NB What to do? re-paint? or too much already spent?

Yes, I mean this kind of repair, the sort that MX5restorer and others do. I’ve had two MX5 repaired in this sort of way, but I would take issue with your dismissive “superficial” adjective. I have the bills if you doubt me.

The car you refer to was a rotted out UK car. I have never owned a UK spec car in 25 years for that very reason.

If you understand anything about how corrosion occurs in the MX5, you know why most attention is paid to chopping out the rear sill and rear wing.

SAZ9961 was in the workshop for 3 months. K843JJN was in for a month. My cars were not as rotted as yours, but the sounds of it. You were unlucky, and I would question the competance of the “MX5 specialist” referred. There are a couple out there who would give cowboys a good name.

The work you describe does not take “weeks”. MX5restorer is quite obviously referring to duration, not work, as they are a busy workshop. They might spread the work out over several weeks.

I don’t doubt that sort of repair you mention costs 2k. When I say superficial it’s because some people think that’s all they need and some need way more and we should not dismiss the idea that there are quite a few cars out there that need a lot more. Anyone buying an MX5 NA or NB should be checking the sills all the way up not just the arches and rear - in my view. A usb camera is not dear.

I don’t doubt I was unlucky and yes mine is a U.K. car although an grey import is no guarantee of a goodun as some eunos have been around the U.K. for 15 years. It depends on how they have been looked after.

They rust in the arches as it gets in the seam I know. If water has been left in the sill though you end up either trying to patch it or you are taking out the entire side if it’s being done properly. Here is another one - the famous Phil.

And another one.

And here is exactly what my strengthener looked like but this isn’t mine.


Doing the paint and underside right down both sides including the stone chip and the black sill paint is over a day probably closer to two of actual time sorting it out.

Anyone reading this thread can take their own view of whether they could do it themselves or if they had to take somewhere and If so who, as a thread elsewhere on this forum indicates there are not that many body shops that will take in this level of work. Your really going to a classic car restorer ( who are not going to charge less than the work they would do on a 105 Bertone say because it’s an MX5), MX5 restorer, MX5 city or one or two others.

If anyone has had this level of repair done on an MX5 and paid significantly less than (say) 6k both sides making and replacing whole internal structural panels up to and into the A post then can they pm me or let me know who on this thread as I am a serial classic car enthusiast and most of the stuff I get is 80s and often comes with attendant rust issues.

The classic Alfa forum would be interested to know too.

And back to the original point of me commenting on this thread- don’t rebuild your entire suspension with new and completely restore the front end (which is what I did) or spend £1000 on some paint before you know if you are going to be contemplating this sort of repair. Not unless you really really love your MX5 or you can take the hit.

Thank you all. That is one hell of an education in restoration, rust, and associated costs. I have ordered a USB camera to look in the sills to start with…

1 Like

Let us know how you get on.

Will do… got this sinking feeling… camera will arrive later this week…

I’m in a similar dilemma with a classic mini project that I’ve been doing as lockdown 3 project. My tame painter will charge around £1000 to paint a stripped and part prepped car but the COVID has got him and he’s closed shop for the foreseeable future maybe permanently. I’ve rattle canned over the repairs but the prices from other painters are double what my man would charge me (probably because we know each other and what to expect). So, pay £2000 to paint it or move it on as it is, that’s my dilemma. Never intended keeping the car, it’s just been something to keep me sane during lockdown/winter…

Yep I can’t help you there other than to sympathise. I keep meaning to join an old fashioned local classic car club as opposed to a marque club ( I am not a member of MX5 oc (yet) but I am two others) as I have reports of members of local clubs supporting each other with painting and some welding - lending tools, offering in person advice and attendance and the like so the job gets done some how.

Just see how you get on. Some will be fine, maybe the vast majority, some will be not. I though, am not convinced there are not a fair number of NAs and NBs like this. Depends on how they have been maintained. You’d not know mine was rotting out and losing its integrity down the sills unless you spent time looking for it specifically by spending time with a borescope. Mine is an NA and will be 4 or 5 years older than yours.

If it’s fine then it’s a win. If it’s not but not terrible then I’d keep the car but temper my plans for it accordingly and get advice on how to at least slow it down - even shiny new metal is rust waiting to happen. If it’s looking like those photos of the titantic after she’d been under for 80 years then I’d still find a local welder and find out how much bearing in mind when choosing said welder you’ll be driving it if it has a smack.

Just a point - when you say imported Eunos have been around for 15 years - its a bit longer than that!

I had an NA when they were current (it was 1995-1996) and when we were selling it, lots of people then were asking if it was a UK car or an import, as there were starting to get to be a few around. The imports were worth a lot less then and the fact that we had a UK car meant it was worth more. Therefore there have been NA imports here since the mid-90s at least.

Yep I understand that is the case although I imagine a lot came in early noughties as a euno looked like a much more attractive proposition rust wise than an MX5 although there always seemed to be a better range of options on a eunos. I understand from the net some mk3 MX5s uncared for are showing very significant rust. Many are completely sound. It all depends on how they’ve been looked after. My wife, fastidious about the house has washed one car once in 17 years of marriage and her mx5 mk3 owned from new was only ever washed by the dealer when it went in for service. I doubt it ever had a drain hole cleaned in the three years she had it. I didn’t drive it much so ignored it. An early NA might have never been out in wet and kept in a carcoon over the winter. I have checked to see if mine was ever in Israel as i feel it could have been parked in the Dead Sea. A subsequent owner who has not checked does not know. I’ve seen cars for sale described as arch repairs done and mint. After what I’d know I’d be taking that borescope. I’ve seen pictures of arch repairs being done where you can see the tell tale orange start extending up the sill past the point of repair. Once it’s like that it’s only a matter of time. Even with no salt and some waxoyl if the rust proofing is breached with surface rust, the surface gets pits and the pits open up and within a few years it’s had it.

So, I have taken some photos of the inside of the sill. The first three are the drivers side, which look to be in worse condition than the passenger side.

Passenger side

20210227123726120 20210227123631895

They are good photos, have you found out where the sills were repaired yet? They should have had some new metal cut and welded in. If not they have just been filled over.
Looking at those photos I would not be spending £1000 on a re-spray at this time.
I would spray everything I could get to with Dynatrol ML using the 600mm Lance. It’s not too expensive on eBay and ML is designed for classic cars as it can go over rust. It is oily rather than waxy. It will not stop the corrosion but should delay it.
I would also pay the £85 or so for one of the paint less dent removal people to take out the parking dings. Then polish it and live with it until the sills need doing again, and put the money towards that repair when needed.
Just my opinion on how to have the best fun out of it without breaking the bank and based on products I know but I am sure there are far more experienced members out there who can give better advice.


I’d put that in the okay it’s rust but not terrible category. Mine was way worse than that.

It’s into the seam and if I’m looking at these the right way up it’s into the base of the inner sill on the drivers side.

It’s in the seam. This is a stress point for the metal and it can often start here. It will continue to rust but you can slow it.

I’d consider seeing if some once can cut out the worst affected area of the inner sill and make good without taking the outer off as doing that property will cost a lot and bodging it will make it worse.

I think they call it the castle rail area on MGBs but I’d check that - in an MX5 it’s all part of the inner sill and there is a separate floor rail.

Below is what the whole inner sill panel looks like - I think the bit you are showing is rusty is the narrow vertical flange in this pic which forms the floor between the floor rail and the inner outer lip.

I’d take it to a small welding shop with a lift and ask them to cut that bit out and put in repair piece in (say) 14 or 15 gauge. While it was open (ie on the ramp) I’d get in there with a wire brush and try and clean up as much of the surface rust that you can see gently as you’ve still got plenty of grey paint. I’d get into the seam if poss. Then I’d degrease it with a degreaser - I buy five litre kegs of it from screw fix (important) and wash that out, dry it (I use my air line extensively) and pour liberal amounts of Bilt Hamber hydrate 80 ( other mild rust converters are available) round it. Arguably you could also use that direct to rust paint . I ‘d then pour anti rust wax all over it. - ideally under pressure or with a wand to get it all over - I use Bilt Hamber dynax s50 on my Alfasud. I’d keep checking it and not let water build up on it.

It won’t be perfect but it will slow the rusting right down. You can just enjoy the summer with as is but if you try the above you’ve a decent chance of having it a few summers.


That is what I’d do. Others may have different ideas if I have not offended them too much by suggesting a 2k rear wheel arch repair is superficial - its the going rate for proper professional arch rear sill repairs - but it does’t solve this.

How are you arches. As noted that is where they often go and mine went there too.

Ps as Binty says those are very good photos. If you’d be happy to do so can you tell forum members which usb camera you went for and which phone your using it with as they are super.


Really appreciate all the support you guys have given me. I will use this to visit a garage with.

I ended up buying the only camera with a fixed usb-c connector (rather than an adaptor) from Ebay.

Forgot to say that I use this with Samsung Note 20 Ultra

Thanks for that. It’s better than my Bosch.

Don’t let anyone cut a lump out of the outer sill to fix it if the outers are sound. Bodge merchants will tell you they need to cut a rectangle out, they will fanny about in the sill, weld it up with a sheet of steel and make it look smoothish with liberal filler - try and keep metal untouched if it ain’t rusty.

Binty makes fair points too. Ultimately it’s how much you want to spend. Someone spent 77k on one of these (in an article I was reading) albeit they stuck a 500bhp Corvette motor in it. Check the front chassis rails too - they are notorious on an nb.

1 Like