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Showcase cover image for 1997 Mazda MX5 Mk1 Harvard

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That sounds like a wonderful find, Michael. I am a great fan of Mk1s
 

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I had been looking initially for a mk3 car and had so totally overlooked the mk1 because everything that I had seen looked rotten and modified to within an inch of its life.<br />
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The hunt went on for almost 18 months, some months I was keen and other months not so. I realised I was starting to drift away from the mk3 because although in some colour combinations they are undoubtedly beautiful there are simply so many about. I’m sure that in time one will arrive on our drive as my partner loves the look and the practical folding hard top is a must as she will part exchange her current Mazda2 next year.<br />
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I should also point out that my daily driver up to a fortnight ago was a ‘66 plate 6 Sport Nav which I clocked up 120000 miles in but that has now been replaced with a Passat. Nice car that does everything well but is lacking character after the 6<br />
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Anyway back to the story. I had seen on PistonHeads a Gleneagles in stunning condition. It was in Kent which on the face of it is miles away from North Yorkshire but when you can combine the trip with business it is justifiable, in my mind anyway! <br />
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The Gleneagles special edition really did make the Mk1 thing click into place. Many years ago 1995/96 I think, me and my ex wife were invited to The Gleneagles Hotel for a couple of nights over Christmas by my then very wealthy boss. Lovely as the break was the thing that I can remember is a Gleneagles MX5 parked at the entrance of the hotel with subtle advertising blurb all over it. I remembered it as being green but the one I saw was blue??<br />
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Business out of the way I showed at a very large house in Kent. A nice chap showed me his Gleneagles and took me out in it. He explained the blue/green colour and how they were all the same but changed with how the sunlight hit it. The car was lovely (expensive) but lovely all the same. I was tempted but it was the first one I had seen and you don’t buy the first one do you? I wrestled with Gleneagles ownership on that long drive back to Yorkshire but took things no further.<br />
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Two weeks later after now narrowing down my search for a decent mk1 I saw what seemed to be a stunning Harvard at a dealers in.....ELGIN ????????????????????<br />
I chatted with the proprietor who assured me although it was very expensive it was the best one he’d ever seen and his son had become very attached to the car and didn’t really want to part with it. Dealer spin I thought....<br />
He said it would be worth the trip and sent me more images and a walk round video. He also talked me through the extensive history file with ever bill, tax disc and mot. He was so confident the car was that good he said he would take the for sale sign off it and hold it for me until I could get up to Northern Scotland the following Thursday. He would do this with or without a deposit as he sensed I was keen and I suppose buyers for cars at this price are very thin on the ground. In the car world it isn’t a lot of money but it is for a mk1 lovely as I’m sure it was.<br />
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TBC the long journey north....
 

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I mentioned to my partner that I intended to travel up to Elgin to view a car that I would drive home if it was as described. I showed her the photos and she agreed it looked immaculate but being brutally honest apart from the rear wheel arch and sills issues it was the blind leading the blind.<br />
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To my astonishment she wanted to come with me! We booked flights from Manchester to Aberdeen then the train to Elgin. Car insurance and funds in place we set off on a 5am start. All went well and we were minutes away from being picked up at the station by the car dealer. My heart was racing, what if the car wasn’t as described. No return tickets and a bank holiday weekend!!<br />
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We were taken to a unit where the car had been securely stored with its hard top fixed. My heart was in my mouth but the car looked stunning. I asked if the roof could be removed so the soft top could be examined. This too was in fact in excellent condition and the only fault I could find with the car was the wheel centres were tarnished slightly and the wood veneer was slightly discoloured around the ash tray.<br />
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We were offered the keys and told to take it our on a test drive with the hood down - the weather was superb, proper MX5 weather!! I couldn’t fault the car, it drove incredibly well. It’s coming home with us I said.<br />
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Funds were transferred, road tax sorted, hard top attached (sadly) and we were off. It was already 3pm and we had no chance of making Yorkshire so we pointed the little silver car south and headed for Edinburgh. We made Edinburgh by around 7pm but more importantly the car didn’t miss a beat and by the time we got to our hotel we both had a grin from ear to ear.<br />
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TBC Edinburgh to Home....
 

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After a lovely evening meal and superb Scottish breakfast we left the appropriately named Sun Inn at Dalkeith and headed south after quickly picking up the A68. I'd never driven this road before after doing the Scotland England trip hundreds of times - what a road to drive on. <br />
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In no time we were at the border where we stopped still in glorious sunshine for photos. Yes I'd love to include photos in this diary but am very stupid and haven't figured out how to do this on here! Hard top still in place sadly, remember as well as the car we had to get this home too.<br />
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We continued on the A68 being waved and flashed at by numerous enthusiastic MX5 ers and a lovely TR4 with a couple who's beaming smiles said it all. The road in places resembled a roller coaster with massive peaks and troughs making for some hairy moments but it all added to the fun.<br />
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Corbridge was our next stop for lunch and what a delightful place it is. We had a stroll round to stretch our legs although we were both amazed how comfortable the car is to sit long periods of time in. "Everard" as I'd now christened him (sounds like Harvard and from certain angles the reg plate looks like the word rigid ????) was still performing brilliantly and appreciated my attempts to hide him out of the way of prying eyes and any possible malicious damage the previous evening.<br />
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Leaving Corbridge we headed for Darlington and were on the last leg of the journey. I'd filled up just before lunch for the second time and calculated after our initial fill up in Elgin we averaged 35.98 mpg which I thought was quite good. I expected late twenties but we had driven steadily and never exceeded the limit ???? as I didn't want to push the car and expose any possible weakness as my roadside recovery didn't kick in until 2pm that day!<br />
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We made it Scotch Corner on the A1 and now 40 minutes from home. Cruising at a steady 70 I was loving the appreciative glances and nods from drivers of all types of vehicle. I was also very very grateful that Justine had decided to travel with me to pick up the car. Her company as always was fantastic and life is so much better when you have someone to share the good times with. Off the record I think she was enjoying MX5 life as much as me and she hadn't driven our new companion Everad yet. That would come later....<br />
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We pulled into my drive in Fairburn as the trip clicked on to 398 fabulous miles. What a memorable adventure/journey neither of us will ever forget.<br />
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Tbc get those flies washed off...
 

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Id been told by the Gleneagles guy in Kent (see part one of diary) he'd always used Bilt Hamber car cleaning shampoo and wax so I'd ordered a small pot of double speed wax and some liquid car shampoo online. Now with the hard top in place and after a good nights sleep it was time to remove those flies and make the car gleam again.<br />
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After an hours work with the hard top still in place the car was returned to pristine condition. Bilt Hamber had worked its magic as I was told it would.<br />
My pal Paul arrived and we carefully removed the hard top placing it on the bed in the spare room. Have to sort that later I thought but in truth it's still there "resting". <br />
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Away we roared and could really appreciate the note of the stainless steel exhaust which does sound a little MGBesque at times. I'd also now realised after looking through the mounds of paperwork that a short shift gear kit had been fitted which really made swopping cogs a pleasure.<br />
My pal took some photos in suitable locations which looked good and I thought I would enter into the photo of the month (without success) later.<br />
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Justine and I drove to meet friends with the top off (Everard not Justine) for a pub lunch in York. The car park was ram packed but just as we pulled in a space appeared by magic and a couple enjoying lunch promised to keep an eye on Everard but were convinced they were guarding an MR2! After letting the bodyguard sit in Everard and explaining the cars history he smiled and said its a beautiful little car, take good care of it.<br />
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After a spot of lunch and explaining to friends of our friends who we'd never met before what we had done the previous two days and our epic journey they were keen to see the car. One lady was especially keen as she had promised herself an MX5 and had forgotten all about the pop up headlamp mk1. They all loved the car and couldn't believe the history file which was still in the boot. Every tax disc mounted on A4 paper from day 1 until tax discs were no more confirmed the car had spent all its life in Glasgow and later in its life moved to Dumfrieshire.<br />
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Time for home and Justines turn at the wheel. After a little hesitancy initially we were soon making rapid progress back to home. Whoops of delight and that lovely exhaust note made the journey home memorable from sound alone. More squashed flies.....????????????<br />
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Tbc Elvington and beyond....
 

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Glad the trip was worth it Michael, and the cars was all you expected....<br />
My first experience of Mx-5's was also with a Harvard, but then (after a Mk2.5 Nevada & 1.8 sport) I saw a Mk3 in winning blue and wanted one so bad!<br />
Sadly not having a garage means I can't own and run a Mk1 as I'd like, and as the Mk4 is so 'back to basics' ie the nearest thing to a Mk1 that'll do me.<br />
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Enjoy.....
 
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