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For years I had been thinking about one day buying a Mazda MX-5.
When my dear wife Ine passed away in 2015, the time when we had rented a beautiful red 1993 MX-5 NA for the day became a treasured memory.
For old timeʼs sake, it would have to be an early red roadster just like that.
On my retirement, Iʼd bought a classic motorcycle, returned to work part-time and gone on annual walking trips following the route from Holland to Santiago de Compostela in north-western Spain.
It was on 2019ʼs trip, from Limoges, France, to the Spanish border, that I hurt my back and had to return home much earlier than expected. With time to spare, I found myself browsing cars.
Late one evening, I saw a red, one-owner 1993 MX-5 NA for sale with only 38,000km (24,000 miles).
Iʼd looked at MX-5s over the years, but always been disappointed by rusty bodies, dirty interiors or poor mechanicals.
So I had my reservations, but I called the seller immediately. I took a lot of extra painkillers for my back, because this couldnʼt wait…
The car had been owned by the vendor ʼs recently deceased father-in-law and the children had made the difficult decision to pass it on.
It had always been parked inside, meticulously maintained and rarely driven in the rain.
Its neat history folder included the purchase invoice, all bills for past maintenance, APK (MoT) inspection reports and instruction booklets.
The history showed that even as its annual mileage went down, it was serviced by a Mazda dealer every year on the same day.
The paintwork, the interior, the engine compartment, the boot and even the underside of the car were like new.
I knew immediately that a test drive wouldnʼt even be necessary and agreed on a price. I collected it a week later.
I put the original wheels back on the Mazda and replaced the barely worn 1990s tyres with new rubber.
Then there was the wooden Momo gearknob and handbrake handle. They were ordered new with the car, but I preferred the standard black rubber so I ordered genuine replacements.
I havenʼt been able to get the handbrake handle off and, because I donʼt want to break anything, I decided to leave it on as a memento of the previous owner.
A major service at my local dealer (my daily driver is also a Mazda), including a new timing belt, completed the car.
I was also fortunate enough to rent a parking space just around the corner from me in an underground garage, so it continues to sleep indoors.
That summer, I decided to go on a vacation to Tuscany, Italy, with the car.
Through Germany, I drove along the winding roads of Baden-Württemberg, then over the Austrian Alps into Italy via the Zillertaler Höhenstrasse and Passo del Brennero – spectacular driving, even with the challenge of unassisted steering.
Unfortunately, the cities of Tuscany were just as hot and busy as the Via Aurelia, which I decided to take along the coastline from Genoa.
I caught some glimpses of the Mediterranean then drove back home via the Mont Blanc Tunnel, completing my 4000km maiden voyage in the MX-5.
I didnʼt feel alone for a moment during that two-week road trip, because every time I looked to my right, I could see my lovely wife sitting next to me, smiling.
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