It was perhaps somewhat inevitable that the MX-5 would find itself used as the key stone for countless kit cars throughout the world, after all, it’s chassis, engine, drivetrain and sheer abundance make it just too good a candidate to ignore! That the MX-5 should prove so suitable for this kind of conversion isn’t so surprising then, though of course that hasn’t stopped many voicing their distaste at the fact, and it’s also undeniably true that not all MX-5-based kit car projects end up doing Mazda’s iconic sports car justice. Many make a fine job of it though, and the car’s popularity within the kit car community shows no sign of abating or stopping, so with this in mind, here’s our list of the best ten Mazda MX-5 based kits and conversions.
Fancy owning a Ferrari 250GTO but can’t quite stump up the many millions of pounds required to get your name atop the logbook? Then step this way, the MX250 might well be the car for you. Based on the MX-5 (obviously) and available in both hard and soft top versions, the MX250 works very well indeed, probably because the dimensions of the kit and the chassis aren’t too dissimilar to those of the Ferrari it pays homage to.
Price: £1595 MX250C soft top (exc. VAT), £1970 MX250 hard top (exc. VAT)
Clearly paying homage to cars like the Lotus 7, Caterham 7 and various Wesfields and Dax products, the Zero Mazda represents an ideal route into the world of lightweight, road legal track day specials, without the hefty price tag. It utilises components from MX-5s built between ’89 and ’05 and can be ordered in a variety of forms.
Price: £2645 GBS Zero starter kit, £12,998 GBS Zero Mazda complete kit.
There have been a number of kits designed to lend the MX-5 an AC Cobra vibe over the years, and the vast majority have, to put it bluntly, failed. This is because you can’t get around the fact that the physical dimensions of the MX-5 aren’t really conducive to a Cobra replica, the chassis simply isn’t wide or long enough to make it a viable option. The Miata Cobra differs in that it doesn’t aim to replicate the Cobra’s looks, merely pay homage to them. The result is pleasing kit that oozes muscular ’60s cool without going over the top.
Running the MX250 close in the sexy ’60s styling stakes, the DBR1 kit from MEV will lend your MX-5 a much needed dose of classic Aston-cribbed style, and all for a price that won’t leave you contemplating a Brink’s-MATT style bullion heist. The kit utilises the complete drivetrain assembly from the Mk1-Mk2.5 MX-5, can be ordered in a number of guises and packages and looks utterly amazing finished in dark blue or green.
Price: from £4995 (kit)
Another kit from a well established British manufacturer, the Healy Enigma can be ordered in a number of versions and with a variety of engines, though we feel confident in saying that the range topping V8 is pick of the bunch. The V8 in question is taken from the Lexus LS400 and boasts a hefty 4.0 cubic capacity, though those seeking more restrained, old school thrills can opt to stick with Mazda’s own tried and tested DOHC 16v.
Price: varies depending on engine option
Undoubtedly one of the most successful and complete body conversions for the MX-5 currently available, the SPR1 from Widow Sports Cars bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain mid-noughties sports car from a much missed Blackpool-based manufacturer. We’ll leave you to decide on the overall look of the kit, but there’s no doubting that it completely transforms the MX-5.
Price: from £3100 (kit)
A US-based concern of some standing and with a long history of creating comprehensive MX-5 re-bodies, Simpson Design’s Manta Ray kit harks back to the golden age of ’50s and ’60s Italian coachbuilt automotive styling houses. The kit uses the NA MX-5 as its base, with all the OE drivetrain components carried over.
Price: £6271 (kit)
Proving once again that Simpson Design is nothing if not varied in its offerings, the Italia 3 SWB is another kit that aims to turn the MX-5 into a ’60s Ferrari facsimile, this time the achingly pretty 250SWB. Without doubt one of the most successful Pininfarinia-style kits for the MX-5 (and for the price it should be), the Italia 3 uses the NC as its base and represents the last word in MX-5 re-body conversions.
Price: from £67,000 (complete)
Fancy a slice of Ariel Atom-style lunacy without the dizzyingly high price tag? Then we’d recommend you take a look at the Exocet from MEV, a distinctive kit that effectively re-purposes the MX-5 and turns it into something akin to the naked, stripped-back trackday warrior. The Exocet kit comes with an all new chassis that’s been redesigned for strength and rigidity, lightweight body panels and fitting kit. All OEM MX-5 running gear is retained, and the kit can be had in three distinct versions, Base, Sport and Race.
Price: from £2595
Proving just how versatile the MX-5’s architecture can be, Baur Limited’s Catfish is a potent re-engineering exercise that majors on chassis dynamics and handling finesse. The kit is based around a carefully welded, fully space-framed chassis that bolts onto the OE MX-5 sub-frames (no customer welding is required), with easy to apply composite bodywork all round. The kit is based around MX-5s built from 1989 to 2005.
Price: from £9,800
All of these cars share one thing in common, their Mazda underpinnings. This means that MX5parts is more than capable of supplying you with almost anything you could ever need to keep your MX5-based kit car in fine fettle, with everything from OEM components, to quality aftermarket upgrades from some of the most respected and trusted firms in the business. We really are your one-stop shop for all your MX5 needs.