First mx5 1991

Hi, I am 20 years old and have just bought my first car. Its a 1991 mazda mx5. I paid 1250 for it, and I am wanting to rocketeer v6 it at some point. I haven’t picked up the car yet but I’ve seen pictures of it. A good friend sold it to me. I’m a mechanic so I was wondering what modifications I would be able to do to it to make it look better and to make it faster before I drop a v6 in it. Any help would be really appreciated. Free parts would be appreciated too :joy:
Many thanks

first job , is check your insurance premium :exploding_head: :exploding_head:
i feel sorry for the young en’s starting out on their driving life :red_car: :red_car:

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I’ve had a look at insurance and the cheapest one I’ve found is just under 2000 a year. I have only got my provisional licence at the moment though. My boss has already said that he will put the car on the work insurance.

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Priorities are:

  1. Make sure the structure is solid, eg, the sills.
  2. The engine doesn’t produce a lot of power, you can do the manifold, catback, intake, but it won’t release all that much power. An aftermarket ECU will allow you to get rid of the air flow meter, a major restriction.
  3. Better to focus on the chassis. Renew the bushes, shocks, springs, and add good tyres. That in itself will make the car tackle the bends better
  4. Looks are subjective. There are various boot spoilers available. You can get a ducktail boot lid; this is a bootlid that is slightly reshaped, in fiberglass, to have more of a spoiler profile. At the front, there are a few add on lip spoilers, essentially the factory style “R package” lip, or Garage Vary style scoop-style spoilers. Or you can change the entire front nose for one with a built in spoiler. Headlamp cover NACA duvts can pick up cold air, but are essentially styling. The side light units can be changed for units with a built in sidelight/indicator, that draw in resh air (TSIs or Turn Signal Indicators). Some people like to fit larger wheels with a smaller offset or spacers; but go too low an offset, you’ll ruin the handling.

KG Works (MX5parts) boot spiler (similar to one of the factory option spoilers)

A large Ducktail

Other versions

Complete bootlid

Factory style rear bumper lip spoiler

Factory front lip spoiler

Garage Vary style spoiler

Examples of front noses

GHO 1001

RS Aizawa


Gobbing Garage Vary nose, but someone must like it

Headlamp ducting (there are many style)


Mesh version

For shocks; the MX5 is already on coilovers. Meister-Rs are a popular choice, they use a generic shock insert combined with a threaded lower shock eye assembly to allow height trimming; most of the cheaper Asian import sets use this approach Gaz; UK company, produce a range of adjustable and budget fixed height setups. A budget approach would be to get hold of Mk2 MX5 shocks, top hat assemblies and Mk2 lowering springs. The Mk2 has more rear shock travel than the Mk1, so is less crashy on back roads. The higher kerb weight on the Mk2 means if the standard setup is fitted to a Mk1, it will ride high. If lowering springs are fitted, it will be a nice height.

“Strut Braces”; the Mk1 MX5 doesn’t have struts. So these do little, but if you get one, try to look for a one piece one, not one that bolts together from pieces. At least then it will improve chassis rigidity, to an extent. Moss does a triangulated brace, that will do a good job.

Ultra Racing (MX5parts?) is a Malaysian company that has a pretty good design, which seems to be a straight copy of a Japanese Carbing brace

I have a RS Aizawa bar, rare as hens teeth

There is a lot out there, a lot of things have been developed over the last 30 years.

Thank you for your reply, would you be able to suggest any parts that would improve it that are cheap and easy to find?

Cone air filters improve the sound and are cheap. With the 1.6, you need to get a square to round adapter for the air flow meter, they are easy to find, and are more or less standard for that type of Bosch AFM. The Ramair filters seem very nicely made and are inexpensive.

I put on one recently, to replace a no-name filter. I get an odd whistling though on WOT

Advancing the timing to 14 degrees BTDC is a free modification that can improve the 1.6 low end torque.

The front lip spoilers can be found for about £100. With luck, you can find manifolds for £150. TSIs can be diy’ d with mesh and some LED lighting units.

Things that are cheap and will improve the car:

  1. Set of new plugs and leads
  2. Gear shifter upper, lower boot replacement, and replacement shifter bushing (MX5parts). With a gear oil change, this will give you a “like new” shift.
  3. Get good tyres.
  4. Get a 4-wheel alignment, a proper one, not just a check if its within spec. You can google, or search for people’s favourite settings.

These things might be a bit dull, but they will improve your car and not cost too much. I have no idea how much history you have with your 29 year old purchase, but I’d imagine to start off with, you want to focus on getting the car to a condition, mechanically, similar to how it left the factory. The cheapo air filter will give you some smiles.

The car has got literally no service history and it’s been sat on a farm for ages. But it started first time yesterday

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Even more reason to get the basics done. I would not be surprised if one of the first things to do is to learn to weld.

Need service, new brakes, new tyres, full fluids change, cam belt/waterpump, auxilary belts. Assess what you’ve got before thinking about modifications.

I was already gonna fit new everything. And I can weld pretty well so that’s not gonna be an issue

Im always looking for one of those complete bootlid ducktails but can never find one that’s not crazy expensive!

I’m not too bothered about getting a duck tail, but I really want the other bits. It’s a shame I only get paid 700 a month because I’m an apprentice mechanic

There is a Facebook page for MX5 parts.

You can lower the car a bit by cuting down the coils; you might need to google to see how much you can take off.

Plastic lawn edging can make for a front lip spoiler.

I think a Renault Laguna front spoiler can be made to fit.

AFM filter adapters are cheap, but you can make one welding a bit of tubing to a square.

Interior; you can do a console delete, and make up a shifter ring. I used bits of plastic, epoxy and pickup bed paint

The TSIs; mesh from B&Q, buy some lights on ebay etc.

Headlight scoop; back in the day, I used a Rover Metro bonnet scoop. It was functional

Bumper side markers; with a drill, you can illuminate them.

You can enlarge the throttle body using Pug butterflies, need sot be mechanically minded though.

If the car has the stock steering wheel, peel off the rubber centre cover to reveal a nice Momo wheel

In the early days of the Mk1 (well, 1997), you couldn’t get anything unless it was from Moss. So you improvised.

Damn, sounds like you are really experienced when it comes to mx5s. Cheers for your tips. In terms of eventually turboing it, what would you recommend

Forced Induction is not my thing, but I would suggest you look at the DIY route. Off the shelf turbo kits seem to be £3k and up. But it seems to me that many people have moved away from the off the shelf solutions, from companies such as Flyin’ Miata, and more to homebrew kits. Not sure it really works out any cheaper, but maybe it suits people who want to take their time.

The alternative is supercharging, using ex-MINI Cooper chargers. eg

Respectfully, though, I would suggest you are a long way from that.

Stick a book on your Christmas list. This gives a good intro:

Keith Tanner was/is the IT guy at Flyin’ Miata, the American outfit that set the standard with forced induction and MX5 tuning. Its not a technical how to, because it assumes a certain amount of mechanical knowledge, but its a good primer to get going.

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I have a garage and shed with bits and pieces from a Eunos '90, as I am sure others on here have. Don’t be afraid to post for bits on the forum. We converted our Eunos into an Exocet, if the body work is too far gone its always an option :stuck_out_tongue:

What’s the difference between a eunos and an exocet?



As you can see, an Exocet is kit car built around a tubular space frame chassis.
They are built using Mk1, Mk2 or Mk3 donor cars when the shell is too far gone to be worth repairing.

Or your Son wraps it around the M3 :crazy_face:

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I’m not gonna lie, I don’t like the look of the exocet, but that’s just my opinion

Mine too.
It looks like the 7’s overweight, tarty sister to me