Mazda MX5 Mechanic Adelaide
In the 1980s Mazda executives decided that they would design & release an affordable sports roadster. The considered 3 configurations, being 1) a front engine front wheel drive, 2) a front engine rear wheel drive & 3) Rear engine rear wheel drive. Eventually it was decided that the second option would best suit the desired goals, and a team was assembled to design what was to become the largest selling sports car of all time. Mazda Motor Company then bought various popular sports cars both currently on the market at the time and from recent history. These cars were evaluated and the best features incorporated into the features of the NA model Mazda MX5. The first version was powered by a DOHC 1.6 litre motor that had previously been used in the 323 range, albeit in a front wheel drive configuration. This was coupled to a 5 speed manual gearbox and an independent rear end with a 4.3:1 diff. With Double wishbone suspension at each corner and a perfect 50-50 weight balance, this introductory car drove and handled so well, that most people who drove one, fell in love with the concept. Even with a motor that only produced 85kw at the flywheel, the car felt very nippy, due partly to the car only weighing 940kg, and a short throw notchy gear shift that only added to the thrill of driving a truly wonderful car.
It is reported that one of the chief designers of the MX5 once said that if you can’t drive a 90 horsepower car quickly, then 900 horsepower won’t help you. With pop up headlights, seats that you sat in rather than on, a convertible roof that was not only simple to operate, but entirely weatherproof, and a price tag of under $40,000 the new car was sold out , with up to a 6 month waiting list, when it was released in October 1989. In no time at all the MX5 became a cult classic, that performed well on the racetrack straight out of the box. In 1993 an upgrade was released with a 1.8 litre engine producing 98kw, a larger 4.1:1 differential, bigger brakes and slightly larger fuel tank. Some extra bracing was also added that made the chassis slightly stiffer. These improvements saw the curb weight jump to close to 980kg but the extra power and stiffer handling made a brilliant car even better and the standard power steering improved city driving comfort. Although automatic transmissions were introduced as an option in the NA model, they did not prove to be very popular.
until well into the third generation, with most fans scoffing at the idea of such blasphemy for a true sports car. 1998 saw the introduction of the second generation, NB model. Due to safety compliance this new model lost the pop up headlights, but retained very similar smooth curved lines of its predecessor. 15′ wheels improve the sports look of the new model while the power of the 1.8 engine was lifted to 100kw which was still transferred though the same 5 speed gear box and 4.1 diff as the 1.8 NA model. In 1999 a 10 year Anniversary Edition special (10AE) debuted a six speed box that would be seen in the updated NB that was to be released in 2000. This update was fitted with a VVT version of the 1.8 engine, that produced 109kw and the 6 speed box was hooked to a 3.6:1 diff and 16′ wheels. In 2002 Mazda commissioned Mazda Australia’s motorsport division to develop a turbo charged version. This was the SP and it developed 150kw, using much of the technology that had been used in Mazda’s foray into world rallying in the 90s. With the success of this car, Mazda started producing the SE turbo version in 2004. This model is still extremely sought after these days. Due to using a smaller turbocharger & intercooler than the SP this car only produced 121kw but is easily modified to gain over 230kw quite cheaply. The second series of the NB also saw another brake system improvement in line with the extra power and weight increase that brought the curb weight up to 1065kg.
The NC was released in 2005 with an all new 2.0 litre engine producing 118kw. With an all new body featuring flared guards and sharper lines, the car looked much more aggressive than previous models, but came in at over 1150kg. The car now sat on either 15′ or 16′ wheels and appeared to be heading towards more of a sports tourer than the true sports car concept of the original philosophy. In 2006 an electrically retracting hard top was also added to the options, creating more comfort & security to the occupants. The NC saw several minor face lifts & special editions in its evolution, before being replaced by the ND in 2015. With the ND Mazda advertised that it was returning to the original inspiration, and they produced a great little car that once again tipped the scales under 1000kg again (980kg). The first NDs released in Australia were all powered by a new generation 1.5 litre SkyActiv engine producing 96kw ,while later version.
gave customers the option of a 2.0 litre version with 118kw. With more creature comforts, modern technology and sleeker lines, the ND was released aimed at the Double Income No Kids demographic, and once again a waiting list was in place before the highly anticipated release date. This new model saw the introduction of electric power steering, that had previously been used in other Mazda vehicles. In late 2016 Mazda released the MX5 RF (Retractable Fastback) that was more of a coupe than a convertible, with a folding roof that left rear buttresses remaining. With the same running gear as the convertible, but slightly more weight, any downfall in performance is counteracted with better chassis rigidity, making another great option for sports car aficionados. The ND MX5 platform is also shared with the Fiat 124 Spider, but the Fiat does run their own mechanicals, and has a slightly different cosmetic appearance. Marque from Viva Auto Repairs has had a connection with, & a passion for the MX5 dating back to September 1989, when he did the pre-delivery inspection & road test on the first MX5 to be sold in South Australia. That passion remains to this day, as he has developed his own NA to be a fast & reliable race car that also gets driven on the road almost every day. Viva are now widely regarded as South Australia’s leading independent MX5 specialist, even getting request for service or advise from Mazda dealerships.