After announcing its in-house restoration programme for first generation MX-5s last year, Mazda has completed its first rebuild on a customer’s car in Japan – a green 1992 example.
Mazda’s decision to carry out its own restorations matches that of several other carmakers around the world, including Jaguar/Land Rover and Aston Martin, though it’s among the first to do so on a relatively humble vehicle. But with the model set to celebrate its 30th birthday next year, the first-generation or ‘NA’ MX-5 – originally badged Eunos Roadster in the Japanese domestic market – has very much achieved classic status.
Codenamed Mazda MX-5 NA6-001, the car restored belongs to Yoshitsugu Nishimoto and his wife Masami, who bought it in 1992. After retirement, Yoshitsugu wanted to spend more time with his beloved motor, but it was in need of some TLC. The car was subsequently chosen from over 40 applicants, with Mazda having previously rebuilt two show vehicles for the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.
The restoration took place at Mazda’s Engineering and Technology Centre in Hiroshima, right next to its main headquarters. It took two months from start to finish, with the car stripped and the suspension, brakes and engine all rebuilt. Painted in the original green by the same experts that spray the cars Mazda exhibits at motor shows, the car has also been treated to a hard top for days when Masami wants to avoid sunburn. The owner now hopes he can enjoy the car for another 25 years.
As part of the service, Mazda and its suppliers have also committed to reproducing and re-supplying several previously discontinued parts for the cars, including vinyl soft tops, Nardi steering wheels and gearknobs, floor mats, decals and the original Bridgestone SF325 tyres.
Sadly, the restoration service is currently only available in Japan, where it’s believed that around 23,000 original MX-5s are still on the road. Whether a similar service will be offered in other areas is as-yet unclear.
Mr Nishimoto drives away in his newly-refurbished MX-5.