TEST­ING TIMES

Total MX-5 - - PROJECTS -

There’s a very ner­vous time in ev­ery mk1 owner’s year, and it starts when your lo­cal garage sends you an MOT re­minder. And if you’re not ner­vous, you should be – I thought my wife He­len’s mk1 would glide through its last test with maybe a cou­ple of ad­vi­sories; in­stead it turned out to be a colan­der un­der­neath. Clev­er­ley Re­paired Cars’ elec­tronic re­minder sent a shiver through my wal­let. But I was mildly con­fi­dent the car would be fine. Prob­a­bly. Fingers crossed. Yet Clev­er­ley’s MOT bay sud­denly seemed in­tim­i­dat­ing when I fronted up there one morn­ing. The car breezed through the emis­sions test, though, and the head­lights both shone in the right di­rec­tion. The un­der­side, how­ever, was tat­tier than I thought, and while the car scraped a pass this time, Michael ad­vised me that I will need to in­vest in some weld­ing be­fore the next MOT. It’s a mk1, it’s what you should ex­pect…

I took P874 APH with me when I drove from Suf­folk to Not­ting­ham to meet up with Vlad Yanakov from Jass Per­for­mance. Vlad’s a re­ally en­thu­si­as­tic guy and checked my car over even though it was pee­ing down with rain. He’s per­suaded me to try a pair of his frame rails to pro­tect and stiffen up the chas­sis, and says that be­fore go­ing down the coilover route with the sus­pen­sion, I should give a set of his top mount spac­ers a go. Ac­tu­ally what he said on the sub­ject of the lat­ter is that I should just re­turn the car to stan­dard sus­pen­sion, but fail­ing that try the spac­ers to raise the ride height and give a greater range of move­ment for the springs and dampers.

Frus­trat­ingly, at the time of writ­ing the parts are still a day away from ar­riv­ing and some­what fur­ther away from be­ing fit­ted – I’m bust­ing to find out what dif­fer­ence they might make.

An­other thing I’m cu­ri­ous about is from Liqui Moly, la­belled as ‘An­tifric­tion for Gears’, and claimed to bring new life to tired old gear­boxes, smooth­ing their shifts and re­duc­ing the noise they make. The gear­box in P874 APH isn’t that noisy, but the shift is get­ting notchier, so this cure in a tube is def­i­nitely worth a try.

MK1 1.8 Run by: Brett Fraser Owned since: 2016 To­tal mileage: 124,621 Lat­est costs: £94

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