Saturday 5 August 2017

Roadster Restoration

Some exciting news for Roadster owners came from Mazda this week, and it doesn't involve a partnership with Toyota. Mazda have announced their intention to offer a full restoration service for owners of the original Eunos Roadster.

This service will involve Mazda's engineers taking delivery of a customer's car and stripping it down to a bare shell before repainting and completely rebuilding it using fresh original parts. The idea being to keep the car on the road for many more years.
If this sounds familiar then don't worry you're not imagining it, there was a Roadster Refresh program a few years ago from Mazda E&T (special ops division, creator of the Roadster Coupe). Back then there were two distinct refresh/upgrade packages on offer. This time it's all about originality and restoring the car to an 'as new' factory fresh condition.

To understand the work involved, Mazda took a Classic Red NA model and completely dismantled it. Every piece of trim was removed and even the original 1.6 litre engine was stripped down and inspected. The car was then treated to a full respray and rebuild with new parts before being thoroughly checked over to see the level of quality achieved. The result was impressive enough for Mazda to offer a similar service to Roadster fans.

Thanks to dialogue with enthusiasts, some original parts that have long been out of production are going to be made available for purchase. Discontinued parts such as the Nardi wooden steering wheel and gear knobs seen in the Eunos V-Special are set to be re-manufactured. Complete genuine soft top roofs and even the Roadster's original tyres are also being put back into production.

Mazda says the range of parts on offer may grow in response to customer demand. I imagine if enough people ask for them, other rare genuine parts could be put back into production - I wonder if this will include those Recaro seats from the RS Limited...

Owners in Japan can register their interest in the restore service this year, with the first cars to be overhauled in early 2018. Next year will also see the launch of the replacement soft top, Nardi interior items, and the 185/60/14 Bridgestone SF325 tyres. There is no indication these parts or the service will be offered outside of Japan.

However it does mean there may well be more opportunities in the future to obtain a genuinely rust free import. So if you're not a fan of the latest incarnation of MX-5 and long for the simpler times of the 1980s, all is not lost and you may well still have a chance to own what is effectively a new Mk1.

Other manufacturers in Japan offer similar restoration services for the more expensive range-topping models such as the Honda NSX and Nissan Skyline GT-R. The fact the little Roadster is getting one of its own is further testament to the car's charm and enduring popularity almost 30 years on.

The fact the announcement of the restoration service follows the re-introduction of the Classic Red paint colour for the ND, could be a sign Mazda is gearing up for the MX-5's 30th Anniversary in 2019.