1990 V Special BRG

Its been exactly a year since I took delivery of a freshly imported 1990 1.6 V Special, so thought it was time to introduce myself and my car to the OC. 

I’m attempting to keep her reasonably ‘straight’, so no mad mods, and anything I do can easily be undone. She is also a daily driver, so has to remain practical. I have a 35 mile each way to commute to Brighton which is a mix of back roads, A roads and of course city driving, so its imperative she can cope with this, and is livable with. That said, I am not adverse to tinkering, and since I have bought her, I have spent the time getting to know her, and a few simple improvements. I have a build thread on a couple of other sites, so wont bore you with all the details, but the major changes have been:

  • Tyres - Vredstein Sportrac's
  • 4 wheel alignment
  • 14 deg timing
  • Later mk1 cabin brace
  • Front and rear lower braces
  • Jass brake stopper
  • Cobalt Stainless Steel exhaust
  • Meister R suspension
  • Jackson Racing cold air intake
In the process of all this, I have carried out two lots of full fluid changes inc top turret and bushes, usual services, replaced brake pads and discs, and believe it or not, replaced the timing belt twice (second time following a broken thermostat bolt)

I absolutely love the car and the driving experience - even roof down in the winter. Definitely blows the blues away!  I also love just how analogue the car is to my previous Euro Box, and that I can get in and tinker (too often according to my family!).

So a few photo’s for you:

Fitting the Meister’s (much easier than I expected, and used the method of separating via the top ball joint).  Transformed the car…

Stainless steel exhaust fitted - removing the cat nuts was a nightmare!!

First timing belt change. The Jass locking tool really makes this job easy.

Checking the SNC key way. No wear visible, and correctly torqued back up.

Slightly indulgent, but a JR CAI

That about brings me up to date. Off to Garath at the MX5 Restorer at the end of next week for a full Dinitrol treatment, and then I just have a set of stainless steel brake lines to fit.


crackin motor.

Lovely car. I had the same model, although mine had been refitted to the ‘B spec’ with the black interior. Sounds like you are having a lot of fun with it, which is exactly as it should be.

Very nice daily driver. Enjoy

Lovely car

nice car and great colour green and tan.

Hi Rob here,


Very nice to but I am very biased had mine for 10 years, a slight adjustment of the headlight covers would set it of easy to do and no cost.Strange but look at my plug leads the same as yours, 183000 kms on the clock and still pulls great, no rust treated it myself when bought with Bilt Hamer stuff, cheers for now Rob.

Hi Rob,

great post. Similarly I have a Mk 1 Neo green Eunos (imported Aug 2016 so rust free) and have also really enjoyed tinkering with it I the last few months most recently having fitted second hand mk 2.5 seats which were great value at £150 and really comfortable although I am now sitting a bit higher ( any advice from anybody on the forum re a good smaller size steering wheel would be appreciated ). Equally my family aren’t so impressed with the time I am devoting to her. Btw what difference have you noticed with the stainless steel exhaust and cabin brace as I am also considering these options. I am also wondering about central locking but not sure how reliable aftermarket devices are.

Happy tinkering


Thanks for all the kind comments .  I love the BRG, but boy, is it a challenge to get it to truly shine.

Bally3 - when are you going to get a replacement mk1? Your posts were one of the ones I used to read and got me thinking about an MX5 in the first place!

Rob - that’s looking lovely, and yes, nothing wrong with my plug leads either. I’m envious, as you have the original Nardi gear knob. Need to spend some time looking for one, as this would set off the cabin - although I actually rather like the later mk2 Nardi wooden gear knob.

Matt - the exhaust is a great fit, and very well made. Slightly deeper note, but you don’t notice it that much at idle or in traffic. Nice rich tone as you open it up. Not loud, but you do get a good grin factor from it . Rear cabin brace is worthwhile and helps, but biggest changes came from fitting front lower brace. I’ve also toyed with the idea of central locking but haven’t bothered yet, and not sure I miss it.


I do like a BRG V Spec. May well see you around Sussex sometime.

Hi…thanks for kind words re my mk1 posts.

I am …have been…looking every day for a few weeks now…nothing pops up near me.
All seems 3 or 4 hours away.
No rush…I’m ready to pounce at the right one.

Quick update for you.

I had planned to carry out a full Dinitrol treatment myself, and even purchased all the materials, but frankly, the thought of grovelling under the car, trying to dry it, and then applying the Dinitrol started to feel less appealing every day. So I booked the car into The MX5Restorer to have the underside, sills and wishbones rust proofed, so that she wouldn’t turn into a pile of carbon before the end of the Winter.  Great job done:



As a courtesy car they kindly provided a Mk2.5, but was a 1.6.  Amazing how much tighter and more modern it felt, but boy, was it slow. Mind you, had an excellent set of ‘Starsky & Hutch’ tyres, so great squealing round the corners .

I’ve been getting used to the new CAI and coupled with the Cobalt exhaust, the engine really feels as if it flies. Over 5,000 rpm, it still pulls strongly, and spins beautifully around the dial. Love it, and love the sound. Not too intrusive, in fact quite normal at low speed, and not suffering any drone on the motorway, but generates a big smile further up the revs it goes.

Finally been playing around with the Meister settings, and after much adjustment, am back on Fr12/Rr10.  Looking forward to the Spring…

So this update will blow your socks off…!

Wipers had started to feel a little slower than usual, and stripping the linkage was a job I had yet to tackle. All relatively painless, apart from breaking down the spindles, where you have to remove a rather tricky spring clip. Frankly its a PITA. However, man will overcome, and after a cup of tea, lashed up a couple of sockets, to push the housing back in the vice, to give some play on the spring clip and eased out with a small screwdriver. 



Spindles, weren’t in too bad a shape, so really just needed cleaning and greasing, before putting it back together. Downside of having the MX5 as your daily is that I couldn’t spend the time in painting the linkage arms, as starting to show some corrosion. Had to suffice with a quick clean up and wipe down before reassembly. I’ll take them out another weekend, and paint them then.

Whilst in there, I had a look at the blower cover. Actually was very clean, so another job ticked off the list.

How are the socks, still on…?

A bit of bling this time. Don’t do it often, but the interior was being let down by the gear gaiter which being the original, was well passed its sell by date.

After some looking around I settled on a leather gaiter, with tan stitching. Was contemplating tan leather, but decided this was just a little bit more subtle. Ordered from The Tuning Shop, and arrived next day. Nice quality leather and all the holes lined up perfectly for a great fit. Just got to start the hunt now for a decent wooden Nardi gear knob.

I like those gaiters - so much so I just bought myself a pair for mine!

Had the afternoon free, so was time to tackle replacing the brake hoses with the Goodridge stainless steel ones I bought from Moss a while back now.

Took it easy as with brakes don’t want to make any mistakes, and no real tales of woe. The rear distribution block was a bit of a fiddle, but was OK after a bit of jiggling around. Havent had the chance to test them yet, but feels nice and firm. Used about a litre of brake fluid to flush all the air out.

Whilst I was in there, I also adjusted the handbrake, greased the slider pins and made some adjustments to even the ride height out, before applying ACF50 to the springs. Not a bad afternoons work.

Only downside is that’s about it now for major jobs. Got the wheels to refurb, and I guess the clutch to do at some point, but not much else for a while…

Star date 6 and a bit...


While Mrs Rusty was having a pre Mothers Day lie in, I painted the boot ‘scuttle’ which was looking a little sorry for itself. Now need to find a suitable blue paint for the jack handle. Look’s like the colour of my Dad’s old Renault 12, so will have a look around to see what matches (may even be an old Holts spray can in his garage ;)) . Smartens up the boot nicely.



In other news…

The windscreen wipers still seemed sluggish after their spindle clean and grease. Cleaned up the motor’s earth point, and hey presto, super fast wish wash. Nice!

That scuttle has come up very well.

What paint did you use, and is that satin black ?

It is just a standard tin of Halfords Matt Black. I find it closer to a satin finish than true matt. No clear coat, just etch primer, followed by four coats of paint.