Making the jump - Convince me!

Greetings everyone. Current owner of a 2010 Cayman S looking to make the switch to a more carefree car ownership experience of a MX5 (possibly!). Trying to sort out test drives as never been in one but proving to be a hassle dealing with missed calls from traders. Was toing and froing from a mk1 and a mk2, but have decided to set my sights on a mk1, slightly pricier but I couldn’t live with the NB knowing about the chassis rail issues (are these easy to check during inspection ? If cheap enough to repair I could be swung around again)

I live around South West London, if anyone is slightly bored and would be kind enough to show me around in their pride and joy and a chinwag it would be a pleasure :slightly_smiling_face:

Kind regards, car enthusiast, Leo!

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The Mk1 will seem a lot slower, a lot older than your Cayman. Its getting old now, so won’t be a trouble-free, and will need a different kind of owner engagement. Mk1 or Mk2, the repairs needed,/expected, are well understood, and can be budgeted for in the cost of ownership.

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I wouldn’t be keeping it stock saz. Not too worried about the horror stories as I’ll be going with my eyes open and enough of a kitty left over.

Even modified (4k worth of turbo etc), the Mk1 won’t keep up with the Cayman.

If you have a large budget (in order of £10k; £3k for the car, £1k getting up to scratch, £6k for suspension, engine modifications), I suggest you look for a fresh import, and probably a Mk2 RS, which has a bit more power. Or even stretch to the factory Mazdaspeed turbo. With a fresh import, no worries on the chassis rails.

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I bought a brand new Cayman 2.7 in 2006, a truly fabulous car, meaning to keep it forever, but after 11 years it was costing to much in upkeep so I decided to sell it. The current crop of Porsches are in my opinion all too overpowered and overgeared to be used as intended on the road, and driven at legal speeds they are just boring and frustrating, so I decided to end my 20 years of Porsche ownership.

Last year I bought one of the last 2019 ND2 SE+ models (at a hefty discount) and it is the perfect modern replacement in that I can use pretty much all it has to offer without doing silly speeds. It is as good to drive as the Cayman but at a fraction of the cost, both to buy and to run.

I have also owned a really nice NA (Eunos roadster) some years back and the ND is a far better car. I wouldn’t put you off an NA, they are lovely, but they are getting old now and you will need to buy with great care.

My advice … try an ND before you make your mind up. I have not regretted it!


I’ve had the Cayman for 4 years. It’s a brilliant drivers car but to really enjoy it you’re doing silly speeds. So I’m not necessarily looking for something quick, just fun and cheap. Something a bit less refined thats why NA’s are taking my fancy. NB though I guess if the rails are good would be a better base to start with.

Lovely ND John. Do you daily it. ND is Honda S2000 money though isn’t it ? But that ND looks a great day to day machine more than the Honda.

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It’s my summer daily, I also have a VW UP GTI as my winter daily. Mine is the ultra basic (and cheap) SE model which is does not have the sat nav, fancy trim and other luxuries, and is all the better for it in my opinion. The earliest of these models are now down to about the £10k mark, which is what it will cost you to find a worthwhile NA and modify it, so it’s potentially within your budget. Good Honda S2000’s are pricey now, and I would be wary of a cheap one. They too suffer from the fact that you have to drive them hard to appreciate them, just like the Porsche, which is where the MX5 is different.

If it’s any consolation, several of my Porsche owning friends have come to the same conclusion in recent years and have moved to ND’s … hence this picture!

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South West London? If you want to pop down to Guildford I’d be happy to go for a blast in my NC.

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I’m one of those Porsche-owning friends to whom JRH was referring.

I’ve had a few, and their roles were sometimes just fun and sometimes more practical, but my priority was always involvement and entertainment. (Boxsters, Spyders, GT3, 964 and others.)

It’s my personal view that the ND MX-5 (can’t really speak for the previous versions) matches or exceeds the involvement and fun of any of those cars. It comes with huge bonuses, such as being fully involving at legal speeds, being far cheaper to purchase and maintain, and being able to be fully exploited by its driver without him or her looking like a spoilt pillock.

The MX-5 lacks the sheer excitement that you get with a Porsche, but after a while, I found excitement too closely aligned with danger (even if only that of losing my licence) and speed.

I find the MX-5 to be involving, entertaining, interactive, rewarding and fulfilling to drive ALL the time. For me, that easily trumps transient, fleeting excitement and general frustration bordering on boredom.


I too have come from Porsche ownership. Had a few Boxsters, but now have a Mk1. It is a very different vehicle to use. Speed is not the reason for these cars, although it will go ok compared to other traffic. However you can use all the revs in the first few gears before you are moving too quick and this is the point. It is really a mid point between a modern car and a historic. If you want to “engage” with the car rather than just go fast, the MX5 is a far better cr. You do end up getting more involved in small things that further bond you to the car. This includes keeping it on the road (they all rot etc) and doing “upgrades”, which is where you will see a lot of forum members talking about various new things they have bought. Most of these are “just because”, not because the car needs them. You an go down the performance route with exhausts, throttle bodies, induction, turbos etc and there is everything you could possibly wish for. In the end you should just get a car, enjoy it and you will not regret it…

Again, a Mk4 is very different from a Mk1, but while clearly a better all round car, potentially a Mk4 will be more closely judged against a Porsche and found inferior as performance is concerned, but get a Mk1 and performance is not the first or second thing you will think about as you are further down the engagement route…

Good luck!


Thanks for the info guys. Opened my eyes to whats on offer.

That would be very kind of you stressd. I’m about 35minutes away from Guildford. Not got any plans for the rest of the day.

I am in Leatherhead, not a million miles away.
I have a 2.0 sport prht nc from 2008. I used to have a 2004 1.8 rag top mk2.5. I also have a BMW M140 as my daily driver.

I loved my Mk2.5. Some of that love may have come from it only costing me £900 so my expectations were low. I bought it knowing that tin worm was meaning another MOT was unlikely without major surgery. Sold it almost a year later for £700 to a man with a plan and it is all welded up and back on the road. That would not have been economic for me, but he had the skill and equipment to do it himself.

Initially I was a little disappointed with the Mk3. Just didn’t “feel the love”. But now it has grown on me, I have the suspension just perfect for me, I have a decent sound system in it with android auto and I take it out any excuse I can get. Looking forward to a trip to the Peak District this weekend.

The BMW gets a run every two to three weeks just to turn it over.
The Mk3 has about 160 horsepower, which is plenty to put a smile on my face. The BMW has well over double that, and is faster than you ever need on the road (is nice though). I have done a number of track days in the BM, and do love that car - but it does not put the smile on my face the way the Mazda does. (Might be a different story in the winter.)

So… I could see me selling the BMW and keeping the Mk3 as my only car. With a Mk1 or 2, I don’t think I would consider that. I did test drive a mk4, and there was nothing wrong with it, but I think I am happier with an older MX5 than I would be with a new one simply because I don’t worry about making changes in an older car. Hifi changes, removing cup holders and converting to cubby spaces, swapping out suspension, etc. On a new car, it feels wrong to attack it with the spanners. But some mk4s are now getting old enough, so may sell the BM and end up with two Mazdas.


Didn’t realise when I bought my MX5 that you get an entire community thrown in for free - or for a few quid more you get the club as well.


I know I have been singing the praises of the ND, but I also had an NC previously and loved it too, and the later ones are new enough that a well chosen one should not present the upkeep issues of an NA or NB. Lots of good late model ones within your budget. They belong to the era when Mazda was owned by Ford and you can tell, the engine block even has FoMoCo stamped on it. They have a different feel to the ND which is much more Japanese in feel, like comparing a Triumph Bonnie to a Honda VFR, but still a great car, and roomier in the cockpit if that’s an issue.

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I forgot to mention. Pretty important I would say, it wouldn’t be the daily. I have access to a Honda Jazz which would take over the duties for commuting. Purely looking at this purchase as somewhat of a project and to stretch its legs on weekends. Feel like a NC or a ND are too nice to mess with in that regard.

Got off the phone to one trader this afternoon who had an 1997 NA which I would have liked to take a look at but he’s busy until next week :confused:

“Feel like a NC or a ND are too nice to mess with in that regard.”

Depends what you get… My NC was a write off, with no structural damage. Easy fix by the folks that bought it at auction and sold it to me. I paid less than £3k (but the car owes me north of £4k with the suspension and hifi updates). You could easily spend more on a mk1, and smart money on them is to keep as standard as possible to enhance value. If you get into rust issues, then easy to spend £2k getting that fixed.

As a play thing, I do get the appeal of an early one. I went to the NC as I wanted a bit more modern performance and usability, with thoughts of European holidays etc.

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Leo, I have PM’d you.

I also have an old RAV4 for really bad winter days and as a load carrier - you can’t get much into the MX-5’s boot on a run to the tip. :joy:

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Im going to be advertising mine . When my membership direct debit gets approved.
Mk1 rs ltd . Very well known car. Pm me if your interested

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I’m in Cheam if you fancy being given a ride in a mk2.
As I understand it, the only real bad part of the mk2 when compared to the mk1 is the chassis rails. Just had mine replaced at MX5restorers down in Eastbourne. Cost was £800. On top of that, also had mine fully undersealed.
Things I love about mine:

  • Just a pleasure to be in, and it’s fun at road legal speeds
  • Costs? Well this is my third mk2, so I’ve owned them for a total of around 4 years and never had an issue. They’ve stopped depreciating, meaning that the money you spend on rust resolution really isn’t that much down the drain
  • Very easy to “personalise”. I’ve done nothing to the performance of mine, but with a few changes to minor things (e.g. gear knob, wheels etc), it “feels” special to me
    Frankly, I don’t care that your average warm hatch would be faster. Makes me smile when I’m in it, and even more so when you realise how damn cheap it is to run.

I’m thinking about making the jump in the opposite direction, from a 1999 NB 1.8i S to a Cayman in the next few years, so the comments from Porsche owners are illuminating. I find the MX-5 engaging and fun even at low speeds. It is worth noting that an NB MX-5 is approximately 300 kg lighter than a 987 Cayman, and has a 15 cm shorter wheelbase.

I park the MX-5 in a side road in north London, with no view of the car from my home, and never have any concerns about it being stolen, etc, so in that sense it is definitely a carefree car ownership experience. I inherited the car, so I have an emotional attachment to it, but not a financial one.

Since March 2019 I’ve had to spend £656 on an oil service, new battery, and new front calipers, discs and pads. I initially thought the brake calipers seem to be a problem on this car, but on inspection of the full service history the front calipers seem to have lasted nearly 21 years before needing to be replaced. The car has been kept outside for at least 18 years and only done 26,000 miles in that time.

A couple of my mum’s past bills for servicing and maintenance have surprised me for what is supposed to be a cheap to run car, and this work was done by an independent garage:

£1,494 for a full service, MOT and maintenance in 2018: brake fluid change, coolant change, engine oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, spark plugs, washer fluid. Welding to nearside sill, replace front shock absorber, coil springs and anti-rollbar links. Replace rear tyres, unblock roof drain channel, replace front wiper blades. Check for front brakes binding - remove front brake pads, clean and lub.

£950 for a full service, MOT and maintenance in 2014: brake fluid change, coolant change, engine oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, spark plugs, washer fluid. Replace rear brake discs and pads, replace rear brake calipers [previously replaced in August 2009]. Clean roof seals lub and adjust.

I am steeling myself for future costs, as the latest MOT has numerous advisory notes about corrosion to suspension arms, front and rear sub-frame, front and rear anti-roll bars, rear vehicle structure on both sides. Although the advisories say, “but not seriously weakened” or “but structural rigidity is not significantly reduced”, it still gives me the jitters.