BBR Mazda MX-5 Turbo (NC) | PH Private Area

Find more four-wheeled fun for £10k – we'll wait…

By Matt Bird / Monday, 10 April 2023 / Loading comments

It’s very well known that we’re big fans of BBR MX-5s on PH. It’s hard not to be, really; in combining the standard car’s joyous simplicity with a welcome dollop of performance potential, BBR makes fantastically fun Mazdas. Long may it continue…

Now, of course, modifying done well is not a cheap undertaking. While an overhauled MX-5 can represent something of a performance bargain given what else is available for the money, it often also takes a significant chunk of the original outlay to get it there. And that puts some people off, especially when a car like the MX-5 has been so popular largely because of its value for money. There will always be those who will want a lightly used Boxster for lightly used Boxster money, but there’s no denying the sheer fun on offer if willing to spend a bit of cash on an MX-5.

In an ideal scenario, we’d buy cars where the money had been spent by a previous owner, saving us the outlay. The trouble then is that modifying is a hugely personal thing, and what the previous owner has done might not be to your taste. That said, we can probably all agree that BBR’s engine work on MX-5s is thought of very favourably, so plenty of bills from Brackley must be a good thing. Everything else can be sorted out at a later date.

This Mk3 MX-5 is the perfect example of what’s out there with upgrades already done. Acquired by the current owner in 2020 as a Stage 1 BBR MX-5 turbo (which would imply enthusiast ownership for a good few years), it’s now at Stage 2, which means more than 300hp and more than 240lb ft from a forged engine, healthy improvements for a car that originally produced 160hp and just 123lb ft. Those gains have been achieved through, among other things, a Garrett GT2860R turbocharger and a host of BBR goodies, from manifold to intercooler and exhaust to airbox. The current owner says the acceleration ‘is such that I have had bikers giving me thumbs up’, which is easy to believe with that much power moving little more than a tonne, even with just the five-speed manual.

There’s plenty been added to help the MX-5 contain that power, too, including an upgraded clutch, big brakes, Meister R coilovers and plenty more besides – a lot of money has been spent here. The sale includes a spare set of wheels on Michelin Cup 2s for use when the weather improves, complete with an incredible bespoke rack to carry them on – and with this spec and those tyres, it ought to make for a superb little track car. Any cosmetic upgrades another owner doesn’t like could presumably be sold on.

And it’s £10k. Alright, £10,995, but it’s easy to see where that much must have already gone into the project, and there’s a bonus MX-5 thrown into the deal. Just to buy an MX-5 like this – an early NC with 75,000 miles – would currently cost £6k, so it looks like an awful lot of additional excitement for relatively little money. It’s hard to imagine many would want to embark on a big project with an older MX-5 now, but buying a completed one remains more affordable than later equivalents. For what’s commonly referred to as the least popular MX-5, there’s a lot to like here. Wonder what BBR might have on offer for the next owner…

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