Mazdaspeed ma­nia

Total MX-5 - - CONTENTS - Words: Dan Sher­wood Pho­tog­ra­phy: Phil Grayston

Se­rial MX-5 owner, Kevin Allen, ex­plains why his Mazdaspeed Edi­tion is a keeper

Hav­ing worked his way through 16 other MX-5S, Kevin Allen has fi­nally found a Mazda that he can’t bear to part with…

When it comes to au­to­mo­tive stereo­types, the suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man is al­most as iconic as the white van man. But where the lat­ter would be de­fined by a grub­byvested, wolf-whistling oaf with a copy of the Daily Sport wedged against the wind­screen of his rust-rid­dled Tran­sit, the lat­ter would more likely be dressed in a dap­per pin­stripe suit, cradling a cap­puc­cino with the Fi­nan­cial Times on the seat of his leather-swathed Bavar­ian au­to­bahn blaster.

We’re sure you can pic­ture them both now as, to be hon­est, these type­casts are of­ten not too far from the truth. And yet, as with all stereo­types, there are ex­cep­tions to the rule…

Work­ing as a com­pany direc­tor for his day job, 56-year-old Kevin Allen is ev­ery inch the suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man. And yes, many of his com­mut­ing miles are un­der­taken in an oh-so clichéd Ger­man saloon. How­ever, his real au­to­mo­tive pas­sion is played out be­hind the wheel of a Mazda MX-5.

‘I bought my first MX-5 back in 2006,’

re­mem­bers Kevin fondly.‘it was a rust­free red 1.8-litre UK mk1 model in good con­di­tion that cost me £3000.’

Prior to that pur­chase, Kevin’s view of cars was solely as a means of trans­port from A to B. The MX-5, on the other hand, was bought for a much bet­ter rea­son: to have fun.‘i fan­cied do­ing a few track­days,’ he chuck­les.‘i’d done a few of the usual su­per­car ex­pe­ri­ences at var­i­ous cir­cuits around the coun­try, but the lim­ited seat time you get on those days means you get only the briefest of tastes of what track driv­ing is re­ally all about. I was keen to buy my­self a track toy so I could get a lot more laps un­der my belt.’

So after re­search­ing his op­tions, and set­ting him­self a re­al­is­tic bud­get, it wasn’t re­ally that much of a stretch to come to the con­clu­sion that Mazda’s diminu­tive drop-top of­fered likely the big­gest bang for his buck as an in­ex­pen­sive cir­cuit slayer.

‘It was a no-brainer re­ally,’ he laughs. ‘It’s a rear-wheel-drive sports car that’s cheap to buy and run, easy to main­tain and tune, and is renowned as one of the best-han­dling cars you can buy. To be hon­est, I only thought that it would last one track­day be­fore I blew it up.

‘But it just kept go­ing, no mat­ter what abuse I threw at it. It was pretty scary mix­ing it with the much more pow­er­ful Porsches and BMWS around my lo­cal cir­cuit, Snet­ter­ton, but it was such fun! And it wasn’t just on the track that I was get­ting ex­tra smiles per hour; I’d take it out on B-road blasts, too. That was the car that re­ally be­gan my love af­fair with the lit­tle Mazda.’

And as an ac­tive mem­ber of the MX-5 Own­ers Club – a club he joined be­fore he even pur­chased his first MX-5 – Kevin found that there was much more to MX-5 own­er­ship than sim­ply the kick he got from be­ing be­hind the wheel.‘the club has be­come a huge part of my life, with much of my so­cial life re­volv­ing around the club and its mem­bers,’ Kevin can­didly re­veals.

‘It’s such a great com­mu­nity and it doesn’t mat­ter if you’ve spent £500 or £25k on your car, ev­ery­one is wel­come and treated the same. It’s also an ex­cel­lent place to source and sell cars, as many of the cars I’ve owned over the years have ended up in the hands of other mem­bers who have gone on to en­joy them for years after.’

That burn­ing pas­sion for the MX-5 was first lit back in 2006 and still burns bright to­day, with no signs of fad­ing.‘i’ve owned 17 dif­fer­ent MX-5S over the years, some­times up to three at a time,’ smiles Kevin, re­veal­ing his mi­nor ad­dic­tion to all things Miata.‘i’m at­tracted to the more un­usual ex­am­ples and rare spe­cial edi­tions and have owned a hand­ful of re­ally unique mod­els.’

Cars that have graced his ev­ere­volv­ing col­lec­tion in­clude a mk1 Le Mans Turbo; a Mer­lot, com­plete with a Jack­son Rac­ing su­per­charger; a mk2 RS used for drift­ing, and a mk1 with a Flyin’ Miata turbo kit, which was an im­pulse buy when Kevin spot­ted it on a garage fore­court in Ire­land when he was vis­it­ing the Emer­ald Isle on busi­ness.

‘Each and ev­ery one has been great fun and I loved ev­ery minute of own­ing

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