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