Mk 1 prices

I am considering selling my 1992 Eunos roadster imported in 2017 by Goodwood Sports cars. I am the first uk owner, paid £4750 for it (no rust but full respray due to faded paint) and subsequently spent around £1000 with mx5 specialist Thrusington Garage.

I had always thought that the general consensus was that mk1 Mx5 prices are rising, though having looked at a few for sale adverts on this forum that there is currently a good looking 1994 S special for sale for £1995.

As there has also been a number of apparently immaculate cars for sale in the £2000-£5000 range which struggled to sell, I am now totally confused how to value the car

Any thoughts ?

I spent almost 4k restoring my own 93 Mk1 this year however I’d be “lucky” to get 3k for it probably 2k plus.

To paraphrase a certain Wayne Carini, much of the value in an old car lies in it’s original untouched factory condition. Neither of our cars have that.


I also commit the great Cough Cough Harrumphing Henry sin of needing an Automatic. 

However I was offered 4k for it by another customer who was having work done in the same shop…but he’d be a one off with more cash than sense.

How do you pitch it? Endless variables of a see-saw market say there is no benchmark.

I’d go for the old “£4.99” which sounds a lot less than a Fiver to some, and pop it in at £3,950 with an honest upbeat ad. 

You have to accept people like Goodwood need to profit shifting tin, and would have paid substantially less than your purchase price, plus the overheads of making it safe and presentable.

What’s the worst that can happen? Probably knock it down to £3.5 fixed.

Who knows ? Maybe with luck your local SpecSavers had a half price deal in rose tints!  

Don’t bank on getting all you dosh back though. 

Low miles unwelded ones on the likes of Mx5City get only a couple of k’s more.  


Just out of interest what did you spend £1k on if the car was rust free and already had a respray?

At the moment lots of people are not spending money and car prices are down and even the market for second hand Morgan’s is taking a good knock.

Selling a 2 seater car that is a bit “too nice” to use as a daily driver is not filling any “need to have slot that people have”.

The Classic car market goes up and down but to an extent the likes of Goodwood Sports cars have set a bar on prices that a private seller has to get well below to sell a car as they are not offering a guarantee or credit facilities.


If I recall, the extent of the supplying dealer went to making your car safe and presentable was fitting some second had suspension parts, and months of toing and throwing sorting out scruffy paint. You probably paid over the odds for the car in the first place, but in return, you get a “fresh” import, though I’m guessing Goodwood never shared with you the auction sheet showing what grade it was.

Hagarty reported the MX5 (Mk1) had the highest CAGR for auction values:

But I’m guessing this was based on a small sample size (how many Mk1 MX5s go through classic car auctions).

You probably paid £2000-3000 more than for a similar car sourced through a private seller, ie., the car was worth £2-3000. Unfortunately, as a fresh import, the valuation by the dealer was distorted by a combination of rising Japan values and a crashing pound. A dealer has his money tied up at sea for 6-8 weeks. He probably applied a 100% markup, to keep his business viable. But the price he paid for the car had little relationship to the UK market. During the noughties, the UK market was over supplied with grey imports. The supply of cars from Japan has declined since ~2004-5, but might be picking up a little recently (I sense) but nowhere near previously.

When I brought my first import in 1997, a 1992 car, Mazda wanted to relive me of £11,000 for a 1990 UK spec car. I paid £8900 for the import, and was very happy.
In 2000, some lowlife stole that car from a MX5OC meeting, and torched it. I was fearing the worst with the payout, because imports were getting a lot of negative press at the time (Quentin Wilson labeled tham as rotboxes). The insurance payout was £6700. I managed to get a replacement car, a 1991 import, for under £6k, leaving me with a little spending money on it.
I had that car repainted in 2004, for £900. It looked smart. I sold it in 2005, with 140k miles on it, for £3500. I was very happy with that.
I paid £4000 at the time for my current 1996 S-Special 2, which even then, wasn’t mint, a few scratches, and a worn out roof
A few months later, I brought a M2-1002 for £2700. had it for a year, made it roadworthy, restored the Panasports, but ultimately decided it was too big a job for me (Japan-era accident damage).
So I sold it for £1700 to Sam Goodwin, along with some bundled garage work, that to me was worth £1000 (Sam supplied and fitted to SAZ a new hood, and fitted/setup the Performance5 coilovers), so I was probably out of pocket by £3-500.
In 2013, I brought a S-Limited; ex-show car that had been modified, but now had hailstone damage (120 dents I counted) and needed a new roof, and wheel refurbishment. Brought as the keeper, over a period of the next 5-6 years was slowly put right, though it had a number of infuriating mechanical issues, slowed by the fact the car was 100 miles from where I lived… I paid £2700 for that, though it did come with an unfitted supercharger, so probably about £2200 for the car itself. 2012-13 was probably when values were starting to firm up.
After a long period of advertising, I eventually sold that car for £3300, but it probably cost me, including original purchase, £6000 to get it to the immaculate state I let it in.
Meanwhile, by 2017, SAZ had sunk to a low; the BAS hood fitted by Sam was now literally held together by gaffer tape, to sills and arches were rotted, and it was on its second engine, with 270k kms on the clock, compared to 90k kms when I got it. Oh, and along the way I had smacked it into a grass bank, so now the front wings don’t quite match the bonnet that had been part of the complete respray in 2009. It was probably worthless, so I did the sensible thing by spending £2000 on it.

The market is complex; values are rising for some cars, and firming up for others.

As pointed out, the big numbers are made by the clean original cars, proving Pete Lewis was right, despite everyone hating him. But the rest of the market is still maturing. I sense that mainstream classic car dealers and auctions are still dismissive of any import. That won’t last; I don’t see dealers turning down ex-Arizona MGBs for instance.

Repairs and restorations; one man’s restoration is another man’s bodge-up. I think very very few Mk1s have actually been restored. Yes, they’ve been done up, prettified.The sill repairs are still pretty crude compared to what you read of in older classic cars. eg, with factory rear wings still available, is it better to effect a rear sill repair by replacing the entire with with a factory part, rather than welding in bits made from a Chinese made repair panel, and some scrap steel lying around the workshop. I can see the arguments for and against (the former uses OE parts, the latter preservers the original structure at the cost of adding arguably inferior aftermarket parts). I think the gold standard for a restoration has yet to be set. Yes, people go on about MX5restorer, but his repairs are really no different from any of the other MX5 specialists around the country. And that mostly because its not worth restoring a MX5 thats missing its sills, floor, etc.

Again, like the question of imports, the market view of repaired/restored cars is not going to remain static. There will be a seperation of the wheat from the chaff. We are a long way from that though.

Anyone buying a Mk1 to make money is a fool. Even if you managed to find a cosmetically perfect specimen and keep it that way, the cars are getting to an age now where new mechanical failures are occurring as previously long lived components give up the ghost. If Hagerty is correct, and Mk1s are making 8.5% a year, on a £4000 car, thats barely covering routine servicing, let alone unforeseen repairs. And of course the real world cagr, away from the 20 odd cars that go to auction each year, is probably more like 2-3% (if you want to make money, buy a cheap car, then leave it on the drive).

So you take your £4750 car, which was really worth £2500, add in a £1000 respray. Yes, today, its probably worth £3500, on a good day. Console your self with the thought that if you spent £4750 on a 10 year old Fiesta, it will probably be worth less than £2k now.

Which might go to show, if you want a Mk1 right now, your best choices are either that £10k garage queen that you would be afraid to use, or the £1000 car with the dubious MOT history, but for which the market will still bear sinking in £2000 for the inevitable repairs/restoration.


Suspension and general mechanics I suspect.


Not sure Goodwood actually offers any kind of guarantee thats worth anything. The prices set are set by events on the otherside of the world, and Goodwood’s hunch that eventually the market will catch up.


I was checking how much it would be to get a MX5 from, say, New Zealand. A lot it seems. £5500 seems to be the entry level there.


Besides the loss of imports causing supply to fall here, and thus affect values (supply/demand) a small effect might be North America; at least one US importer has been buying up Japanese cars from the UK market (bizarrely) on the premise that the UK is cheap compared to Japan. That has the potential to impact supply, but it will be small.


Your a bit behind the times SAZ re the MX5Restorer.

For otherwise clean cars in nice condition but cruddy arches, they are advising owners to do a complete Genuine Mazda rear wing for the reasons you suggests.

In a lot of cases owners do not want to pay the extra for that, they advised me when I talked to them at the Spring Rally.

If we take the Mazda Japanese Refurbs as being the “Gold Standard”, “who knows”, Mazda would not restore one that need much bodywork done.

I would agree that an MX5 is a car to drive not an investment.


Well remembered !.. I had naively believed all the assurances of quality on the dealers website, hence had been willing to pay a premium for a quality car. To say the least I was somewhat frustrated when discovering numerous issues resulting from work that had been undertaken (e.g the use of “used” suspension), or checks that should have been made (e.g gear change, fluid levels) . The dealer did say to take the car back to fix, though given the distance, and having experienced the quality of their work, I did not consider this a valid option for me.

Luckily they had done a good job sourcing the car (as the car was fundamentally good), and the respray seems high quality. However having had a full windows out respray, I am still conscious the trim has been disturbed/refitted, though having also had a mk 1  from new my expectations were probably too high !

The main expense since was  replacing the replacement suspension .

The £3500 figure a couple of people mentioned seems the right ball park, though it is surprising that some cars offered here for £2000 which appear to be very good arnt selling.

I just need to make sure that I don’t regret selling…like I have with my previous 4 mk1’s (including a very low mileage SE) … though that has been over a period of 25 years!

Just because i can…

I presume your car is a 1.6?

If it’s got the original panels and hasn’t been welded, and is in good order. I could see you getting your money back quite easily. Finding good ones now is very difficult. There are very few imports coming into the UK now.

I paid a lot for my recent import, and I’ve spent quite a lot on getting it how I want it. There’s no way I’'ll be selling it cheap, and am pretty confident that I could get good money for it, once people see it in the flesh.


This is not the best place to sell a MX5 if you want it sold quickly. It will only get seen by a small audience, most of which already have a MX5. My S-Limited sold because someone on another forum spotted it. Other than that, I had several timewasters, one of which purported to be in the trade.


I guess they read my posting on the topic from a few years ago.


Mazda won’t touch a car with any body damage or rust. Its in their T&Cs. It s a publicity stunt, just like their similar programme in 2004.


Out of interest, did they share with you the auction sheet.


It would have looked like this:



xx means repaired accident damage.

To the OP.

Whatever your reasons for considering to sell, frankly I’d think again.

The thing “owes you” nigh on 6k. Mine owes me a lot more than yours. Some said I was throwing good money after bad, more said I was doing the right thing after owning it for 15 years so I knew every single nut & bolt. I’d say over the last 4 years I’ve sunk 5.5k into it. But, I did it because I knew what I’d end up with, I’m 67 now and if…I am fit enough as I am now to get another 3/4 years fun out of it , it will owe me little by then even if by then rot is appearing…again…and it goes spares/repairs.

You will simply not get your “investment” back for now. There are still too many genuine garage queens around for a couple of K more. That was my issue…to get a Mk1 I could afford on my pensions was too much. Any cars I’d want were 2/3 k more than I could afford…so I fixed what I had. 

I’ve also spent around 5k “restoring” SWMBO’s 2002 Sport over the last 5 years…so trust me I’ve been there.

Like mine, it’s had so much changed it’s originality is long gone as most are, and simply having a strong tub is not enough to get 4.5k or more out of it. People with that kind of dosh know what they want. 

I’d say keep it if you can, and get a couple of years fun out of which is why, I presume, you bought it and then went on to put right at your further expense what the importer tried to…and note how I use kind words there. 

Or, you can bite the bullet, unload it for both what Saz ( and he knows more about this stuff than anyone else I know) & I agree is feasible, and move on. It’s a tough one.

If you want to talk about it, PM me and I’ll pop my mobile over to you. 


To answer a  couple of question …

No, I’m afraid I do not have the auction sheet, it’s something I asked for a few times but to no avail.

… and yes it’s a 1.6

I had the dealer fit a uk number plate surround  & Mx5 badge’s (as I personally prefer the look), which may not be to everyone’s taste. Apart from that, and a double din android, the look is basically original (ie no blatant after market enhancements)…  so it’s a car that should used, rather than be considered a candidate for a  “garage queen”

The “trouble” is we also have a beetle convertible and two large dogs who like sitting in the back with the roof down, so opportunities to use the mx5 are limited, hence less than 500 miles between mots.

I think I am still swaying towards the sale option

All of which changes everything really.

Can’t see a solid fiscal argument for keeping it. 

I’ve been following prices on eBay closely over recent weeks, and the situation looks dire. NA’s with good write ups, and appearing very good in the pictures, seem to struggle to reach £2k. I would like to think this is mainly a time of year thing, winters coming and no one is craving for an MX5 at the moment. However, contemporary vehicles like 1.6 Capri’s, or 1.3 Escorts appear to still command ridiculously high prices. OK, a Brooklands Capri or a Cosworth Escort might cut the mustard, but cooking saloons that I never much fancied when they were new?

So, I’ll keep looking and hope for an uptick April/May time, and continue to enjoy taking my NA out on dry, salt free winters days. It’s a shame I’m even considering selling, but £500/year for tax/ins/mot is weighing heavily when balanced against the 500 or so miles I usually drive per year (£1/milel - ouch!). I’m still daft enough to keep the car though because I love it so much, so maybe I’ll still be here for a few more years.


Well we seem to have the same car, and do the same mileage a year, and have the same thoughts / concerns about selling.
I agree that at £2000 it wouldnt be worth sellling, and the £500 a year cost, or £10 a week, for a hobby, doesnt sound too bad
I may test the water with the £3500 … probably wait to the spring… if this price isnt achievable I will keep it


You’re hardly comparing like for like.

There are zillions of MX5’s around.  

Whereas that is not the case for Capris.  A different generation of cars, for a start. 

I am not sure that ebay is a reliable way of judging Mk1 prices as the auction prices depend on car location, time of year and the number of bidders. Five years ago I bought my Mk2 for £600 which I was prepared to go up to £1400 as it was out in the sticks, just after Xmas, it had a short MOT and there was only one other bidder. Now that more dealers are beginning to get in on Mk1 prices you have to accept that a £2000 private sale will be the equivalent to a £3000 dealer sale as he will need to cover his costs and offer some kind of warranty.

It is much safer to think of an old MX5 as a cheap second (or Third!) family car. The running costs are low and the cost of repairs is less than the depreciation of a more modern car.