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Ownership Verified: wdwben's 2012 MX-5 PRHT (yup, another one)


Subaru Killer
Nov 5, 2007
Disney World
2021 Mini Cooper S
So, in a story I'll get into later, it was time for the ol' MINI to move onto new ownership. I'd been looking around for a while, test driving various cars like the GTI PP and the BRZ, never looking at the NC/ND because of price.

Well, two days ago this car sort of fell into my lap. I saw it online, worked some numbers, and bought it last night. Here is my 2012 Mazda MX-5 Power Retractable Hard Top. I think I'm the first with a PRHT on the forums, though obviously not the first with an NC MX-5. It's a Grand Touring model with about 26,000 miles on it. It's loaded to the gills, and a hoot to drive! I figured living in Florida, one needs to get a Florida car! Like all US MX-5s, this has the 2.0L 4-cyl engine with 167hp and 140ft/lbs of torque.

Two quick pictures for now, one in my garage and, of course, the proof picture. More will be forthcoming; I think my buddy and I are going to do a 2-car shoot with his black-on-black Veloster Turbo.


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First order of business... Aquapel. Seriously, this stuff is better than Rain-X. Lasts longer, does a better job, doesn't need a special wiper fluid to keep it working. I've done the windshield, but I was driving around with the top down and can't be bothered to put it up in this beautiful weather. Next time it's up, I'll do the back window, and maybe the side windows.

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Doesn't that make your wipers squeak and scratch? Every kind of water repellent I've tried does that and I hate it. Every time I'm lazy and use an automated car wash, it takes a couple of rainstorms before the rinse wax is gone and the wipers are smooth and quiet again.

It's never occured to me to just do the side windows though, I should do that.
I never had issues with Aquapel making my wipers chatter on the MINI. I also used PIAA silicon blades, whether that makes a difference or not, as before I owned a house, my car parked outside and the Florida sun used to go through rubber blades like crazy. I could get 6+ months out of silicon wipers.
Before getting ready for the day, I figured I'd do the hard work on the car so I can shower it off shortly after. Aquapel has been applied to the rear window and the side windows! Also, got some beauty shots outside :) Only iPhone for now, sorry!




I think this qualifies as a mid-front engine setup!



Good looking car. Really like the folding hard top design, seemed like one of the more clever setups.
Good looking car. Really like the folding hard top design, seemed like one of the more clever setups.

It's brilliant. I wouldn't have it any other way. Plus, it looks so cool when it folds up, haha.

Alright, the question I've been getting a lot from friends is "Why did you get rid of the MINI?" It's a good question. My MINI Cooper S was a 2008, and had 106,000 miles on it by now. I used to have a really long commute (44 miles each way) to and from work. I also used it to move from Connecticut to Florida. It drove a lot. A lot a lot. And it was starting to show it's age. I bought it with 17,000 miles on it, and for some reason, the clutch was slipping by 24,000 miles. It wasn't me; I'd drive stick for many years before owning the MINI. So it was changed. But that was 80,000 ago, and the clutch was starting to feel soft. That's not a cheap fix, I'm afraid, on the MINI. I knew that was probably $1,000 to $1,500 of work in the near future. Plus, several months ago, I was in a fight over $3,000 worth of oil leaks near my turbo that MINI originally said they would cover, and then backed out of covering. I don't want to go into it; it's a crazy, long, annoying story, but my car was leaking and burning oil. And that was $3,000 at a MINI dealership, probably $2,000 at a specialist. So, all in all, I was looking at $3,000 to $4,500 of repairs on my car, and I looked up the value. It was only worth $4,500 in current condition. Without the leaks, it would be worth maybe $5,500. It wasn't worth fixing. So when I went to a Subaru the week previous to buying this car to look at a BRZ and they said they'd give me $4,500 for my car, they had my attention. But they weren't coming down much on the 2015 BRZs. I literally, one day, stumbled on this NC. I test drove it the next day. And I talked them into coming down on the price to $20,400 for the MX-5, and talked them up to $4,700 on my car. The math finally worked out the way I wanted it.

No longer do I drive to work worrying about whether the clutch will slip horridly, or whether the engine will throw a fit, or if a cloud of oil-smoke will pour out my exhaust when I merge on the highway. I feel the wind in my hair, and I smile.
All the right reasons.
There cant be too many MX-5's. Would like to try to live with rectable hard top for while. Soft top isnt a big thing to move in any MX and love the look with hard top. Does the hard top make any noises?
All the right reasons.

Haha, thanks. I figured it was the right time.

There cant be too many MX-5's. Would like to try to live with rectable hard top for while. Soft top isnt a big thing to move in any MX and love the look with hard top. Does the hard top make any noises?

According to me, the top is only there for when it rains here in FL, so it's mostly down. On the odd times it's up (drive home from work yesterday and today), it's livable. It gets a bit buzzy throughout the car in the upper rev range, especially in 1st gear, and you'll hear the occasional squeak going over a bump, but that's it. Air flow noise isn't too bad, but the cabin is echoey because there's no headliner. It's all fiberglass. Overall? Couldn't be happier about the car.

Some people call it a hairdresser's car, but it does make a fantastic hair dryer!
First attempt on applying: off-center and the "A" is crooked. Will attempt with smaller logo today or tomorrow, depending on whether or not this rain lets up. Anybody have any tricks for removing dealer decals? I did it on my Subaru with a razor blade, but nicked the clear a few times. Is a hair dryer not hot enough, or is a heat gun too hot? Girlfriend has both.

A hairdryer should be good enough. I melted a bit of the Sierra's front grille when treating the bumpers with a heat gun, so it's best to be cautious.
A hairdryer should be good enough.

And here I thought you were making a hairdresser's car joke. Serves me right for only looking at the shiny pictures and not reading the text.
Officially now "that" MX-5 driver. Saw an SLK 280 over the weekend. It was parked next to me. All I could think was "Is that car really $30k more fun than what I paid for my car?And how do you deal with a roof that takes up so much trunk space?!"

I'll... I'll be over in the fanboy room :(