in the UK. Laden with imported Japanese cars, every other feature seemed to shame our own home grown efforts, I remember a couple of supercharged Mk1 MX5s and just how much of a revelation they were. Light, fast and with a few modifications perfectly suited to British roads.
So imagine how tiring it must be to still hear people make excuses for the Mx5? So stop it, stop it now. Go drive one and if you don’t agree they’re ace then you should check your heart is connected to your head. Rod Godwin’s is and it’s pumping hard, it has to as his turbo converted 1993 Mk1 takes a lot of concentration.
First up we’ll deal with the visual side of things, because let’s face it, subtle it is not. Like a brick is round.
It was quite understandably the first thing I saw at TRAX back in September, some people might think the aero is outrageous but that wing was almost parting the crowds. So I asked Rob about it and as he’s a qualified car designer, graduating with a degree from the prestigious Coventry course, his reply of ‘as a rule if it looks like it should work, it will,’ makes a lot of sense to me. Aerodynamics are often something that suffer at the hands of vanity, why fit full race brake pads or a huge turbo but then baulk at the thought of fully functioning aero to support it?
Rob worked his way through a Mk2 Golf at college, stripping it out and fitting a Passat sourced 16v motor. By his own admission it was bought and run cheaply thanks to his student status, this meant when he left and needed a reliable motor for finding work, the Golf wasn’t up to the job. We’ll skip over the Clio he bought and move quickly on, just like he did to this 1993 Eunos (Miata in the US, MX5 in the UK and Eunos in Japan), we’re in the UK so it’s an import model we’re looking at here.
After some research, Rob settled on the first one he saw. It was the right colour and spec, so why not? Reliability, cheap to buy, cheap to insure and easy to modify all sorted.
Within a week it was on some budget spec coilovers and ATS Cup rims, I ask Rob if they were a hang over from his VW days? He tells me probably, but that he also seems to have a thing with ATS rims in general. Thankfully they keep getting wider.
Going through various different degrees of ride height and look, the main turning point was when Rob photoshopped a big wing on to a picture of the 5. As he remembers, “I was looking at the JPS liveried MX5 from Japan,” when pushed he says he only did the render because Photoshop was open on his computer, maybe it was instinct? Friends said he should do and it and as one them was selling a suitably large wing, it happened.
Rob freely admits at that time the wing was fitted purely because it looked cool, but like I said when you talk to Rob prior to that moment his attention was focused on making the 5 look good. After that things changed, in fact not long after the turbo kit was fitted… And another daily was bought.
The canards came next, home made, they went through a few different profiles and shapes before Rob was happy.
‘Now people started to ask why have you done that? Does it work?’ From here on in, everything was researched and is based on aerodynamic fact. Rob using online resources and his own experience in simply driving the thing. Something a lot of people underestimate, as he says, “I haven’t got a windtunnel in my back garden and there are no graphs or figures, but the way the car drives now it absolutely works.”
What Rob has done is bold, we all like to think we know a bit about making our cars go faster and often we’ll spend a lot of money on chassis upgrades, or horsepower increases. Yet with basic tools in the garage at home, Rob has managed to improve the road holding of his project on a strict budget. That’s got to be worth a try huh?
No matter what you think of the overall result, Rob has heard it all before, “It’s my car, I designed it the way I like. A lot of the comments I get make me laugh.”
Sat in the tight passenger seat, the Megasquirt ECU is alongside your right calf, the stripped interior is very purposeful and in keeping with the rest of the project.
And of course there’s the blown 1.6 motor that it bosses around, I duck in with Rob as we head off to find some quiet roads and instantly you get a feeling of intent. It’s not overly noisy, although with little in the way of an interior, and 241bhp in front of you it’s not exactly quiet either. It’s solid, yup that’s what it is, close your eyes and you could be in a bigger GT car, I want to say Supra or Skyline GTST, opening my eyes and the handling snaps me back to reality.
Even at the relatively low speeds we’re doing on the open roads, the mechanical grip is ace. 9in wide ATS Classics and 215 section Toyo Proxes T1R will help that, the extra girth along with the N2 front arches and GT rears are a recent addition and complete the external transformation for Rob.
In fact he reckons the project is pretty much complete. What he really wanted was an S13, but what he’s ended up with is so much more to us… Although we’re beginning to wonder just how that S13 would have turned out. The MX5 has taught Rob to spanner in earnest, whilst being a simple car to work on, as he says, “It’s all put together with 1omm bolts, simple and logical.”
If you still think it’s all show, then look at those factory standard headlights. Rob had a set of RS Active headlights fitted for a couple of years, low profile they look good but when he found out how much they were worth and having picked them up for much cheapness, they were sold. Rob saying, ‘The lights make it look happy, so they only go up when it’s dark.”
The money going to fund an oil cooler and some mapping.
So what’s next? More than likely a 350z project, or a rebuilt bottom end and more power. But we suspect it will be the former, the Eunos just seems such a ‘complete’ package as it is here.
Sat here Rob has covered some serious miles over the last few years, meeting people through the Mx5 has been a huge plus to the whole process. The MX5 Nutz forum being his main source of information and inspiration, which he can’t speak highly enough of.
Go on, admit it, looks pretty good huh? Sure Mx5 ownership might not be for everybody, but you should try it at least once… You might even enjoy it.
More Miata/Eunos/MX5 stories on Speedhunters
Read all about Rob’s build in this excellent and comprehensive forum thread, with the obligatory roll cage in living room shots…
1993 Eunos Roadster S Special
Engine – 1.6-litre, 4-cyl, 16v, B6 engine, TD-04 turbo, GReddy manifold, custom 2.5in stainless steel twin silencer turbo back exhaust with de-cat, Universal Intercoolers XL intercooler with modified piping, RX-7 460cc injectors, custom dual-feed fuel rail, Walbro 190lph fuel pump, Mocal 16-row oil cooler with thermostatic sandwich plate, Pipercross air filter, relocated expansion tank, universal BOV, Megasquirt ‘MSPnP’ standalone ECU, Innovate LC-1 wideband sensor, GM AIT sensor (AFM-delete)
Transmission – Factory 5-speed manual, Spec 2+ 1.8-Spec hybrid clutch, 1.8-litre flywheel, Torsen Type2 LSD
Suspension – HSD HR Coilovers, Performance5 chassis rail braces, front top strut brace, front and rear subframe braces
Brakes – 1.8-litre brakes all round with Axxis Ultimate pads
Wheels & Tyres – 9x15in ATS Classic wheels, et-19, with 215/45/15 Toyo T1R tyres
Exterior – Autokonexion N2 Front arches, Autokonexion GT rear over-fenders, Garage Vary front lip, Feed style side skirts, Japspeed carbon fibre GT wing with custom bracing, Bomex bonnet vent, Skuzzle Motorsport TSI’s, OEM hardtop, aftermarket wing mirrors, custom aluminium rear diffuser, custom front splitter/undertray, custom front canards, Carbing front tow hoop, TRS rear tow strap, custom vented front wings, custom vented rear bumper, Aerocatches, deep windscreen sunstrip, tinted rear lights, Raybridge headlamps, vented quarter windows
Interior – Fully stripped of carpet, sound deadening, audio, plastic trim, soft-top and frame, sidemounted Corbeau Pro Race bucket seats, Sabelt 4-point 3in harnesses, Nardi deep corn steering wheel, Carbing 6-point roll-bar, custom doorcards, dash-mounted dial pods with AFR, boost and oil temp gauges, GDL weighted shift knob, fly-off handbrake, fire extinguisher
Thanks – Each and every person that has ever wielded a spanner or offered advice, in the direction of my car. But first and foremost: Frank Whitham, Chaydon Ford, Alan Walklett, Thom Simpson, Kyle Tilley, Bruce Holder, Shane Robson and Mike Smith. Also a massive shoutout has to go to Dale Bladen @ Bailey Performance for continuing to go above and beyond the call of duty to get the mapping absolutely nailed, and to the guys at Parcel Monkey for being nothing short of legendary in getting my imported goods to my door with the least possible fuss
can we please have all the detailed pictures on another part of speedhunters so we can see more details of cars that we are more interested in?
I'm an FD RX-7 owner and I seriously consider selling it at times to buy an MX-5 for the lower maintenance costs and fun factor. The guy I bought the RX-7 off gave me the whole hairdresser routine when I said I was looking at an MX-5 or RX-7. I love the FD, really but at times I feel it's a money pit.
Folks that dismiss the Miata are fools really. These are the same guys that call themselves "car guys". GTFO. I've seen and heard from you closed minded people a million times over. I've owned, driven and built lots of cars from several makes. And the Miata is a great vehicle. One needs to buy one, spend some money and then realize how well balanced and fun they can be. And for all you horsepower hot heads, you still got years to go before you can call yourselves a "car guy".
Loving this miata! And the miata special week has made an impact for sure, monday Im going to buy myself a Miata :D thank you speedhunters for making this choice easy!
@denialvibes I got this! http://t.co/MwkZKoPR... Oh. That's not it either. How can I ressis you...
Guess I won't be checking out speedhunters much since all this coverage of the Mazda Miata has taken over.
Read an article on this in a mag last month best write up of any build I've seen it was really funny well done dude its a quality wee car.
"Aerodynamics are often something that suffer at the hands of vanity, why fit full race brake pads or a huge turbo but then baulk at the thought of fully functioning aero to support it?"
Why fit any of it and then run mediocre tires? Cool car never the less.
The MX5 may be a hairdresser’s car in stock form, but they are a Tuners wet dream. Light, balanced and with options for power delivery they are a really well rounded car. It’s just a pity the new ones aren’t as styled as nicely.
I like it loads dont get me wrong, looks stealth. But it's only got the power of a standard s2000. But the s2000 is NA. anyway nice build and feature. ;)
@SMRacing Good thing you missed our Porsche special in September or that would have been expensive :)
@Bvern75 just like they do S chassi week, 86 day, and whatever else so im guessing ur a fan of a single section so this probably isnt the site for you since they have VARIETY every week...
@Bvern75 we are almost done BTW... just one more article to go... Come back!
@rigbone Because this car is a show race car. The owner almost admits as much, but this car is no time attack machine. It's a street car in time attack clothing...which is an interesting trend these days.
@Curlytop get yourself to a track. a 263whp beater miata has & will destroy $100,000.00 machines at thunderhill raceway. S2000 won't even be close.
@Curlytop its got the power of a s2k and weights in at no more then 2300 pounds...thats no more then 250hp, at that weight is a perfect track car
@Curlytop Valid point, the beauty here is the project probably owes Rob about the same as a low end S2000. Yet this is his, something nobody else has.
@brynmusselwhite haha yah, I didnt miss it ! I loved that week too, its just that the porche engine layout is not for me. and yeah they tend to be kinda expensive:P
@bakayaru I'm sure if you modify a s2000 to the spec of this miata the s2000 will beat it! It's not that I don't like this car, I do the miata would defiantly be lighter and possibly faster in the corners and they are great track cars becuause there sooooo much cheaper than a s2000.
@brynmusselwhite I love your sarcasm. Theres absolutely nothing wrong with a 2200lbs car making 240hp. How about a 13b with 400hp, saving weight and space in the engine bay? Ultimately the car is yours and you do whatever you want with it, but seeking exposure thru SH, you have to expect diverse comments.
@Bvern75 funny ive seen some polished turds destroy some pretty expensive high end machines....and no matter how much money u pay for a car out of the factory u cant replace it with the skill it takes to build a turd.
@apex_DNA You sound like you're driving a mustang or something... Since when "show car" is "rice"? I'm sorry but that's one of the dumbest thing I ever heard! That anti-rice mania is becoming more and more pathetic...
@bakayaru Anti-rice crowd? The crowd LOVES rice, just look at all the stupid trends. If aero is being used, has a purpose, and is functional, then it's definitely not rice, but admit it, on a street car it's an overkill, especially if the owner admits its there for show purposes. It's just like the hard parking warriors you defend.
@apex_DNA @Chris Nuggets @rigbone stupid fascists. The anti-rice crowd are just keyboard warriors, and need something to hate. I love the look of aero on a car, and loving a car is why we work on them.
@bakayaru Wow, where did that come from? Listen mister, personal attacks are a sign of immaturity and if I had to guess who's 16 here than it's more than likely your own self.
@apex_DNA Honestly, i think you're maybe 16 years old, totally full of $*it, you don't own a track car, and couldn't rent a ferrari if you tried.
@apex_DNA lemme know when you're at thunderhill next. I'd love to see if whatever you're driving is faster than a turbo NA.
@apex_DNA ok.. last try at logic. 1. nobody is questioning if an S2000 is good. it's good. 2. lots of people say miatas are slow - they're not. 3. $1000 will buy you an NA, and $10k will make it faster than most people can drive. 4. There is NO other car, that will achieve the same speed, for only 11k. 5. with enough cash, you can make any car fast.
@apex_DNA I saw the slick auto miata at thunderhill with my own eyes. Tsukuba is about money. high dollar figures. The miata IS the fastest CHEAP car i've seen. Building an S2000 costs twice as much.
@brynmusselwhite I'm just saying all that aerodynamics is for show unless you are putting some decent power down. I don't think 241 peaky HP justifies the aero work...it looks awesome, but give the car what it deserves. Give it a 450bhp 13B and be done with it otherwise I will laugh when I see it.
@JDMized a 13b swap in an mx5 isnt as easy as you would think, and it is actually a very expensive swap to do, there are reasons that not alot of mx5 actually have rotors in them despite every e tuner saying put one in it
@JDMized I was a tad harsh, there are literally a hundred different engines this thing could have in it. But to dismiss one in favour of another with a simple one liner didn't have enough discussion for me. Thanks for the interaction Mr Mized :)