Pure Joy (Mazda MX-5)


Pretty cruddy weather in the middle of January, when our office hotline pinged was pinged with news of a very sleek NA Miata being let loose. How can one say no to feature the world’s favourite roadster?

As the skies continued to pour on, the only decision to bring the MX-5 indoors was to shoot it without getting our camera lights and lenses wet. Rain however, refuses to faze this MX-5, arguably a legend on the road after 2 COE cycles. While the ND grabs headlines today, the first generation, NA MX-5 is still a highly sought after car around the world.

Despite having a smallish 1.6-litre engine, acceleration was well under 10 seconds and it felt much more energetic and engaging to drive than cars with double, or even triple the horsepower. Ahh, how good cars are in the past…

This “Miata MX-5 Eunos” owner enjoys driving his car slow, as well as driving it hard. As first impressions go, this example is classy – yet not too blingy. Cleanly detailed, this ride has always, always, always been kept extremely clean.

Overly meticulous? This car has an engine bay cleaner than most cars, and will put all, but the newest cars on the road to shame. Mind you, this is a car that is driven regularly as well. Rainy days? Nothing to fear with the hard top in place, although it is a little of a fun time when the owner is out enjoying the breeze and then spotting a gathering of storm clouds – but this is what the car has always been about. Fun, and fun with the fun.

In order to pep up the fun factor, the engine is helped with a nicer throttle response is much improved after the stock block was upgraded with lighter pistons, conrods and stronger valve springs to prevent “valve float” that might occur with a highly rev-happy engine.

Bigger throttle body for a less restrictive airflow, with upgraded injectors fill in the last spots to keep the engine well fed with the two basic necessities for power. Not forgetting the “heart of the heart, the oil pump was even upgraded to ensure that the lubricant is continually being circulated through the engine at any RPM, under any conditions.

It may not seem like one, but being a track day regular, the unblemished exterior hides a variety of cooling upgrades, from radiator to fans. From his many hours of research on various Miata groups and forums worldwide, even the coolant flow path was tweaked to maximize the effectiveness of the cooling upgrades. Most cars can get away with a giant radiator upgrade, but in the cramped engine bay quarters of the MX-5, one can only make the best of the space.

The suspension was overhauled – starting from the chassis itself. A couple of reinforcement bars and beams were added to the flex points to keep the geometry stable, before the owner considered the installation of the coilovers. Without wanting to sacrifice the daily drivability, a mild drop was performed to the very limits of the factory suspension setting allowance.

A more subtle hint that this car sees hard track duties? The Project Mu 4 Pot, with matching floating slotted discs up front, upgraded rear brake pads, and lightweight period-perfect Rays 57V wheels shod with fat n’ meaty AD08R rubber.

On the interior front, the plush seats made way for nice body hugging buckets – and a classic style Nardi wheel.On the days when he’s not chasing seconds, the hard top keeps in the vibes of great-sounding sound system, consisting on a Pioneer receiver, DLS two-way speakers and compact sub.

As far as NAs come by, most of them will have a great transformation story behind each car. This one isn’t an exception and we are glad that MX-5 enthusiasts continue to press on in Singapore!

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Stock Mazda Mx-5 Iron block
Forged Wiseco 84mm pistons
Forged Carrillo Conrods
Supertech Miata Valve Springs
ARP Stud Heads
Skunk2 Throttle Body
Deatschwerks 450cc Injectors
Blue Printed Oil Pump w. billet gears
Link G4 Storm
Trackspeed Dual Pass 76mm Core Radiator
Custom re-routed radiator housing
SPAL 14” fan
K&N Typhoon Kit with intake ram air slot

Xiada Gen 2 Dual Spring System Coilover
FSR 700in/lb
RSR 400in/lb
4.4 Final Drive
Cusco 1.5 Way LSD
Project Mu 4 Pot, floating slotted disc
MX-5 NB rear brake
Rays Gramlights 57V 15” 7.5J
Advan AD08R 205/50R15

Original MX-5 Hard Top
Original Eunos emblems

Nardi Torino Classic
Lotus Elise Probax Seats
Pioneer 380BT
DLS Component 2 way speakers
Pioneer 10inch active sub


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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