Mx-5-based kit cars

A grow­ing num­ber of kit cars are based on MX-5 me­chan­i­cals. Total Kit Car ed­i­tor, Steve Hole rounds them up

Total MX-5 - - MX-5 KITS -

Since the dawn of the kit car in­dus­try in 1949, Ford com­po­nents have been used to un­der­pin the ma­jor­ity of models. There was real com­pe­ti­tion in the Six­ties and Seven­ties from the Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle and Mini, but the Cortina and lat­terly the Sierra were the kings. Many kit car mak­ers pre­fer rear-wheel drive, so if they use a rear-drive donor, all the com­po­nents such as prop­shaft and dif­fer­en­tial are right there ready to use, no com­plex and costly re-engi­neer­ing re­quired. The prob­lem is, main­stream man­u­fac­tur­ers have, in the main, aban­doned rear-wheel drive. The BMW Z3 is used by a few kit car mak­ers, but there’s not much else – the Honda S2000 looked promis­ing for a time, but that’s now an old car and prices are ris­ing for the sur­vivors. En­ter the MX-5 mk1 (and less so, the mk2). It took un­til 1998 for kit car mak­ers to be­gin us­ing them as a donor, al­though it had been an ob­vi­ous can­di­date for sev­eral years be­fore. Ac­tu­ally, the year be­fore a Ger­man com­pany used an MX-5 as a donor for a BMW Z3 replica, which was quite ironic, and at least one was sold here be­fore it dis­ap­peared. Stu­art Tay­lor Mo­tor­sport had evolved out of sup­ply­ing parts for the well­known book by Ron Cham­pion,‘let’s Build A Sportscar For £250’ that spawned the Lo­cost Lo­tus Seven-in­spired sports car called the Loco. At the Don­ing­ton kit car show of Septem­ber 1998 it pitched up with a pack­age of re­fur­bished MX-5 parts on a pal­let, which is the first recorded use of the Mazda as a donor. Even then, Stu­art Tay­lor Mo­tor­sport con­tin­ued to sell more Sierra-based ver­sions of its kit and took some time to even build a Mazda-based demo car. How­ever, fall­ing sec­ond­hand prices helped the MX-5 gain pop­u­lar­ity as a donor, and to­day there are 11 kit car man­u­fac­tur­ers us­ing the Mazda for parts.

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