Which gearbox should be in a 2003 MX-5 S-VT 1.8?

Looking to purchase a 2003 S-VT 1.8. The HPI check says it should be a 6 speed box and reading on here most people seem to be saying the same thing but it has definitely only a 5 speed.

Do i assume that the gearbox has been changed or were some of this age or model fitted with a 5 speed box?

I know this sounds daft but are you sure it’s not just the gear knob that’s been swapped out? Have you had chance to drive it and test? it should have 6 spd box I believe.


Hi Barrie,

Yes I have driven it. Reverse was where 6 should be.


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Or maybe its a plain jane model wrongly identified.

You can check the model on the V5, I think it is box D3 (model) The V5 is not always correct though. The Sport had a 6 speed gearbox and the “shorter” differential with LSD.
So check the paperwork first too see if it left the factory as a sport or look in the drivers door frame where the info sticker will disclose the same information.
If the doesn’t help I have a few more ideas.

Is the S-VT the same as the Sport?

Hi Darren
I believe a Sport is an S-VT but that an S-VT isn’t always a Sport?
What does your V5 and model sticker say?

All 2001 onwards MKIII 1.8i had the VVT engine, only the Sport model had the 6 speed box.

V5 says “MX-5 S-VT Sport”
(I didn’t think of looking there!) :laughing:

I’ve read before that some people favour the 5 speed gearbox and with it being cheaper and more readily available have put that in as a replacement if a 6 speed has reached the end of its life.

Longer diff

There are issues with doing this as you leave a hole in the gearing, but mainly that the speed sender from the box reads very wrong to the speedo. You can swap the 6 speed one in but the gear on the sender does not mesh correctly and fails reasonably quickly. If you leave the 5 speed one in, you have a massive under reading speedo error.

Thanks all. I will check with the garage as to what the V5 says.