Out and about near the Suffolk coast recently, we took the time to stop in at Newton Commercial. Though it sounds a bit like a haulage firm, in fact it’s one of the country’s leading makers of trim for the classic car market. Including, in more recent times, the mk1 and mk2 Mazda MX-5.
According to managing director, Jonny Newton, it was demand from members of the eastern region of the MX-5 Owners Club that inspired the company to look beyond its traditional market of primarily classic British cars, including the Morris Minor, Mini, and assorted MGS, Fords, Lotuses and more. ‘We did a great deal of research,’ explains Jonny, ‘and then decided to develop all of the MX-5’S trim, except for the seats. The seat upholstery is tricky, but we will revisit it.’
Jonny took us to watch moulded carpet sets for the MX-5 (which include the boot and are made for both rightand left-hand drive cars, in a small selection of different colours) being made using heat, pressure, and a good deal of old-fashioned craftsmanship. Newton makes door cards, too, and also a natty carpeted spare wheel cover.
Newton’s Leiston-based factory is much larger than we were expecting and mixes traditional manufacturing techniques – lots of sewing machines and plenty of big scissors – with the very latest computer-controlled cutting tables. And while the choice of fabrics and colours can sometimes stray from standard specification, Newton’s patterns are all taken from each car’s originals. Traditional construction methods are also used to recreate, say, complete MG Midget seats: Newton now makes its own seats for VW campers and a low-volume sports car: we think that the latter – a fixed-back bucket – would work well in an MX-5.
Mx-5parts and Moss now stock Newton’s MX-5 line, and you can buy items direct from the factory, too. Having witnessed the quality, we may soon be shopping there.