LHD to RHD conversion - reprise - Is it feasible?

Hi All. This is my first post here and I realise that there was a discussion about this some years ago but only general answers that it was a major undertaking to convert a Mk.1 from LHD to RHD but I wanted some clarification on the extent of the work required so looking to this forum for some help.

Firstly, why would I want to do this when there are so many Mk.1’s available for purchase?

The answer is that I bought this car as a surprise wedding present for my wife 11 years ago as she’d always wanted one and had a picture of one attached to her computer monitor. We live in Denmark, so the car is LHD, but are about to return home to the UK to live and she would not be happy driving a left-hooker on UK roads. I could sell it and buy another one but it wouldn’t be ‘Milly’ and wouldn’t be the same.

So I’m up for the challenge but if it’s major surgery then I just need to know. Are the bulkheads really different for LHD and RHD cars? So I would need to cut it out and replace it?

Hoping for some clarity on the subject.

Thanks in advance.

Alun

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Massive undertaking! I have no idea of the details but the more I think about it the more of a “mad” idea it becomes. I think that it would be a better idea to convince your (clearly ecstatic) wife to accept the fact that driving a LHD car in the UK isn’t all that bad and it may even lead to an interesting talking point.

Lovely photo BTW.

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Thanks Robbie but I think that would be a lost cause. She’s already worried that driving on the left in a RHD car is a major issue after 35 years in Denmark. Getting her to do it in a LHD car would be nigh-on impossible. It could be worse than taking on a “mad” project. I’d just like to get a better idea of how “mad” it is.

There is an episode of Flipping Bangers (on Prime video) where they tried to do such a conversion, though not an mx5.
They gave up as it’s just too difficult

You have two alternative choices, swap the car or swap the wife!!!
:heart:

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I’m certain it can be done as the lh/rh variants are there, but the logistics of doing it would be a real headach when cars are so readily available as you mentioned.

Heater core, steering rack and column, pedals, master window controls, looms, brake master cylinder and any abs if fitted, air con if fitted, headlight orientation, dash, dash support etc. A massive undertaking when there are so many factory supplied rhd cars available.

If the wife fell in love with that one perhaps she could fall in love with another? Why not try out a different model? The updated creature comforts and usability factor could be enough to help loosen the attachment :+1:

Odd thought but what about buying an identical RHD car and swapping the plate across ??

Presumably it would be cheapest to buy a poor example RHD car in the UK for the parts, as opposed to buying the parts seperately. Then it’s just a case of getting one of the restoration garages to do all the work.

Alternatively, buy the poor example RHD and use it for long drives, and use ‘Milly’ albeit with the LHD for short journeys out to local events where distance would minimise risk in terms of driving LHD in the UK - it’s possible with time your wife would get used to LHD in the UK and find the RHD was no longer required.

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Thanks for all of your comments. It seems that no one has actually attempted this ‘mad’ idea so I’ll have to try it for myself (neither the ‘new car’ and especially not the ‘new wife’ options are attractive). I plan to buy a rusty Mk.1 RHD and put it next to Milly remove both engines/gearboxes (Milly is close to needing a new clutch and the dashboard, steering column and wiring loom issues are obvious) and see what I find. I think from that I should be able to guage the scale of the work and decide whether it’s worth trying. If I succeed I will post the saga somewhere. So if you don’t hear from me again on this subject you’ll know the answer… :wink:

Thanks again!

Alun

Good luck to you Alun

My overriding feeling is if you have to come on a forum and ask how hard it would be to do, you may not be equipped or experienced enough to do the task. I hope that does not sound harsh as it’s not supposed to. I admire people who just give it a go.

But what if it goes wrong? Will you not end up killing the car you are so eager to keep?
Can you not park it up, keep it waxed and oiled for sunny days and just buy an identical RHD one?

Good luck either way mate.

It does sound harsh. With six nut and bolt restorations under my belt I don’t think my experience is the issue. The reason I’m here is because Milly is the only MX5 I’ve familiar with and I was hoping that there were people here who would have a wider experience of the model who could give me an insight into what to expect. Clearly that’s not the case. I would never risk Milly’s integrity, she’s too good for that but it appears the only way of getting a better idea is to remove the powertrain (which I planned to do anyway) and directly compare her to a RHD model. If the task appears to be too great a risk I will not proceed further.

Thanks for all the feedback. I guess this closes the issue.

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Fair play Alun, good luck.

I could not possibly give any insight to someone who has done six nut and bolt restorations as yourself.

Leigh Windridge (Jimparts) had a 1990ish US spec Miata that had been converted to RHD. He’s registered on various forums, but not particularly active, and moved into photography. The Miata I suspect is long gone.

There are quite a lot of documented RHD (Eunos Roadster) to LHD conversions

https://www.mx5life.com/threads/how-to-do-a-lhd-conversion.50895/

There is a lot of commonality between NA and NB MX5s. Rusted out RHD NBs are ten a penny for a front clip to be a firewall donor. Actually putting in NB VVT mechanics into a NA would be a pretty decent conversion