Just looking - Mazda MX-5 Eunos S-special

Thankfully not all early MX-5s are this expensive just yet, but few are quite as tidy either

We know what you’re thinking: When did Mazda MX-5s start commanding numbers like that?

In truth, they haven’t. We don’t disagree that this example for sale in Buckinghamshire on Classic & Performance Car is about as clean as an early MX-5 comes, but it’s not our job to justify such a price when you can buy a brand-new 1.5-litre MX-5 with greater performance than any standard early car right off a Mazda forecourt. A grand more than this car is advertised for would get you the latest Icon special edition being revealed at Goodwood.

But it is indicative of the increased value being placed upon classic vehicles or, if you’ve not quite accepted the first-gen MX-5 as a classic yet, cars that will one day join that market.

And it isn’t without good reason. We’ve seen prices rise consistently for years now, and it’s having a knock-on effect at every stage in the market. As one car sets an auction record - an old 911, for instance - then buyers further down the market see other 911s as a solid investment and values of those strengthen too.

But at evo we’re not too interested in the wax and wane of the markets - though it does make some fantastic driver’s cars less accessible than they once were. For us, the value of older performance cars is the way they drive, and while you’d not rank an early MX-5 up there with a 2.7-litre Carrera RS, it’s more than capable of holding its own with its modern equivalent.

Take the car’s ethos: Mazda should be applauded for making its latest MX-5 nearly as light as the original, and for continuing to offer handling characteristics that are fun and accessible to a wide range of drivers (even if they’re not quite sharp enough for our tastes).

But that started with the original car, and early MX-5s arguably feel less contrived than the latest car - the performance, handling, braking, grip and body roll all feel in balance with one another, where the body roll of the new car sometimes feels excessive given the higher grip and pointier steering.

And a nice example of the original - as this car undoubtedly is - also flows down the road far better than the slightly firm new car. The tyre sidewalls have a little more give, the hydraulically-assisted steering is more consistent and feeds back more information, and the gearshift is if anything even more tactile.

This particular car, a Eunos Roadster S-Special - one of dozens of Japanese limited editions - is probably about as sweet as early cars get. Standard S-Spec kit included Bilstein dampers, anti-roll bars and a limited-slip differential.

They also originally included a set of 15-inch BBS RZ alloy wheels, though those appear to have been changed at some stage for some OEM 14-inch alloys, while all later MX-5s came with the 1.8-litre engine and additional chassis bracing. With 3000 miles on the clock though, this car probably won’t be quite as wobbly as the typical example for sale or our earlier, higher-mileage Fast Fleet example.

Of course, the best thing of all about early MX-5s is that most don’t command the £19,995 price tag you see here. What you get might not be quite as pristine (check for rust!), but there are still few better ways to get low-cost driving thrills than a few grand’s worth of MX-5.

> Find Mazda MX-5s for sale on Classic and Performance Car

Recommended

Mazda MX-5 review
Mazda MX-5 convertible

Mazda MX-5 review

The Mazda MX-5 is better than ever, a distillation of the sports car that has matured into a brilliant little roadster
19 Nov 2020
Mazda MX-5 R Sport 2020 review – floats like a butterfly, but stings like one too
Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 R Sport 2020 review – floats like a butterfly, but stings like one too

Mazda’s lesser-powered MX-5 is a lesson in feel and rear-wheel drive dynamics but lacks the hardware to be as entertaining as its more powerful siblin…
30 Sep 2020
BBR Super 225 Mazda MX-5 review
Mazda MX-5

BBR Super 225 Mazda MX-5 review

Quicker than the standard car, but BBR’s latest MX-5 focuses on experience more than performance, and is all the better for it
18 Jul 2020
Mazda MX-5 Mk3 (NC) – review, history, prices and specs
Mazda MX-5

Mazda MX-5 Mk3 (NC) – review, history, prices and specs

Mazda’s third MX-5 didn’t quite hit the mark when new, but is now an affordable way into a fun rear-wheel-drive platform
23 Jun 2020

Most Popular

2021 Mercedes C-class revealed – all-new 3-series rival to channel S-class luxury
2021 Mercedes C-class revealed - front tracking
Mercedes C-Class

2021 Mercedes C-class revealed – all-new 3-series rival to channel S-class luxury

New C-class to launch as four-cylinder only; AMGs expected to be the same
23 Feb 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 revealed – special edition marks 45 years of the GTI
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport hatchback

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 revealed – special edition marks 45 years of the GTI

The Golf GTI Clubsport 45 features aesthetic tweaks to celebrate 45 years since the icon first hit the road
26 Feb 2021
Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in
R8 Filler cap
Porsche

Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in

Porsche claims a car running on eFuel will have the same CO2 footprint as an EV, and BMW, Audi, Aston Martin and McLaren all agree
24 Feb 2021