SPECIALISTS MX5 City
Sales, servicing, repair and restoration – this Doncaster-based MX-5 specialist handles them all
Dropping in on Doncaster-based sales and restoration specialist, MX5 City
‘Since I first set up in business back in 1981 selling British classic sports cars, I’ve always bent over backwards to look after my customers,’ asserts Martin Dooner, owner of Doncaster-based MX5 City. ‘And over that time I’ve learnt that the old expression is true – you can’t please all of the people all of the time. But when a customer is truly happy with what you’ve done, well, that’s a wonderful sensation.
‘A great example of this recently was an elderly lady, into her 80s, who’d suffered an injury to her shoulder so couldn’t drive her [mk2.5] Arctic special edition for a few months. Her son – who wanted to get the car ready for his mother’s return to driving – came to us when it wouldn’t run properly: its ECU had got wet and was no longer functional. He’d taken it to a Mazda dealer who’d quoted him £3000 for a replacement ECU, somewhat north of what the poor old car was worth…
‘We got it up and running again for £300. When I dropped it off with our pensioner MX-5 enthusiast she was completely overjoyed.
‘In fact, she was so delighted at the prospect of driving her car again after a three-month absence that I thought she was going to kiss me!’
Martin understands the lady’s excitement at getting her car back. ‘I love working with MX-5S, and that’s not just salesman’s talk,’ he insists. ‘They have always been a great little car, and generally people who own them are interesting people. Sure, lots of folk buy them as a weekend toy, but they end up being really passionate about them. We see it all the time – customers come in for service work, or repairs, or restoration work, and when they come to collect their car you can see the joy on their faces that they’ve been reunited with a car that brings them such pleasure. Across the road from us there’s a secondhand car dealership selling what I would call A-to-b cars, and I don’t believe that their customers leave with the same sense of joy that ours do.’
By Martin’s own admission, MX5 City deals in, restores and looks after, more mk1s than any other generation of MX-5. That, of course, is where the money is these days, as the car’s newfound classic status and subsequent rising value encourages owners to invest in their first series roadsters in a way that was unviable just a few years ago. But mk2s, 3s and 4s are equally welcome through the tall doors of a building that once housed a brick company. At the time of our visit there was a mk4 in for accident repair, several mk1s in the final throes of restoration and another one emerging from the in-house paint booth, and a mk2 illuminated by a spectacular shower of sparks as a technician cut out the rust from the rear arches and sills.
MX5 City trades in used MX-5S too, and the dominant model on the forecourt is again the mk1, most in excellent condition, either because they’re low-mileage mollycoddled cars, or because they’ve already been subject to restoration work. Although to untrained eyes there seems to be a fair number of cars outside, Martin’s apologetic
Martin Dooner: boss and enthusiast