There is a notion among some MX-5-fanciers that a UK-market car is better and more proper, but I reckon a Eunos is somehow freer-spirited, more comfortably Japanese, more exotic. It also tends to be better equipped – mine had air-con and a limited-slip differential – and you get the chance, like I did, to have a car from the first year of production and thus the closest to how its creators intended it to be.
I loved my bright blue Eunos, now happily living with a journalist friend. It was much more fun than its predecessor in my garage, a later 1.8-litre, UK-market version in base spec. I bought that one in the mistaken belief that its lack of power steering would make it a yet more involving drive, but all it did was slow the reactions, spoil the sharpness and kill the wrist-flickability. The Eunos was faster too, despite being a 1.6, on account of its revvier, more blippable engine and the undoubted help of a free-flowing aftermarket exhaust system.
MX-5s in their various forms can still be a brilliantly low-cost route to open-air motoring, even allowing for the rising prices, and the engine's enthusiasm, the gearchange's snicketiness and the purity of the rear-drive handling make every drive a bit of an event. Why did I sell it? I don't really know. What I do know is that its buyer got a bargain, given what I'd spent to rescue it from its descent into mid-life chavviness and restore it back to near-standard with light enhancements. And the best time I ever had with it was during a dozen laps of our own Motor Circuit, 7000rpm frequently seen
Mazda's Roadster Restore is accepting cars from late this year, with a view to starting work in early 2018. Behind the project is Nobuhiro Yamamoto, the company's Roadster Ambassador, who sums it up thus: 'Everyone will be happy.' That said, there's no word yet on pricing…