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
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.