THINGS THAT GO CLUNK
During the past four or five weeks my little car has done more miles than it did in the previous 12 months. Which makes me happy. I hate to see it languishing.
Its previous inactivity wasn’t the result of any conscious decision to limit its miles, it’s simply that it isn’t really the right shape or size to shift stock to and from my gift and chocolate shops. More recently, though, I’ve managed to catch a few ‘good weather’ days and rekindle my love for my perky blue roadster.
As well as being thoroughly enjoyable, spending more time behind the wheel also alerted me to a little annoyance that may or may not have been around for a while. When braking gently at very low speeds, there’d be a slight clunking sound from the front of the car: the brakes seemed OK, but any type of clunking can’t be good in the long-term, can it? I happened to mention this issue to our technical expert, Michael Cleverley, during a visit, and by the time I’d turned around to leave, he already had a trolley-jack under the front end of the car and the nearside front wheel was off.
His first guess as to what might be wrong turned out to be spot-on – the pads moving about in their carrier. Within minutes he had the whole brake assembly in pieces, cleaned, greased, reassembled and thoroughly tightened up. Adios clunk! Michael assured me there was no threat to braking performance, but it’s nice to silence worrisome sounds.
Job jobbed, I was just about to jump back into the car when Michael noticed something else he simply couldn’t leave alone – the headlight covers. They weren’t sitting flush with the bonnet. Intolerable, insisted Michael. So off he went to find his special piece of sturdy wire, slightly hooked at one end. This he slipped into the gap between the trailing edges of the headlight covers and the bonnet, then used the hook to bend them upwards to assume their rightful position.
Meanwhile I’ve been intrigued to read about Mazda in Japan offering its own restoration service for mk1s (see page 6). As part of the Restore programme the company has arranged to have several components from the original car remanufactured, including the vinyl roof and early-spec Bridgestone tyres. Also being remade are the Nardi wooden steering wheel and gearknob and handbrake lever: these I really fancy.
I have similar accessories in my car, but they were sourced by Mazda UK when the MX-5 was new and aren’t quite as elegant as those provided by Nardi to the Japanese market. Although the factory restoration programme will be initially restricted to Japan, I’m hoping that Mazda will allow the rest of us access to items such as the steering wheel. If the answer’s ‘no’, I hope you’ll join me in a campaign to get them to change their minds.
Never one to shy from immediate action, Mr Cleverley was straight on to investigating the cause of our clunk
The culprit: the pads moving inside their slightly worn carrier
MK1 1.6 Run by: Helen Fraser Owned since: 1992 Total Mileage: 63,893 Latest costs: £30
Helen now prefers a Nardi wheel
Pulling up the headlight covers