This month’s car is a bit more personal than all the others. It’s my very own 1993 MK1 1.8 V-Special Eunos Roadster. When I started this project back in January, I didn’t think I would have a car of my own that would fit the criteria I had set of ‘old and fun’. But over the last few month, meeting up with the owners, spending time on the retro rides forums, going to shows and doing some of my freelance photography work, I developed an itch for something retro, and inevitably, I ended up scratching it!
This is my second Eunos Roadster, or Mazda MX5 or even Miata depending on where you are in the world! I first had one back in 2006 when I was 19. I had spent the first year of my driving life behind the wheel of a rusty cheap 1995 1.2 Renault Clio Oasis, and learning the basics of car maintenance. Eventually it was time to move onto something a bit more interesting, and having viewed several mk2 Golf Cabriolets and being disappointed by the condition of them all, I convinced my dad to put a bid in on eBay for a 1990 Eunos 1.6 V-Special Auto without even seeing the car.
I did initially worry about the fact it was an Automatic and that I hadn’t had chance to see it in person, but that was put to the back of my mind when I read the advert and saw the cars history folder online. The car had only been imported a couple of years earlier and the spec including a hard top for the winter; adjustable dampers; an upgraded radio and speakers; rust free sills and arches and was on only 53k miles.
Unfortunately I ended up losing the auction in the last seconds. Up until that point, I didn’t even know if I wanted it as id never even driven one or seen this car in the flesh! But loosing the auction I quickly realised I did and I felt gutted. My dad called me while I was at work to let me know we had lost the auction and we arranged to go for a drink that night and go back to the drawing board to find another one. It wasn’t until we sat down in the pub that evening that he told me we had actually bought the car! It turns out the seller had been messed around by the winner that afternoon and decided to let it go to my dad for our last bid!
I absolutely loved it the second I got it home. All the worries of it being an Auto soon faded away! It didn’t matter to me, the car still felt special and looked fantastic. Everything about it, the way it handled, the sound it made at full throttle, the smell of the interior, the old wooden Nardi steering wheel, the pop up headlights, the whole package made me grin, and I would find any excuse to go out and drive it.
Skip forward to 2008, now a year into University, strapped for cash and having owned the car for two years, I made the hard decision to sell it. I needed something cheap and basic to run and I was also desperate for the cash! I then spent the next few years tinkering with small cheap French hatchbacks, predominately Peugeot 106’s and Citroen Saxos including various VTRs, a VTS and two S1 106 rallyes.
The Rallye is a very special car, and my second Rallye is easily up there as one of my favourite all time cars, it’s evenly matched by my love for the Eunos! These two cars were so similar in characteristic, they needed to be revved within an inch of their life to find the power, the handling was safe yet fun and predictable, and the noise they made at full throttle was so overly dramatic! Yet they couldn’t be any more different if they tried! One is a front wheel driven 5 seat hatch back and the other is a 2 seat rear wheel driven convertible! I knew that I had to get one of the two car again at some point, but didn’t know it would be so soon!
Back in June I had a week off work with the aim of simply relaxing and enjoying some time at home. As most car enthusiasts will admit, downtime probably results in reading the classifieds on Pistonheads, car and classic or even eBay to see what bargains are about.
Understandably, there was a limited pool of 106 Rallyes on offer, and none were in my imaginary budget since they have become a bit of a collectors item. So I spent my time browsing to see what MX5s were for sale locally. I even went to the extent of driving out and viewing a couple of cars at local dealers just to pass the time but with little intention of buying one.
Then on the Wednesday of my week off, I received a speculative offer on my car, a 2002 Phase 2 Renault Clio 172 Renault Sport. A local garage owner was looking for a track car project and he had looked after my car for me at service and MOT time the last few years. I saw this as a sign and the following day I signed the paperwork and gave them the keys to my (at the time) pride and joy. Walking out the garage, I got that sinking feeling, the worry I was making a huge mistake. What started as a bit of fun had now snowballed. All these questions were now in my head; Will I end up regretting my decision? What if my memories of my first Eunos are all rose tinted? What if I end up buying a lemon? What if I couldn’t find a good example, will I be happy with a cheaper one?
The second I got home, I was on the classifieds, each time, I was increasing my search radius! I even roped a friend in to go and view a car for me that was over 2 hours away!! Then I spotted something on eBay. Another import, came into the UK in 2003 with only 86k miles under its belt and 3 UK owners. It was almost the same spec as my first one, a full V-Special with the optional Leather MOMO wheel, but this time a manual and the larger 1.8l engine.
The car was advertised for auction with a starting bid of £1750. I knew if I let this auction run, it would easily pass the £2500 mark and some. It looked so clean and well looked after. I couldn’t take that risk, so I contacted the seller and went to view it while he was at work. After that initial viewing, I knew I had to have the car so I arranged to come back the following day to test drive. After my first drive of the car, I knew instantly this car was a keeper. We agreed a price to end the auction and I made the bank transfer there and then. I was like a kid at Christmas, it even smelt like my old one!
My future plans for the car include doing the compulsory suspension refresh, i’ll get some fully adjustable coilovers fitted in the new year. While the car came fitted with some under chassis braces, 23 year old shocks and springs don’t inspire much confidence! I’ll get it on some ramps and check the condition of the bushes so I can tighten everything up at once. I also plan to fit some more grippy tyres and then it’ll just be little touches to make it my own. I have already fitted a Racing Beat leather cabin brace/Style bar and removed the pointless sun visors. I also have my eye on a couple of stainless steel exhaust options. There is absolutely no rush to get anything changed on it though, as I am still just enjoying it as it is!