Ownership Verified: That time FinalGear bought a Munich Roadster (MX-5) to drive from Germany to Finland

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Captain Slow Charging
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So, I finally had time to get behind the wheel of the MX-5. It had been stored for a few weeks in a small one-car garage in the countryside, a shed to be precise, and I hadn't really gotten out and about in it. Today it was time to get it out, drop the top and hit the road.

It rules. I had forgotten how nimble and alert it is, how everything feels connected to not only your fingertips but your very being, and how excellent the exhaust note is. I still love the gearshift, too.

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Of course there are a couple of things to do. There's shop dust left here and there, especially the engine bay; the plastic surround of the passenger side mirror needs re-gluing, some trim pieces still need fastening and the baby teeth on the front must go. The clutch takes a bit high to my taste, the brake feel is not fantastic so I'd guess there's some maintenance to be done, and so on. I have to sort out the radio business and get a new aerial. The used top with the glass window isn't as care free as the old one as it needs to be folded with more attention to keep the solid window from damaging its fittings and the canvas underside has faded enough to look like old underpants when the top is down. But these are minor things and the car now looks like it deserves to look.

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I also noted the seatbelt mounts are fixed to the car and not the seat rails, which makes the seat swap easier than I expected; still, if I change the seatbelts to tan ones I need to verify that the buckles match the car. I should get that done one of these weekends. I won't bring the car away from the countryside, as I don't need the hassle of street parking it.

But damn, does it feel good to get back into it all.
 

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Captain Slow Charging
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Over the weekend I finally did some mods I’ve been waiting to do for years. Having accumulated all kinds of parts for the car, big and small, I’ve just had to store them and wait for a nice sunny Sunday with a little time to do work.

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First of all, I swapped in the tan leather seats that have been waiting for a while. One of the driver side seat rail mounts on the leather seats was bent, probably from shipping, but it was a no-brainer to just use the ones from the original seat. The original also turned out to be nearly rust-free from the bottom, unlike any other MX-5 seats I’ve worked with. The choice to go with black handle parts seemed to be the right decision, as they blend the seats in better in comparison to the original prosthetics beige plastic parts.

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After the seats were in, I also fit the wooden Momo wheel I got ages ago. It has a few nicks, but it still feels really special on the car, and it gives the interior a similar boost of luxury as the leather seats. Of course the combination of red gauges and a wood wheel is a bit tasteless, but I feel the red gauges belong in the car one way or the other. I could swap in a cluster with stock black gauge faces, but at the moment this will do fine. I also experimented with the wooden shifter knob Mitchi sent me, but I’m not sure it’s as well weighted as the stock item. But it’s a nice combo with the almost matching wood wheel.

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As well as fitting the Roadster kick plates on the door jambs and protecting the undersides with a bit of tape to prevent them chafing on the paint, I also swapped the door support rubbers from one side to the other. They are now turned around, meaning they should offer more support oriented like this. And I’d say the doors squeak a lot less now, so I’m happy with a free mod like this.

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There are still a bunch of little things to do, but overall I’m very satisfied with the car at the moment. Not only does it look very presentable thanks to the restored bodywork, but the seats and steering wheel brighten up the black interior and give it an OEM+ personal touch.
 

Mitchi

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Redliner

Y'all got any lamps?
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Of course the combination of red gauges and a wood wheel is a bit tasteless
Indeed.
The red gauges would look nice in a car with a more...erm..."aggressive" color scheme. Your silver over tan clashes with it a bit.
 

Tram

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I personally believe that the standard steering wheel works better with the red instruments. But then, if this were mine, I'd go for a standard steering wheel and a red leather interior. I do understand that those red seats are very coveted and therefore expensive, so maybe re-dye the leather on these or reupholster its original seats. I think the Japanese make aftermarket seat upholstery for the NA, but it is possibly expensive as well.
 

Redliner

Y'all got any lamps?
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You mean I should make it more tasteless? :D
Hell no!
You're cool enough to pull off a silver Miata with tan interior.


I am the guy who wants a Purple Miata with white wheels and red interior, because I want to please my inner 5-year-old.
 

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Captain Slow Charging
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Oh yeah, if I go the red interior route the red gauges will be more justified. I'd then fit a black Nardi wheel as that's what the S-limited cars had.

I'd still try to find original red leather instead of a dye job or a retrim, to maintain as much originality as possible.
 

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Captain Slow Charging
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And we pick up the story ... three years later?!

Oh yeah. In the autumn of 2019 the sucker quit running on me. I was washing it on the yard in preparation for storage, it was idling, I sat in the car, gave it a little gas and it promptly died. Didn't start, just gave a couple coughs. Couldn't diagnose it other than no spark, no fuel, and changed the main relay, tried another ECU, forced the fuel pump on with a jump wire but with no spark couldn't get it started. I dreaded it was the shoddy removal of the aftermarket immobilizer that had rendered the car immobile, as it would be easy that some wires would have come undone somewhere in the loom and that would take an expert to locate.

Finally after some suggestions I ordered a spare CAS (cam angle sensor) from Holland and had it fitted during my cottage holiday. Surprise! That got the car started. Sure, I could have fixed it years earlier but I had a lot of other stuff going on and it just felt better to store the car in the garage, which seems to have preserved it decently well.

I got the car back from my mechanic yesterday and it felt great to drive it home. There was a pronounced lifter tick that went away with some Italian tune-up, but I won't beat on the car before some essential maintenance has been done. The oils are ancient and I need to prepare the car for MOT anyway, so I can use it for some ice cream drives before it goes back into storage for the winter. I'm also planning to get the underbody maintained a little as well as finally getting some better rust proofing done - that was one of the plans before the car became a pushcart for a couple years.
 

Matt2000

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I recall having some red seats in the back of my Tesla in 2020 and them being brought to Ringmeet 2020, did they ever get put in the car or is that still on the to-do list? :p
 

Dr_Grip

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I have a picture somewhere of me picking the same set of seats up at @DaBoom s workplace for onward transport....
 

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Captain Slow Charging
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Oh yeah :D I have those in storage and they will visit an upholsterer in the same village to get the seams fixed. Currently I'm rocking the beige seats with beige Harley door cards and beige seatbelts, and I just now received a box with beige seatbelt tower plastics and kick plates to make the look more complete.

For the red interior, I now have the following:

- The above nice enough seats
- Worse condition spare seats (will probably also get repairs done on them depending if it's viable)
- Spare red leather parts for repairing sections with original vinyl or leather
- Complete floor carpet from a LHD 93LE, rear shelf carpeting from S-LTD (can't use RHD floormat but the rear carpet is obvs the same)
- Red seatbelts
- Red 93LE kick plates (LHD), red seatbelt tower plastics from S-LTD (RHD is okay)
- Red trim clips to replace black ones in the carpeting
- Red crash pads for the LHD dashboard
- Red glovebox (RHD fits LHD, it's symmetrical)
- Spare dashboard to have the lower section painted in close-enough red, this might necessitate painting the red glovebox to match
- Nardi wheel which was fitted for the S-LTD
- Three silver double din Mazda MSSS radios in various states of cosmetic condition, one of them will probably work

That's about it. I don't have the lower steering column plastic in red but it barely matters, I can respray a spare one since the lower section of the spare dash will get painted anyway.
Photos from last month when I did some of the interior work, this is the current state:

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The centre console is from a VR-LTD as is the aluminium gearknob (which feels great, it's well weighted). I removed the JVC stereo and replaced it with the Interconti AUX one I had in the wintermeet S202 for a while.
 

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Captain Slow Charging
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For the red interior, I now have the following:

- The above nice enough seats
- Worse condition spare seats (will probably also get repairs done on them depending if it's viable)
- Spare red leather parts for repairing sections with original vinyl or leather
- Complete floor carpet from a LHD 93LE, rear shelf carpeting from S-LTD (can't use RHD floormat but the rear carpet is obvs the same)
- Red seatbelts
- Red 93LE kick plates (LHD), red seatbelt tower plastics from S-LTD (RHD is okay)
- Red trim clips to replace black ones in the carpeting
- Red crash pads for the LHD dashboard
- Red glovebox (RHD fits LHD, it's symmetrical)
- Spare dashboard to have the lower section painted in close-enough red, this might necessitate painting the red glovebox to match
- Nardi wheel which was fitted for the S-LTD
- Three silver double din Mazda MSSS radios in various states of cosmetic condition, one of them will probably work

Add to the list: two S-Ltd door cards without the top sections or Harley speaker covers. They arrived just now from the UK.

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They too have the right amount of patina so they will suit the red seats that have gone slightly purple from UV radiation most likely, as you can see from the sections that have been covered by the door armrests (forgot to mention, I have red ones too). The backing boards are a bit musty due to having spent time in the UK, but I have new, pre-cut boards onto which I'll have the vinyl transferred.
 

Anesthesia

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The cream colored interior with the woodgrain steering wheel and silver exterior does look very good.
I was looking at the seats thinking they look more familiar than they should but I do recall seeing a red set for a number of days tucked in the back of my car. :D
 
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