Test drive a Mazda MX5 – no number

On Sunday I did something I wasn’t expecting so didn’t put it on my list though I wish I had. Adding an item after I’ve done it seems like cheating so I can’t add it but I will write about it anyway. I might add a couple of ‘mysteries’ to the list for future surprise events to cover this sort of situation. But that would still be doing it after the event on this occasion so in the spirit of not cheating I won’t do that either!

A bit of background to the day – we were heading off to the MX5 owner’s club rally. Our MX5 is a 10th anniversary edition mark 2.

Well, when I say our, I mean my husband’s of course. A few years ago, my husband changed job roles and no longer needed a car so handed back his company car. For a little while we were a one car family but my husband had other plans.

Nissan Figaro, for a long time my husband's favourite quirky car

Nissan Figaro, for a long time my husband’s favourite quirky car

He had always rather fancied a little Nissan Figaro but after a test drive decided that it didn’t really have quite enough umph for him and that there could well be a big problem with rust. A series of other possibilities were thought through, MG, maybe even a Boxter? But eventually the Mazda MX5 was the winner. Then ensued the hunt for the perfect MX5. Much internet searching, Auto Trader scrutinising later and my husband found the car he wanted to call his. In North Wales. Some 180 miles away. On a dismal day in late November 2012 my husband set off on the train to Wales to pick up what he hoped would be his new pride and joy. November isn’t usually a good time to head out for a spin in a two seater soft top but this was hailed as the ‘wettest week in 50 years’ by the Met Office with the suggestion that ‘folk stay at home’. Hmmmm…

Left at home to ruminate, I set about finding a name for our new family member. Yes, I know she’s a car but she really is part of the family so needed a name. And anyway, every car I have owned has always had a name (and they’ve always started with an ‘H’!), so this is a task I take seriously. I had a little look at baby names websites for ideas and felt that something Welsh would be suitable.

Our very own numbered edition

Our very own numbered edition

Whilst the Mazda may be Japanese by birth, our MX5 has Welsh heritage. And then there it was, the perfect name jumped off the screen at me, Myfanwy. It told me the name means ‘my woman’ in Welsh which seemed just perfect. Clearly this new little MX5 was going to get a lot of my husband’s attention so she would be his ‘other woman’. Further research indicates the name actually means ‘my dear one’ which is even more appropriate as she gets a special rub down after every outing.

Back to the day in question, Myfanwy’s grand day out! We went to the rally last year when Myfanwy had scored 278/300 for her condition. A great score but she did not win any prizes. A lot was learnt from this experience and the last year has seen a lot of cleaning, polishing and putting little things right. Much excitement greeted this new rally in the hope that all this work my earn a prize.

Front page of the programme

Front page of the programme

My husband arrived at the arena (well fields…) at Kelmarsh Hall with cleaning equipment to hand and immediately started polishing and buffing. I arrived a little later and the judges had been on their rounds but the results were not yet known, we had to wait until mid-afternoon for that. We set about enjoying the day, having experienced a fairly dismal summer, this September Sunday was treating us to spectacular sunshine and perfect blue skies. There were plenty of cars to look at and a jousting show which was impressive and funny in equal measure.

Mazda UK had brought along 5 of their new mark 4 MX5 for people to test drive. You needed to get your name down early as the slots disappeared very quickly. To my surprise, my husband had put my name down for this – I just had to go along, show my driving licence and sign a disclaimer. Just before my allotted time we discovered that Myfanwy had won second prize in her class – excellent result!

A proud second, my husband with Myfanwy and bears Maurice and Friendly

A proud second, my husband with Myfanwy and bears Maurice and Friendly

Though, of course, my perfectionist husband felt that anything less than 1st for his beloved Myfanwy wasn’t really how it should be… We would get the score later.

With slight trepidation I headed to my test drive. I would be accompanied by a professional Mazda driver and was a touch worried that my driving would be under scrutiny! In fact, the Mazda driver took to the wheel first to ‘show you what the car can do’. Ooer…

Being driven out of the field by the professional

Being driven out of the field by the professional

We trundled out of the field and once on the road he put his foot down, immediately my head hit the headrest and we were flying along! Another Mark 4 was in front of us with another professional driver giving it the same treatment. As a rear wheel drive car the corners can be fun, at least if you know what you are doing. For inexperienced RWD people like me it also means you can lose the back end! My driver sped round some corners and demonstrated its acceleration very well. I made the comment, ‘I might drive a little more sedately…’.

Before long it was my go. My first challenge was to get the seat in the right place. I sat in the seat and my feet couldn’t even find the pedals. Pulling the seat forward so that I could use the clutch meant the steering wheel was nearly under my chin. Maybe I’m not quite the right shape for the car. You can adjust the steering wheel but I didn’t for such a short drive. Finally strapped in it was time to give it a go. 30mphI was starting out in a 30mph zone so had a good excuse to take it slowly. It felt incredibly smooth as I pulled away and despite having a very small gait in the gears these were also very smooth. The accelerator was responsive under my foot and as we approached the 60mph zone I decided to see what happened. It is such a small car compared to what I am used to, so very low to the road and its 2-litre engine ensures it goes like….well the proverbial off a shovel! I quite got my confidence zooming around the Northamptonshire countryside and was amazed at the smoothness of the ride and how little road noise there was. We did of course have the roof down – how could we not on such a glorious day! I was pleased to keep up with the chap in front (of course, they too had swapped over so it was not the professional driver), though I’m sure the occasional village we went through with the 30mph restrictions helped. Far too soon we were turning back into the field and I had to leave the little car behind. A fine drive, yet quite intense with such power under foot.

Heading back to Myfanwy who now had a rosette and a trophy and found out she had scored a very fine 288/300 and the winner has pipped her to the post by 2 small points. My husband had warmed to the idea of a second deciding it wasn’t that bad after all.

Presented with the trophy, a knight on hand just in case

Presented with the trophy, a knight on hand just in case

If you want to read more about Myfanwy and her adventures this is the place to go Mazda MX5 10th Anniversary Edition

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