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Mk1 Mazda MX5 (aka Mindy!)

This is the latest addition to our modern classic family! A Mk1 Mazda MX5 1.6 (UK car). I've wanted one of these since the day they were launched back in 1989. Was at the Car show in Glasgow seeing all the new cars, when they pulled the cover off to reveal this gorgeous little red sports car. Was love at first sight, and said there an then I have to have one of these one day! Only taken me nigh on 30 years to realize that dream, but I was a skint teenager back then (now I'm a skint oldie! lol).
As I've been down lately, Gayle my Mrs suggested I needed a new project to help pick me up. She also loves the mx5's, so initial plan was to get a total rust bucket without mot and do a full restoration. After looking at prospective cars, realized that the £1000 budget really did just buy cars that were totally gone. So we upped the budget and came up with plan B! This plan was to buy a decent enough car to start with that just needed TLC, so we spent ages viewing lots of cars that appeared decent but once we arrived to view found they too needed too much work rust wise. Finally found this one which was in Stirling.
So, she's a 1997 UK car (so one of the last mk1's) with 90K on the clock, came with almost a years mot and the chap selling really didn't want to sell her! As everyone knows, all MX5's rot in the rear inner/outer sills and the rear arches. Mindy still has her original arches, but has had the very lower outer sills replaced on both sides. Not the prettiest repair, but look to be a very solid one. Underneath she's solid, and the previous owner has spent a fair bit on her with the welding and also replacing both rear brake calipers. There wasn't a service book which was disappointing, but there are receipts and old MOT's so some history of what she's had done.
Faults we noticed that needed dealing with first were the hood. It was completely shot, and had temp gaffa tape repairs. There was also a really bad vibration when at 65-70mph. These repairs are detailed in later posts.
So here she is the day we arrived home!

We'd literally just arrived home 5 mins before, and I thought I'd get a couple of pics but as I did, Gayle and my step daughter promptly jumped in and off they went for a wee run!! lol
My plan is to restore her to as close to new as I can get, along with some subtle mods. So planning the following:
Replace all suspension including shocks/springs, all wishbones etc then laser 4 wheel alignment Stainless steel exhaust Replace hood fully strip underneath and apply new underseal plus having chassis wax injected. New brakes Rear sills to be replaced by BorderMX5 so done professionally and will be undetactable once done Full respray (in either the original classic red or possibly the new Mazda "Soul red" metallic red.) Custom leather Interior retrim including replacing the seats with tombstone ones New wheels and tyres (Cades Enos with a bit of dish) Fully detailed engine bay Follow her progress in "Members Cars" in the forum.
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  1. Hi all, I am Rory and this is my 1994 Toyota Soarer which is the 3.0 2JZ Naturally aspirated Automatic (Was badged as a Lexus for some reason but registered in the log book as a Toyota? 🙃) I originally purchased this car roughly 2 years ago for a grand total of £400, it had a blown radiator, bad paintwork and it hadn't been run for sometime.. this is all I knew about it but I took the punt and had it delivered from merry old Scotland. So this is how it turned up... a 'black on black' interiored 1994 Lexus badged Toyota Soarer, the paintwork is supposed to be 202 Onyx black but it's had a bad respray at some point and the lacquer layer had reacted to what looked like some rather vengeful keying... + the following list of 'Minor' issues: Boot literally full of stale water that was spilling over the brim of the boot lid itself Seized front and rear brakes Rotten exhaust which is blowing in multiple places Cracked windscreen 4 flat bald tyres Blown radiator + collapsed hoses Smashed passenger window Broken passenger door lock mechanism Dead battery Dead alternator Missing Aux belt My very own mushroom patch on the back seats Cheap 'Fast car' style front and rear lights It's Naturally aspirated It's Automatic 🤭 Covered in Mould, bird shit and dirt So it's at this point my friends and family thought I was completely mad to take on a car that is clearly destined to the Scrapyard in the sky, or rather be broken and sold for parts as keeping in mind I am also restoring a MK1 Eunos Roadster and at the time I also had just finished a Nissan 200sx s14a project and also a BMW E46 330CI track car which are sadly now long gone. My Mazda Eunos roadster project can be seen here if anyone is looking to burn an hour or so as this is still very much alive: https://www.mx5oc.co.uk/forum/yaf_postst85443_RoryK-s-mk1-Eunos-Build.aspx Anyway back to the Soarer.. it sat on my driveway for roughly 6 months in which time I fitted a new passenger door glass and fixed the door lock mechanism to make it water tight and more accessible! I also fitted a new radiator and new battery, aux belt and second hand alternator from a GS300 which soon had the old 2JZ ticking over with an exhaust that had more holes than a sieve making enough noise to tell everyone the next block over that it has an awesome straight 6 Japanese engine inside 😄 With the above done the old girl deserved a clean and this is how she ended up: So from here a few things took over, like moving home and starting a family and I just did not have the time or funds to support all the mentioned + my MK1 restoration so the Soarer sadly had to go, I sold it to my friends over at Garage D who were going to break it and sell it for parts.... fast forward a year and I find out that my Soarer was still in one piece so I snapped up the offer to buy it back! A sketchy drive home (Trade plates), smoke pouring out of both arches (Brakes all still seized), mushroom patch in the back seats very much alive and kicking again and the dash lights flickering away (Alternator is once again dead) I got the old girl home and on the driveway! also I pulled the spare wheel well plugs out to let the small tsunami in the boot drain out and found the source of the water leak which turned out to be the rear spoiler that I think had been removed for painting and not replaced properly with the rubber washers at some point in its life... I sold the cheapo lights and sourced original front head lights and year correct rear lights, the rear Lexus badge was also removed because it's not a Lexus and I gave the car a much needed clean and quick polish I'm slowly going to work my way through the obvious bits and get an MoT for it before cracking on with much bigger plans! (Turbo conversion for NA+T and Manual Conversion), right now I am working on making it look a little nicer for my neighbours and missus's sake and to keep costs down I am teaching myself how to vinyl wrap and prep body work, no funny colour changes here I am afraid, it's staying gloss black And that's it for now... much more to come soon 😉

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