Topless Happiness (Mazda MX-5)


Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Cher was released 1966, however, it was Nancy Sinatra’s cover which saw a resurgence in popularity when it was used in the opening credits in Kill Bill Volume 1.

Like the many other artists who had covers of the song, the mention “roadster” and a Mazda MX-5 will pop up in any petrol head’s mind. It’s not the original roadster, but the relatively affordable 1.6 litre topless two-seater won much praise. The NC, however, had grown larger and more powerful with the times, and there have been whispers among the MX-5 crowd that the car is not what it used to be.

With over one million MX-5s made to date, where does the NC stand? It is arguably the most performance-focused generation of the family, with larger engines and more pliant suspension. It’s also a great cruiser for those who want to road trip and yet want to have fun on the mountain passes.

In Singapore, there is a whole load of automatic NCs, but our obsession with rare versions has netted this RS model, with Retractable Hard Top (RHT), six-speed manual. Truly a rare model meant for the Japanese Domestic Market. P.S: The other one we know is yellow.

The fat MX-5’s rolly-polly behaviour was easily solved with front and rear anti-roll bar upgrades. In this case, the bars were lifted from a RX8 donor car. The RX8 also donated the brakes calipers – with the addition of Dixel FS rotors. The performance was certainly much better, as we could see this car dive much later into corners than the stock brake setup we saw in 2015.

The handling may be the NC MX-5’s achilles foot, but there is nothing that aftermarket can’t improve on. RCS coilovers, plus a thorough chassis tightening up with Beartush braces and centre dogbone. Finally, the Carbing front and rear strut tower braces were added as the final touch.

A quiet and refined MX-5 is fine for many, but not to some. To solve this, an aftermarket exhaust was added for a bassier note. Power, wasn’t a problem with the 2.0 litre plant, but the delivery was less than desired. Therefore, a more aggressive cam profile was fitted, with stronger valve springs as well. A more growly engine was had with a HKS air intake upgrade which allowed the engine to sing freely.

To customize his drive, the LSD was upgraded with a Quaife 1.5 way unit with 4.4 final drive. The new final drive ratio was a nicer match to the 6 speed box than the stock for a little more pep from standing starts. The stock clutch soon gave way after his various entries into local motorsports events such as Gymkhana, Autotest and Tarmac Rally-X, so… the excuse for the carbon clutch and flywheel set was had!

The interior has survived the modification process, but barely. To keep the interior clutter-free, the Defi ZD advance unit was chosen to replace the “array of gauges”, while the open road enjoyment can be enjoyed with personal music choices on the Pioneer head unit.

What a good two years of knowing this car and the owner. We’ll hope that we can cross paths once again!

Mazda MX-5

Tomei cam
Supertec valve spring
Hks air intake
Tomei exprem head mid pipe
Exhaust roadster sport
Quaife 1.5 way
4.4 final drive
carbon clutch from competition clutches.
clutch n flywheel set.

Advan rim rpf1 re71
Rx8 s brakes front rear
Auto x 2pc front rotors dixel rotor
Rcs coilovers
beartush brace
Centre dogbone
Rx8 sway bars f/r
Carbing strut front rear

Zd advance
Pioneer head unit

Bumper – facelifted
Carbon Miata lip bootlid spoiler
Odula cf bonnet
Cobalt air scoop


About Author

Always finding ways to keep his hands full, Krado loves to tinker with his car whenever he has the free time. Usually ends in tears or a multiple fluid facial.

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