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