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Thread: Roadster Refresh Program from Mazda Japan

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    Super Moderator MRnewsBot's Avatar
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    Post Roadster Refresh Program from Mazda Japan

    Mazda Japan's NA Miata Refresh Roadster Program



    HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation Feb 15, 2006

    Classic sports cars never die. They're simply re-manufactured and get to live again. It's happened to the MGB, Jaguar E-Type, Triumph TR6 and Lotus Elan, and now - almost incredibly - it's happening to the Mazda Eunos Roadster in Japan.

    That's right, Mazda's now put into place an official program to buy up, restore, re-engineer and re-issue first generation Eunos Roadster (Miata MX-5) from that pivotal 1989-98 era. Why? You might reasonably ask. There are thousands about, after all, and surely it's too early to do the whole nostalgia/classic car/restoration bit. Well, yes and no. In Japan, where the MX-5 is sold as the Roadster and this rebuild program is called 'Refresh', the project is as much about reviving the spirit of that first-generation MX-5 as it is about Mazda exploring new market areas, networking the various parts of its empire and using the Internet for new e-promotion and marketing.

    Ikuhiro Yoshinaga, a senior voice inside Mazda E&T (Mazda Engineering & Technology Co., Ltd) and the creator of the Refresh program, said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ikuhiro Yoshinaga
    "In 1990, the market peaked here at nearly 8m units, but now it's down to under 6m units. We've lost market share year by year. In the past, the Japanese car industry has always been pursuing what comes next, but with the slowing economy and shrinking market in mind, things have to change and, in fact, in one part of the market, people are starting to become quite nostalgic for cars from the past."
    You won't necessarily find out about this Refresh idea down at your local Mazda dealer in Japan, but you will at http://www.mspr.co.jp. There, you'll see how Mazda E&T - the special ops division that's come up with the idea and is doing all the work - is offering two different MX-5 models to suit wants and budgets: Version 1 and more tweaky Version 2. You'll also see the new MX-5 coupe that E&T will be launching later this year in Japan... As well as E&T's marvellous rotary-powered Cosmo 21 concept.

    With each Refresh-ed car, engine and carpets come out and the car is repainted (you get a choice of colors). The folding top is changed and the plastic rear screen exchanged for glass. The body gets second-generation gusset plate welding to add stiffness. The suspension has been modified, front and rear, and features Bilstein dampers and springs. Brake discs are also beefed up.

    Under the bonnet, a Mazdaspeed strut tower bar bolts in place. The head cover of the 1.6-liter twin cam is buffed up and gains an aluminium oil filler cap. Inside, the trim colour is black only, and there's a cool Mazdaspeed 240km/h (149mph) speedo and serial number plate. All interior parts that need replacing are replaced.

    You get all that with the Version 1, whose price starts at around (1400000₯) in Japan.

    You can, however, tag on a wide range of goodies from the Mazdaspeed catalog including a free flow air filter, Mazdaspeed header and Mazdaspeed sports sound exhaust (170000₯), adjustable dampers and lowered springs (65000₯) and a limited slip differential (95000₯). Plus, Mazda E&T will overhaul the engine for you, to standard spec, for (195000₯) if you ask them.

    The hot ticket, though, is unquestionably Version 2. The biggest single difference is the Mazdaspeed Works-built engine with Mazdaspeed high-lift cams and high-compression pistons, lifting compression to 10.5:1. A Mazdaspeed clutch and Mazdaspeed flywheel also a feature - to handle the extra power and improve throttle response.

    While the Version 1 sticks to the original output numbers of 122hp and 101lb ft of torque (pulling power), Mazda E&T says the Version 2 treatment ups those outputs some 10 percent, pointing to 134hp and 111 lb/ft. But this is just for openers: this custom-built engine also revs much more powerfully and sweetly than the standard version and comes kitted out with a Mazdaspeed cat-back exhaust, which sounds deliciously throaty.

    If you went out and built a Version 1 Roadster in Japan from scratch, it would likely cost around 2500000₯. Yet Mazda E&T can sell it for almost 50 percent less. How? Simply, by skillful networking between E&T and two other affiliates: Mazda Chuhan (handling pre-owned cars) and Mazda Ace (engine rebuilding). The Refresh team can also buy genuine parts from Mazda for a friendly discounted price and be right on top of quality throughout.

    To ensure consistently high quality, Mazda E&T won't offer anything but complete cars, just like famed BMW tuner, Alpina. You can't buy just the works-tuned engine, mix 'n match specifications or bring your own car to have work done. That may be disappointing and may limit the marketability of this whole Refresh idea, but Mazda E&T wants to keep the whole thing solid and approved. You do get a six-month, 10,000-km (6000 mile) warranty. Another incentive is that factory-based technicians and testers - people with a lot of know-how and enthusiasm for the original Miata MX-5 - carry out the work.

    So, does it all work? Driving Mazda E&T's demo car reminds you just how sweet that first-generation MX-5 was - kind of like meeting up with an old girlfriend. All the original allure was were, but now with facelift and nip 'n tuck to look good and feel cool many years later. The Version 2 base price is just short of 1750000₯, but the test car also had over two grand's worth of extra kit including stainless mesh brake hoses and height adjustable dampers and springs, parts that are not yet officially available.

    First impressions are just how well the NA styling has stood up. It's the interior that now feels its age. The cabin also now feels pretty narrow, this not helped so much by the huge, hunky Mazdaspeed sports seats that take up quite a lot of space.

    The Mazdaspeed works-built engine, however, is a dream, revving eagerly, smoothly, providing vivid, hard-edged performance right across the rev band. This 1.6 is rev-happy, loud and has real soul. It's also totally tractable, yet calm and levelheaded in traffic. If the 1.6 is this good, what must a works 1.8 be like?

    The Mazdaspeeds quick, short-throw gearshift is as delightful as ever. This Version 2 chassis is stiff and has a big helping of road holding. Where the Roadster traditionally has been about delicacy and feedback, you soon get the idea that this is car built to corner flat and fast, with strong lateral grip from the 195/50 R15 Bridgestone Potenzas keeping it glued to the road.

    Like this, the Version 2 is undoubtedly a lot of fun and feels really good and full-on in high-speed corners. It would make a brilliant track day car. But day to day, the rocky low-speed ride could get wearisome. Upgraded brakes are also firm but still stand up well to fade.

    'Mazda Refresh' is low-key so far, offered only in Japan, only over the web and only with NA6 Roadster MX-5s. But in the works is a follow-up, and equally fascinating, Refresh program for second, and third-generation RX-7s.

    It's not everyday a multi-national company like Mazda goes over its back catalog and re-issues cars from the past. Japan's car industry, after all, is a restless, fast-moving beast, ultra competitive by nature, always moving onto the next project, the next big thing. There's never been much time, or inclination, to look back - until now. Still, who knows, like this, maybe the Mazda MX-5 will live forever.
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  3. #2
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! johnfett's Avatar
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    Ah man I wish they had this program still ................. even just for the Mazdaspeed parts !!!

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    Admin / Pit Boss / Miataholic Phatmiata's Avatar
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    I just want the Mazdaspeed seats.....

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    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here!
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    About 30 were made.

    This one of those cars; might disappoint some.







    Over the years, I've seen one other, a silverstone car, also essentially standard.
    Last edited by roadsternut; 09-19-2015 at 08:59 PM.

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  8. #5
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power freedomgli's Avatar
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    Sweet. I'd drive it.

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    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here!
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    Sounds like a great program. I think it would be successful here in the states.

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    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! OBD1 kenobi's Avatar
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    This is so cool. I beleieve Nissan did something similar a few years ago by reconditioning and selling 240z's.

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    Admin / Pit Boss / Miataholic Phatmiata's Avatar
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    Ah so that is when the Yellow badge is from.

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    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here!
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    Quote Originally Posted by OBD1 kenobi View Post
    This is so cool. I beleieve Nissan did something similar a few years ago by reconditioning and selling 240z's.

    Nissan's programme was more intensive. I believe they contracted a well known 240Z restorer to carry out the work; full restoration at a great loss to Nissan.

    Mazda did something rather less; originally they were set to seek out low mileage cars, but I think a number of the cars ended up being customer supplied. The engines were never opened up. The BRG is obviously a former V-spec, with a standard interior fitted. What's surprising is how brown the radiator top looks; maybe its fine, but it wouldn't have hurt Mazda to put in a new radiator.

    I think fitment of the NB suspension was less to do with putting together some ultimate NA roadster, and more to do with being the most cost effective way to refresh the suspension (rather than go through the effort of replacing bushes, just grab new parts out of the NB parts bin.

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  14. #10
    Idling - Listen to it purr...
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    Hi. I'm editor of Total MX-5 magazine in the UK and have only recently become aware of the Refresh Roaster programme. I'm keen to run a story on it but the UK press office seems to know nothing about it and I'm not that hopeful of getting hold of any pictures. Any chance that you might still have the images you posted on mazdaroadster.net? We would, of course, pay you for them. And I don't suppose you happen to own the one you photographed? If you've got the time, could you please drop me a line to brett@brettfraser.co.uk.

    Many thanks.

    Cheers,
    Brett

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    Admin / Pit Boss / Miataholic Phatmiata's Avatar
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    That was an article about the Japan only Roadster Refresh program from Feb 15, 2006 not sure what info or photos anyone has available from 12 years ago.

    There was another Mazda refresh program a few years ago however it was a limited run of NA Parts: Hardtops, Dash, Seats, and such but from what ive heard most was gobbled up already. A few member here got some of those parts though.

  16. #12
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miatawriter View Post
    Hi. I'm editor of Total MX-5 magazine in the UK and have only recently become aware of the Refresh Roaster programme. I'm keen to run a story on it but the UK press office seems to know nothing about it and I'm not that hopeful of getting hold of any pictures. Any chance that you might still have the images you posted on mazdaroadster.net? We would, of course, pay you for them. And I don't suppose you happen to own the one you photographed? If you've got the time, could you please drop me a line to brett@brettfraser.co.uk.

    Many thanks.

    Cheers,
    Brett
    Those images were just found on the web. Suggest you contact the owner of the Minkara account the green car was found on:
    https://minkara.carview.co.jp/userid...2/profile.aspx

    You're a journalist. Get reporting.

    He obviously since modified the car

    https://minkara.carview.co.jp/userid...145/photo.aspx

    Note the date of the blog. In the text:

    Two years ago, after about 3 months of ordering, I finally arrived from Hiroshima and taken my car at the roof of the dealer....By refreshing vehicle version 2, the engine is also refreshed! However, as accessories such as radiators remain as they were, it is quite dangerous......Refreshing vehicle's caution plate. It seems to be number 11 in 30 cars. Why is it number 11 though I ordered it late? I confirmed with Mazda E & T that the number was allocated to the texture and it was not attached in order from the first. (There is such a way of numbering & management ??)..........Thunder! The caution plate and the serial number are different! ! At a later date, I sent the same number as the car body. It was the same handwritten "Maru character" as this. If you are on a refreshing vehicle, you'd better check it once (laugh).....Thunder! The caution plate and the serial number are different! ! At a later date, I sent the same number as the car body. It was the same handwritten "Maru character" as this. If you are on a refreshing vehicle, you'd better check it once (laugh)
    ie the owner was pissed off because he thought he was one of the first, but Mazda said tough. Then Mazda messed up and issued two different build numbers for the car. Maybe there wasn't as many as 30.

    https://minkara.carview.co.jp/userid...2/profile.aspx



    He brought the car from the "salon" or car show in 2004.

    See:
    http://maz.daa.jp/autosalon/03salon.html

    [ROADSTER MAZDASPEED Ver.1 "" ROADSTER MAZDASPEED Ver.2 "
    A model that Mazdaspeed made full-scale refresh work based on Eunos used car.
    I think that it is a concept car made for auto salon exhibition or something, actually it is interesting because both models are scheduled to sell from March 2003.
    On the left of the photo is Refresh & Sunburst Yellow all-penned Ver. 1, Soft Top, Damper / Spring etc. are ported from NB's NR-A.
    The photo on the right was refreshed and tuned on top. Price to be sold is 1.78 million yen ~ and it can not be considered a used car.
    ie. announced in 2003, not 2006

    https://minkara.carview.co.jp/userid...blog/37607849/

    Lots of technical information from January 2003

    Yes, you're in a bind. You can't use the photos without the owners permission, and internet photos are not good for a magazone, and Total MX5 won't fly you to Japan to see the owner.

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