Mazda is to run its own restora­tion ser­vice for mk1 MX-5S, and re­man­u­fac­ture cer­tain parts. But only in Ja­pan

Total MX-5 - - CONTENTS -

Mazda an­nounces its own restora­tion pro­gramme for mk1s, called Re­store, and a Ja­panese tuner pro­duces a very classy body kit for the mk4.

Jaguar, As­ton Martin, Mercedes-benz, Volk­swa­gen, Land Rover, Porsche and oth­ers all of­fer fac­tory-sup­ported restora­tion op­er­a­tions for their clas­sic models: now Mazda has joined the throng, but for one model only – the mk1 MX-5.

Called Re­store, the pro­gramme was in­spired, and is be­ing over­seen, by Mazda Cor­po­ra­tion’s Road­ster Am­bas­sador, Nobuhiro Yamamoto, a key player in the de­vel­op­ment of the orig­i­nal MX-5. And the es­tab­lish­ment of Re­store is said to have been driven by in­creas­ing de­mand from Ja­panese MX-5 (Eunos) en­thu­si­asts keen that they should be able to drive their prized road­sters for­ever.

Mazda has al­ready run a suc­cess­ful pilot pro­gramme with a trusted out­side spe­cial­ist that en­com­passed the en­tire restora­tion process, but when the fac­tory of­fi­cially launches Re­store next year, all the restora­tions will take place in-house. But for the fore­see­able fu­ture, the ser­vice will be avail­able only in Ja­pan.

As an in­di­ca­tion of how se­ri­ously Mazda is ap­proach­ing the restora­tion busi­ness, it has ap­proached the in­de­pen­dent qual­ity au­di­tor, TÜV Rhein­land Ja­pan Co, to ac­quire cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as a clas­sic car garage. This will give Mazda’s own restora­tion cer­tifi­cates far greater cred­i­bil­ity, the im­por­tance of which has al­ready been proven by the likes of Fer­rari and Porsche: their cer­ti­fied fac­tory restora­tions at­tract a premium in the clas­sic car market.

As an off­shoot of the restora­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, Mazda (or to be more ac­cu­rate, some of its sup­pli­ers) will also start re­man­u­fac­tur­ing cer­tain com­po­nents that ceased pro­duc­tion years ago. This in­cludes vinyl hoods, the mk1’s orig­i­nal pat­tern 185/60 R14 Bridge­stone SF325 tyres, and the wood-rimmed Nardi steer­ing wheel with its com­ple­men­tary wooden gear­knob. Other com­po­nents are also un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, al­though there’s no word yet as to whether any of them will be of­fi­cially dis­trib­uted through UK Mazda deal­ers. But if you know of any hard to ob­tain or su­per-rare parts, now might be the time to get in touch with Re­store to beg for their in­clu­sion in its fu­ture re­man­u­fac­tur­ing plans.

Are we likely to see a Bri­tish off­shoot of Re­store? Should the na­tion’s MX-5 re­stor­ers be con­cerned? It seems un­likely that Mazda UK would want to get in­volved in such a project. ‘Re­stored by the Mazda fac­tory in Ja­pan’ has a cer­tain ca­chet about it, whereas a restora­tion by the com­pany’s Bri­tish arm lacks the same ro­mance – wealthy own­ers would al­most cer­tainly want their MX-5 re­stored in its home­land, as a way of adding to its her­itage. Be­sides which, the MX-5

restora­tion in­dus­try in this coun­try is very well es­tab­lished and would be ex­tremely hard to com­pete against, even as an of­fi­cial Mazda en­tity.

Re­store’s emer­gence may work in favour of the UK’S MX-5 re­stor­ers. For starters, the fac­tory’s com­mit­ment to its 27year-old icon’s long-term fu­ture demon­strates that Mazda be­lieves the car is now valu­able enough to be worth sav­ing. Once that mes­sage fil­ters through to the public at large, it will give own­ers the con­fi­dence to in­vest in the well­be­ing of their MX-5S. No prices have been an­nounced, but a Re­store restora­tion seems likely to be pricey – and you have to get your car to Ja­pan: bet­ter to get the job done closer to home for much less money. And more re­stored cars in­evitably means a rise in val­ues, which in turn en­cour­ages the re­fur­bish­ment of cars that once upon a time would have sim­ply been scrapped or used for spares.

And talk­ing of spares, Re­store’s am­bi­tion to re­man­u­fac­ture more and more rare parts will be wel­come by ev­ery­body ex­cept those in the re­fur­bish­ment and ex­change in­dus­try. Brand new brake calipers any­one?

Quite apart from the afore­men­tioned ben­e­fits, Re­store should also help shine an even brighter spot­light on one of the most sig­nif­i­cant sports cars pro­duced dur­ing the last 30 years.

A pilot pro­gramme has al­ready been run us­ing an out­side com­pany, but your ‘as new’ Mx-5/eunos restora­tion will be han­dled in-house

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