Clas­sic turbo re­vival

BBR’S up­grades for cur­rent MX-5S are go­ing down a storm – its new Her­itage Col­lec­tion now of­fers a taste of the same for older cars Words: Dan Trent Pho­tos: Antony Fraser

Total MX-5 - - CONTENTS -

BBR was syn­ony­mous with tur­bocharged MX-5S back in the day: now it has re-en­gi­neered its turbo kits for early mod­els and they’re great!

His­tory re­peats and, hav­ing made its name as the of­fi­cially sanc­tioned turbo up­grade for MX-5 buy­ers back in the day, BBR is back in the busi­ness of giv­ing the orig­i­nal mk1 a bit of a boost.

Why now? Well, for a long time MX-5S and Eunos im­ports have been cheap enough to en­joy on a shoe­string, so the idea of spend­ing mul­ti­ples of the car’s value on a turbo kit was re­ally only for the truly com­mit­ted. But as nat­u­ral se­lec­tion does its thing and the val­ues and sta­tus of good ones are on the up, own­ers are once again will­ing to in­vest proper money in their cars. And BBR reck­ons now is the time to dust off its

orig­i­nal turbo kit, up­date it and once again of­fer fans of the mk1 and mk2 a thor­oughly tested and re­li­able way of mak­ing them go a whole lot faster.

The orig­i­nal BBR kit was de­signed to be a bolt-on pack­age for easy fit­ment in Mazda deal­er­ships. Of­fi­cial sanc­tion gave it a much broader au­di­ence than most af­ter­mar­ket up­grades but brought with it cer­tain con­straints, not least a po­lit­i­cal re­quire­ment to keep a lid on the power so as not to rattle the Mazda moth­er­ship, and to make it pos­si­ble to of­fer a war­ranty. As such it stuck to stan­dard in­jec­tors, kept the orig­i­nal air­box and mounted the in­ter­cooler be­hind the ra­di­a­tor – not ideal for power but mean­ing it could be fit­ted with­out body­work mod­i­fi­ca­tions.

Rais­ing power of the stock 1.6 from 115bhp to 148bhp and torque from 100lb ft to 154lb ft brought about a use­ful in­crease in per­for­mance and un­leashed the po­ten­tial al­ways lurk­ing within the base mk1 pack­age: BBR even­tu­ally sup­plied around 1200 kits back in the day. That was a quar­ter of a cen­tury ago and ex­pec­ta­tions have changed some­what. That and free­dom from OE pol­i­tics mean­ing this new BBR Her­itage Col­lec­tion of turbo up­grades is rather more po­tent.

Gath­ered for To­tal MX-5’S de­light at BBR’S Brack­ley head­quar­ters are four sub­tly dif­fer­ent takes on this turbo re­vival for mk1s and mk2s, al­though just to be clear, the Her­itage Col­lec­tion en­com­passes only the en­gine mod­i­fi­ca­tions and not any other up­grades these cars may fea­ture. The black 1.6 S-lim­ited on the gold BBS wheels with match­ing pin­stripe has the fac­tory air­box and 197bhp while the 1.8 R-lim­ited has a rather more po­tent 217bhp. The red 1.6 Eunos S-spe­cial is the re­ally naughty one with BBR’S Koni sus­pen­sion kit and 227bhp: it’s a 2.5-inch ex­haust sys­tem away from an even more ex­cit­ing 247bhp. And while the 227bhp mk2 proves the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion cars can also ben­e­fit, its com­bi­na­tion of the

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