Looking for mx5 mk1 March2021

Hi I’m looking for a manual 1.8 mx5 mk1 from years 1995-1999 in good nick and was wondering whether anyone was selling one as can’t find a good one on other sites as very rusted and poorly kept, price range up to 5k. Thanks

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Wellcome along, good luck with the search.

I think you need to up your budget to buy a a nice rust less mk1. The ones I were looking at were £6k to£9k

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You can get them for 5k. A few months back I looked at buying a mk1, viewed a Harvard edition on 60k. It had original sills, stored in a garage, fsh, guy put it up for £4500 and I offered £4k, we agreed on 4150 in the end. I put a deposit down but did not buy it due to it not passing the emissions standards for my area and thus costing £12 a day to drive, now I have a MK3.
It was a P Reg car but it would have sold for sure by now.
The condition was excellent though, this was after I bought a MK2 that was all rotten underneath so had done my research then and took my torch with me.

But they are out there. Many people say there are either ones where the rust has been sorted or ones where there’s rust but you just haven’t found it yet.

If you find a low mileage one in need of work, get the sills fixed £700 and get an underseal done and then you should be good for a few years? Make it your own as buying one that looks clean would probably still need a proper inspection as they seem to rust from the inside out.

The phrase, the better the devil you know springs to mind.

“A few months back” is the operative phrase

2018, CAGR of 8.5%. Mk1 MX5s have been a discretionary purchase for a long time now (few people are usiing them as their main transport, and mostly using them for hobby purposes). MX5s were doing this during a stagnant period for the classic car market, when the overall market was 1%.

A £4000 “rust free” Mk1 is the exception, not the rule. Sure you could get lucky. A “rust free” car could still be riddled.

This sill looks pretty good. Something going on near the seam, but it doesn’t look significan t

The owner then peeled back the metal

And after grinding back the “surface rust” on the inner sills, its clear there are holes

They rot from the inside out. If its all original, and certainly if a UK model, I’d say there is a ticking time bomb in repairs.

Even a £5k car might disappoint in 12 months time.

The good news is the value is rising at a rate that approximates the cost of repairing 1 sill and arch.

If you are looking at keeping a car for 2-3 years +, its therefore worth the investment for sinking the £2k needed.

Someone is selling a relatively early 1-owner UK spec Mk1 for £500 on the forum. Unless it has sold already, its a no brainer at that price. Hopefully someone will buy it and do it properly.

If spending £5000 on an “original” car, unless its one of those cosmetically rough fresh imports, I wouldn’t not be under any illusions that it is “rust free”. If you are looking for a longer term keeper, either up the budget, or reduce the purchase price, to increase the restoration budget; allow £1000-1200 for welding/paint, £400 for a new hood.

Hi Jello, I will be selling my 1997 Mk1 1.8i in BRG with hardtop very soon which is in your bracket. Just had MOT and service and in very good condition. If you want to PM me i can send you more details.
Kind regards

How would you recommend finding a good one thats worth doing it to? Generally the ones I see on carandclassic, ebay, facebook and autotrader are in awful condition or seemingly pricey for their condition. Thanks

Broaden your search criteria; if not already, include imports in your search.

MOT history goes someway, but its not foolproof; having said that, a car with years of rust advisories might be “untouched”, ie it might be rusty, but it might be better than the rust bodged car (ie a car with a fail, then a few years later, a fail on the same side).

Online car tax checker will tell you when a car was first taxed. eg mine;

Most grey imports dried up after 2004, but some continued to trickle in. If you can find a car imported in the last 10 years, essentially, it will be like a 10 year old car. The sills will likely to be just on the turn, but things like the front wings will be all good. If the rusting is just in the sills, then only localised paint needed.

This car was imported 2003:

It seems tidy, and well priced.

You’re not going to get a bargain from a dealer.


And probably reset your expectations what “pricey” means. Mk1 values are going up ~10% per year. Its a sellers market.

If you’re after a good one then I’d recommend you attend the Donnington Historic festival the first weekend in May. The Mx5 owners club will have a display area of members cars who will be more than happy to show you over their pride and joy and give you some good advice too and you never know some of them may be selling.