Newbie seeking advice for buying an NB

Hi there,

I hope this is the most appropriate place for this sort of query.

I am a new member from Bristol on the hunt for an NB. Having recently viewed my first candidate, I already find myself falling in love with it – against my more rational side that would be more comfortable after viewing a few more. I was hoping someone here might be able to better gauge its quality, especially its rust level.

Along with probably most prospective MX-5 buyers, rust is my greatest concern. And despite my extensive research, I don’t feel my inexperienced eyes are quite qualified to scrutinise the dealer’s claims.

The car is advertised at £2,995, and although not much is known about its history maintenance-wise, the dealer claims it is fantastic condition for its age. From what I can see, it does indeed seem good: although it has clearly had welding work done on the rear sills, I cannot see any bubbling in the usual rust spots (barring a bit below the A-pillar on the nearside).

My understanding is that finding a rust-free specimen at a reasonable price is on par with pots of gold under rainbows, so some rot must be expected. However, I don’t know how much is too much – and I don’t know the layout underneath well enough to assess what is tolerable and what isn’t.

I feel like it looks alright, but I would feel much more comfortable if someone with more experience thought it to be congruent with the dealer’s claims. While the car ticks so many boxes for me, I don’t want any nasty surprises down the line.

While there, I managed to snap these photos (attached). I hope it is enough to get a sense of things – I couldn’t see what I was photographing as the glare from the sun was atrocious.

Apologies for the long-winded query. I am a young buyer, so this is a huge purchase for me and I really don’t have much experience. I desperately want to avoid mistakes – but it is also very exciting and I can’t wait to get on the road with the top down.

Many thanks for any advice!


You need photos of the other side, same area. I’ve seen worse, and this seems reasonably sound, though down the road, rust in the front chassis rails will become an issue.

Obviously its not rust free as its previously had sill work. Take a closer look at that, an the rear arch lips; do they look original metal, or have they been “repaired”. Something with gobs of filler when you stick your fingers around the lip is a redflag.

Look at the MOT history; sometimes it can give you clues. Absence of rust damage in the records isn’t evidence of lack of rust. But a pattern of repeated repairs to the same area might indicate cheap patch repairs, indicating that maybe elsewhere, maintenance has been skipped. With the focus on rust, its easy to overlook the mechanics (check fluids, hand brake efficiency, tyre condition (mixed brands?) etc

That is very helpful information! Thank you!