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What would you do?


Twinspark
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Mulling over the options now....

Option A: Keep my MX5. Get someone to fix the arches so they last a few years more, replace the slightly leaky roof and run it pretty much until it dies from something expensive.

Option B: Trade it against a tidy 10th Anniversary car. Advantage is that it's not rusting, the roof is in better condition, with a heated rear window, plus it has an LSD and 6 speed box.

Option C: Flog mine on the 'bay of dreams' for around 600-700 quid, buy an Alfa Spider from the specialists near Witney - it'll come with a 6 month warranty, full belt change and new clutch. A bit leggy at 140k miles, though - but it's only £1500.

Option D: Again, flog mine, but buy a Fiat Barchetta in pearl black with tart's boudoir quilted red leather interior and hardtop. Not sure of the belt change situation yet, but miles are sensible at 85k and it's up for £2k (although this feels too cheap for a Barchetta in that spec, so I suspect it's not all it seems!)

I'm leaning towards A, but C looks very attractive and B is probably the sensible way to get a better toy sportscar.

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What I would do: Option A. But the only car I've ever sold was because I detested it. I like to keep stuff til they die, that's why I got married :grin:

What I would advise you to do: Option C. Get rid of your ambivalence and pander to your heart. It'll get broken in that six months and you can then go get a 10th Anniversary and appreciate the mx5 experience that much more +++

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They're FWD and a fair bit softer than an MX5.

Drive a bit more like a 155/156 rather than a full-on 2 seat sportscar. But that does mean more comfort, refinement and luggage space for longer jaunts on the continent - at the expense of sharpness on a few track days a year.

They do have trick rear suspension with passive steer to sharpen things up - and a 2.5 turn quick rack.

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Option B.

Alfas, i fear, will leave you wanting more and poorer than if you fixed yours.

You are not happy with yours at the moment and are worrying about short to mid term costs. if something goes wrong you will resent it and kick yourself for not changing before you got the big bill.

Dont forget that if it qualifies, someone on here might want it for the 18-30 jaunt....

+++

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Reading between the lines, the Barchetta keeps getting a mention, sounds like it's an itch you need to scratch and i'm sure Mrs T'spark will get used to it.

Personally I don't see the point spending money on your MX5 as it still wont have the LSD and still won't be worth anything.

As nice as the Alfa is, it's no 75, and it won't stir your soul in the same way, and they don't make good track toys, unless you like vagueness and understeer.

It is possible to fall in love with MX5's, you just need to find the right one, maybe the Anni is it?

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I've decided it's not worth the trade on the 10th Anniversary.

We'd come to a deal at £1600 plus mine - and on reflection, it's not worth doing at that price, just because it's a 10AE.

Probably best to look towards a Mk2.5 Sport or Euphonic - more money, but a bigger step forward than going from a late Mk1 to an early Mk2.

The Barchetta is an itch I should scratch - but they're slower and less practical than a Spider with all the same maintenance shortcomings.

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I think the decision, at least for now, is to stick with what I know.

I may just get the rear arches looked at - that'll be a few hundred quid - and a mohair roof for the winter will come in at £270-ish from the trimmer in Swansea.

What it came down to was Mrs. TSpark saying 'I like our MX5'.

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Part of the appeal of MX-5 ownership, for me, is that it is completely stress-free. No worries about parking dings, no big bills, peanuts to run, easy to live with and simple fun. You get an Alfa Spider and you'll get precious about it, won't want to get it wet, won't want to rag it, will worry about breaking it etc etc... I don't see the appeal of the Barchetta, personally, but they cost peanuts so why not buy one in Winter chen they're cheap and flog it in the following summer if you don't 'bond' with it ?

Will the MX-5 be any nicer to live with if you fix the arches ? No. You can't see them from the driver's seat. Fix only stuff that would fail an MOT. Would a Euphonic or 1.8iS be any more fun to drive ? Well, probably a little bit. But £1000 worth ? Nah. I don't think so. Mohair hood ? Save £120 and get this , the roof is only for if you park it in a monsoon somewhere, it's just a roof and not worth spending £ on.

If we're playing Pontoon, I say "stick".

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I know when I post this i'll need to duck due to the barage of abuse I feel i'll get...but whats the score with an MGF?

I know nothing of this genre of car, but theres a 51 plate for sale near here, looks immaculate with low mileage for £1150

Are they really that bad that this is the going rate for one?

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I've been looking and been very tempted.

But just about every advert mentions 'head gasket replaced' - and many of them are being sold within 1-10k miles of said replacement, which sets alarm bells ringing.

My mother in law had a Y plater, had it for years, always serviced by the main dealer, etc., etc - needed a new HG on 30k miles. She only had it for another 20k after that... and replaced it with a Chinese MG TF, which hasn't gone pop yet - but has had a multitude of niggling faults.

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My cousin had an MGF for years. During that time he replaced more or less everything, with one or two subtle enhancements (and a couple of less subtle but unintentional bodywork modifications...). If you find one that has been cared for by someone barely competent you can be sure it'll be in better nick than it was when it left the factory.

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They aren't actually bad cars for the money, you'd have had to have been insane to buy a new one (like my brother did), but as a bargain track toy or bit of fun they are pretty good, I'd go for a TF if you're serious though, the interior quality is pretty cheap, but it probably won't seem any worse inside than a mk1 MX5 in terms of plastics quality, overall a very underrated car, and available for peanuts these days.

Do expect a head gasket failure, but it isn't the end of the world, and they can (and should) be repaired using upgraded parts that cure the issue for good, so if it hasn't been done properly, budget for it. (Better steel reinforced head gasket, steel locating dowels etc)

If you search on the owners forums you might find some up for sale that have been sorted properly already, and cared for by enthusiasts, but expect to pay a bit more.

The TF also does away with the unreliable Hydrogas suspension and has conventional coil over dampers which will be much better on track too.

The K series lump, despite it's reputation for using head gaskets is actually a very good engine, and easily modified if need be, there is a huge tuning market for them and they are used in quite a few rallycross cars being light and powerful, I think all TF's have the 160bhp vvc unit which is what you want.

There is a chap near me who has a bright orange TF, and it actually looks pretty good.

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The really big thing that puts me off the MGF / TF is that my mechanic hates them and wasn't keen on the idea of me buying one.

This is a man who happily gets stuck in doing all kinds of jobs on my Alfa 75 - so if he pretty much says he'd refuse to work on it, I tend to listen to him!

I've been browsing again - turned up a Mk2.5 S-VT for under £1700... argh! That's probably the best pre-Mk3 version of the '5.

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