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Tim's MX-5 Project Part 1: Introduction


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By Beth Judd
October 31 2017

Tim's MX-5 Project: Part 1 - Introduction


Naturally, the team here at Moss Europe is largely made up of petrol-heads, our Network Administrator, Tim White is no exception. Having bought and modified several MX-5s and competed in a number of rally drives over the years, he was ready for a new challenge. Tim recently acquired another MX-5 and offered to document the overhaul. Tim’s plans range from essential maintenance jobs to performance modifications.

So now I'll hand over to Tim to talk you through Part 1 & keep an eye out on our News page for the updates on his progress and challenges he faces along the way.


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So here we go again, I’ve gone and bought another MX-5. My fifth in fact!

This one is a 1.8 litre 1998 Japanese import, with approx. 80,000 miles on the clock. The paintwork is all sorts of ruined (different shades, cracking lacquer, bit of flaking here and there), but the panels themselves are straight, as are the skirts & hard top! For me though, the important aspect is that this particular JDM import, is an RS.


Tim's MX-5 Project image 01

Credit: By Tim White @mosseuropeltd


Mazda blessed the MK2 RS with a slightly hotter inlet cam, a six speed box, a 3.9 “Type 2” Torsen LSD, a lighter flywheel, and pretty racey Bilstein suspension among other things. Having had one a few years back, & knowing how well that package works out the box, the RS was at the top of the shortlist for my next project car as a B-road barnstormer and occasional track-day toy.


Tim's MX-5 Project image 02

Credit: By Tim White @mosseuropeltd


The previous owner had wanted pretty decent money for the car based on its original description (a clean rust-free example with rough paint), however knowing what NB’s can be like, I had a good poke and prod at the underside, eventually discovering that underneath both skirts lurked some very crispy feeling metal. However, critically for an NB, the front chassis legs were immaculate which went a long way to instil confidence in being able to get the car back to a solid state. After a quick test drive a deal was reached for the car.


Tim's MX-5 Project image 03

Credit: By Tim White @mosseuropeltd


The first few days of ownership were surprisingly restrained given my usual tendencies when buying a new project car. Modifications and tweaks stretched no further than pulling out the faulty radio that was in the car, replaced now with a Pioneer Bluetooth affair to better serve me during its daily-duties, and removing the poorly installed speedo convertor which had a lovely intermittent fault. Despite these initial niggles, the car is a joy to drive. The engine feels like it’s still producing close to Mazda’s originally listed 145hp. The gearbox, whilst a little stiff (nothing a shifter rebuild and some new oil shouldn’t sort), makes no horrible noises and goes into and out of gear without drama. The brakes, whilst not as sharp as they should be, are passable.

Immediate plans are to start investigating and repairing the rust, and winter-prep as much as is possible, whilst also carrying out some basic maintenance.

No point in trying to modify something if it won’t pass its next MOT now is there?


Find more from Tim on Instagram @timbomfg



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