Bye-bye MX-5

After four years together it’s time for me and my 21 year old Mazda MX-5 to part company.  As I was preparing to advertise the car it occurred to me that I’d never got around to do a proper photo shoot… so in a brief break from the April showers I headed out, camera in hand.

This is my third MX-5.  Previously I had a 2005 mk2.5, and before that a 1999 mk2 version.  I love that MX-5’s are fun to drive, sporty, stylish, and have legendary reliability.  My next will be a rare green mk3.5 Sporting Black edition, hopefully.

Once I got into MX-5 ownership and the enthusiastic community of the MX-5 Owners Club I knew that one day I’d have to have a mk1 with pop up headlights.  The most popular colour for that age of MX-5 is red, but I wanted white as something a bit different.

This MX-5 may be old, but with a mere 64,000 miles on the clock and having grown up in Japan before being brought to the UK, she has no rust and is in great condition.  She also appears in a post about the new MX-5 and a post to celebrate her 60,000 mile ‘birthday’!

In photography terms it’s one of the few blogs filled with photos using just my Olympus 25mm f1.8 prime lens.  A couple of features of my Olympus OMD E-M1 camera came in really handy… The flip-out screen meant I could get the camera down load and use live view to frame the shot.  And by mounting the camera on a monopod and raising the camera five feet above my head I could use the wifi function with the mobile phone app to live view, frame, and shoot photos from high up.

After four years together it’s time for me and my 21 year old Mazda MX-5 to part company.  As I was preparing to advertise the car it occurred to me that I’d never got around to do a proper photo shoot… so in a brief break from the April showers I headed out, camera in hand.

This is my third MX-5.  Previously I had a 2005 mk2.5, and before that a 1999 mk2 version.  I love that MX-5’s are fun to drive, sporty, stylish, and have legendary reliability.  My next will be a rare green mk3.5 Sporting Black edition, hopefully.

Once I got into MX-5 ownership and the enthusiastic community of the MX-5 Owners Club I knew that one day I’d have to have a mk1 with pop up headlights.  The most popular colour for that age of MX-5 is red, but I wanted white as something a bit different.

This MX-5 may be old, but with a mere 64,000 miles on the clock and having grown up in Japan before being brought to the UK, she has no rust and is in great condition.  She also appears in a post about the new MX-5 and a post to celebrate her 60,000 mile ‘birthday’!

In photography terms it’s one of the few blogs filled with photos using just my Olympus 25mm f1.8 prime lens.  A couple of features of my Olympus OMD E-M1 camera came in really handy… The flip-out screen meant I could get the camera down load and use live view to frame the shot.  And by mounting the camera on a monopod and raising the camera five feet above my head I could use the wifi function with the mobile phone app to live view, frame, and shoot photos from high up.

MX-5 Owners Club National Rally 2015

This years MX-5 Owners Club National Rally was held at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire.  It was my second National Rally (photos from last years Rally are blogged here) and again this year the weather was perfect for driving around topless.

The National Rally was smaller than last years, but had the draw of the new Mazda MX-5 and some lucky owners brought their along just days after getting them.  It was good to see them amongst all the other MX-5s from the last 26 years.

There was also a small cone rally course for owners to test their skills.  For the first time I tried the video function on my Olympus E-M1 and got a couple of videos, which you can find the Just 10 Photos YouTube channel – red mk1 MX-5 and a silver mk1 MX-5.

A Sunday Drive in the New MX-5

Everyone knows that I’m a big fan of the Mazda MX-5, the best selling roadster of all time.  If this is news to you then you should check out my posts Happy Birthday, Little MX-5MX-5 Owners Club National Rally 2014, and Goodwood Festival of Speed.

This month marks the UK launch of the fourth generation of MX-5.  I’d already seen the new car on a static display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but was delighted to be invited by Mazda to a VIP event in the Cotswolds where I’d be able to drive the car.  Needless to say I took my camera along too…

It was great to be able to compare the new MX-5 to my 20 year old first generation model and see how the design and technology have moved on.  For a start, the 1.5l engine of the new car is great and so much more spritely than the 1.8l in mine and I guess more economical too.  There is a 2.0l version of the new MX-5, but I can’t see why you’d need it.  That said I did have some fun with a fellow test driver who had the 2.0l model – he couldn’t match me on the corners (due to my skill, I’d like to think!), but on a hill climb he beat me comprehensively.

The short-throw gearbox makes for quick gear changes and the brakes are really sharp compared to my car.  The accelerator pedal seemed odd at first but I quickly took to it.  The new car certainly has a lot less rattles too!

The gadgets and gizmos really put my car to shame.  Integrated satellite navigation and entertainment system, power steering, built-in USB chargers, nifty cup holders (which I found also make great lens holders!), climate control, heated seats had me drooling with desire.

For me it’s an almost perfect car, greatly doing what it’s designed to do.  The only three niggles I could name are that the steering feels too light for me (I think it’s ‘fly by wire’ and you get very little feedback), the two exhausts are on one side rather than one on each side (my OCD likes symmetry), and the lack of pop up headlights (due to pedestrian safety laws).

So, will I be buying one?  Absolutely.  Well, in a couple of years when the prices fall.  Of course, if any readers want to do a car swap or buy me a new MX-5 then get in touch!

Goodwood Festival of Speed

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a big fan of cars – new, old, fast, slow, big, or small.  I’ve a special fondness for the Mazda MX-5, and am now on my third one.  You can see it in the post Happy Birthday Little MX-5 and more MX-5’s photographed at last years in the post MX-5 Owners Club National Rally.

So when Mazda ran a competition for tickets for the Goodwood Festival of Speed I had to enter… and won!  This was made even better by Mazda being the main event sponsor and launching the new (mk4) MX-5 in the UK.

All of the major car manufacturers were there, as well as areas for racing and F1 cars, old classic cars, and of course the Goodwood hill climb.  On the day I went it was possible to get passenger rides in all sorts of cars up the hill climb.  But not for me.  It seems for most of them you needed to register beforehand.  A lesson for next time!  

It was an expensive day too.  As much as I was tempted, I didn’t buy a new car.  But trying to get photos correctly framed in between the crowds of people with a high quality prime lens made me realise I needed a better quality short range zoom lens.  So as a result of the day I ended up buying a new Olympus 12-40mm lens.  Future blogs will feature photos taken with that lens.

MX-5 Owners Club National Rally 2014

2014 is a special year for MX-5 (or Eunos or Miata depending on where you are) owners such as myself.  The car is 25 years old this year, and the MX-5 Owners Club here in the UK is 20 years old.  So I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to the Owners Club National Rally at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon.

Around 2,000 MX-5s from the UK and beyond visited the event, which showcased the best MX-5s around in competitions of various categories.  Parts suppliers such as MX5 Parts and AutoLink where there tempting owners to part with cash, and for those with lots of pennies Mazda UK were there too.

Visitors could also see the many cars on display at the Motor Centre, and watch the team from Mission Motorsport put some cars through their paces.  Mission Motorsport is a charity which aims to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of those affected by military operations by providing opportunities through Motorsport.

Of course I took my camera to capture some images from the day – the top ten photos are below.