Mazda Eunos Roadster
The editor heads to North Wales for some driving fun – but the Mazda isn’t behaving
1990 MAZDA EUNOS ROADSTER
The news crackling over the walkie-talkie headset from Modern Classics managing editor, Nathan Chadwick, was worrying: ‘Erm, there’s something hanging down at the back,’ he announced from the vantage point of his newly-acquired Alfa Romeo 147 GTA. ‘It’s definitely lower down than I remember – I’m sure it wasn’t like that before.’
I would have blithely dismissed the update, but for the fact that he had friend – and fellow Mazda devotee – Danny Morgan with him. I was starting to worry that NRX’s usually unimpeachable reliability had taken a knock, but it was still driving normally and wasn’t making any strange noises.
But what worried me even more was the fact that we weren’t just down the road from CCW’s busy offices in Peterborough – we were scaling the summit of the Llanberis Pass, which snakes its
way across a particularly remote stretch of Snowdonia not exactly known for its profusion of Mazda specialists on every corner. Oh, and it was the Easter Bank Holiday weekend too, so even if there had been one, chances are it would have been closed anyway.
I pressed on to the nearest town, parked up, and hopped out to check the underpinnings, expecting the worst. What I discovered was… nothing.
It all looked and sounded fine, so the three of us decided to return to the reason we were in this corner of North Wales in the first place – driving, and lots of it. Some of you might remember that I organised a run into Scotland for my stag weekend last year, where my MGB GT was joined by a Mercedes-Benz 280E that Nathan had borrowed. Mr Chadwick had returned the favour by putting together another outing – and I reckoned that the Eunos had a better chance of keeping up with 3.2 litres of Italian hot hatchery.
I needn’t have worried, because a potent mix of inclement conditions and Bank Holiday traffic kept the GTA in check, so I was more interested in finding out about Danny’s Mazda. Despite sharing my car’s British Racing Green paint, his R-plate NA is a UK-spec MX-5 – so it has a bigger engine and a riflebolt five-speed manual gearbox, but cloth seats and wind-up windows compared to NRX’s tan leather, electric windows and three-spoke Nardi steering wheel. It makes you wonder why we Brits weren’t treated to the Eunos’ niceties when both were new.
Both were huge fun on North Wales’ wonderful roads – and we couldn’t resist asking Nathan whether he’d be popping the roof down on his GTA whenever the sun came out! The Eunos felt completely in its element all the way from the Shropshire border to Caernarfon Castle, and the quicker stretches of deserted A-roads revealed that the recently fitted Yokohamas have endowed it with extra grip when I need it and a little bit more in the way of communicative, feel-good handling when I don’t. On the tight, twisty roads zig-zagging their way up Llandudno’s Great Orme, I began to wonder why anyone would want anything else – the MX-5 in this, its earliest, sharpest iteration, is as addictively edgy as anything Triumph or MG ever made – and it doesn’t break. Only… it does. No, the mysterious low-hanging component didn’t return, but the boot release decided to stop working. With no room to bring the sort of tools to fix it, I decided to ignore it until I reached Simister HQ in Southport, a two-hour drive away. The glitch wasn’t as big a worry as I’d thought – the button inside the centre console operates a tiny electric motor to unlock the boot sans key, and my luggage had obviously knocked out the wires connecting it all up at some point over the weekend.
It’s an easy fix – just unclip the trim, lengthen the wire to prevent it happening again and then reattach to suit. Within ten minutes the boot mechanism was working again.
I’m sure that Alfa GTA needs another run without the Bank Holiday traffic holding it up. Whaddya reckon, Mr Chadwick? Keep an eye out for Nathan’s Alfa Romeo 147 GTA in our sister magazine, Modern Classics.
OWNED SINCE January 2014 // MILEAGE SINCE LAST REPORT 1935 // TOTAL MILEAGE 72,856 // LATEST COSTS None Editor’s Eunos Roadster (left) was joined by Danny Morgan’s Nathan Chadwick’s potent Alfa UK-spec MX-5 and 147 GTA on the Easter outing in North Wales.
Simister tries – and fails – to mend the Mazda’s fritzed electric boot release.
Loose wires caused electric bootlid release maladies.