In 1989, Mazda began production on what was probably the greatest modern sports car. With classic two-seater styling, no roof and modern reliable running gear, it sold like hot cakes and sent enthusiastic journalists and owners into fits of frenzied giggles. Yep, you guessed correctly. I own a Mazda MX5.
But I don’t want to tell you about that, because I’ve just sold it. Suffice to say, when buying replacement suspension, the cheapest is not necessarily the best option. It’s now going to live with a friend of mine who is part of the Ma5da MX5 Championship, so hopefully it will end up with some better springy bits underneath soon.
The MX5 was something of a bargain; I paid £500 for it back in April, and spent another couple of quid bringing it up to a spec which didn’t make my MOT tester shake his head like a scorned school teacher. I then spent the summer hooning about having a wonderful time through the corners but pogoing about on the straights. You get what you pay for, and bargain coilovers provide exactly that, a cheap fairground ride.
I follow @keithwrjones on twitter, and he recently travelled the length and breadth of the country in 24 hours in his “Banger Does Britain” Rover 620i. I secretly lusted over this car, but having owned a 2 litre 4 pot automatic in the past in my father’s old Mk3 Granada Estate, I decided I needed a bigger power plant. One evening while pottering on eBay, I found a piece of bargain beige bargeosity.
I’m not new to bangernomics (I swapped a ’99 Seat Toledo for an E34 530i V8 back in the day) and ran an E30 316i for 18 months, but this is the first time it’s made financial sense as well. If the car lasts as long as the VED, then I haven’t lost anything compared to simply re-taxing the MX5.
She is a 1994 Rover 827 Coupe, with 100k miles on the clock and a fresh 12 month MOT test. The Rover has 5 months of VED reside under the nearside windscreen wiper. The price? Three hundred and fifty of the queen’s finest sterling.
I’ve done a little research into the background of the 800 series, and apparently the Coupe’s were designed for the American market but never made it there. According to How Many Left, there are only 77 of this car registered and on the road. The earlier ‘27 models are fitted with a Honda V6 and autobox like mine, while later models were wafted towards the horizon by Rover’s own KV6, which still powers Rover 75’s these days. The 800 Coupes were also hand finished both inside and out.
She has the usual niggles on a 17-year-old car (the passenger side electric seat remains steadfast on its runners, refusing to move fore or aft) but she goes, stops, shifts and wafts strikingly well. In the first 300 miles I have received 26.5mpg, which isn’t stratospheric and something my wallet can hopefully handle.
Thanks to RetroandClassic, I can hopefully provide a biography of my experiences piloting this boat; as well as inspire anyone else thinking of plunging into barge based antics.