Roadster Of The Week – Dan’s NA Turbo

Article written by Dan Atkinson

The car was first bought in 2002 as a totally standard silver MX5 (eunos roadster).

It stayed standard for a few months until the wheels were changed to some 15-inch Kahn 5 spokes. At the time 17’s were in fashion so it got some new shoes in the form of some Lenso deep dish split rims. These looked great but didn’t do much for the handling as it’s now well-known that the Mx5’s run better on 14 or 15 inch alloys.

Being only a 1.6 the power needed looking at. I was soon hooked on USA websites and forums searching through the articles on DIY forced induction – especially turbo conversions. Mazda has worked with BBR in the early 1990s to produce a factory turbo mx5 but these were very rare and very expensive. I set myself a challenge to do my own DIY turbo conversion, most people laughed and told me it couldn’t be done, but I set out to prove them wrong. It was hard work gathering info but a great project to do.

The basis of the conversion is a T25 hybrid (half Renault 5 turbo and half Mitsubishi eclipse) made from two turbos to form a great spooling, responsive unit. This sits on an imported Corksport manifold from the USA. The downpipe and exhaust are custom, part made by myself and a local welding firm. An escort RS turbo air filter and Rover 200 intercooler were used in the conversion. Fuelling was basic in the form of an AFPR from the USA later replaced with GREDDY EMANAGE and then a Megasquirt ECU. From start to finish it took approx a year of planning and parts gathering before the turbo was running. It was at this stage that a new business idea was born. Universal-Intercoolers.

As standard these engines are great for FI as they share many components of the Mazda 323 turbo car! The turbo was running approx 6 psi and made circa 170 bhp. Not bad for a homebrew setup.

The car acquired various body kit parts like side skirts, front bumpers as it moved through the years – going from the ‘big wheels’ and body kits to the small track day focussed look.

The wheels have changed quite a few times as well as the owners! I sold and bought the car back (twice) before owning it now. It first went to London where it lived for a few years, then I had it back. I then sold it again and it went to live in Newcastle. In between the Mx5 which now had the name of ‘mexy’ I had a few lotus elises, Vauxhall VX 220’s but nothing could match the fun factor of this little car.

I had a message from a forum member telling me it was back for sale again early 2008. It took me best part of 5 minutes to decide to do the trip to Newcastle and buy it back. The car was still the same car but hadn’t been looked after that well and was getting a bit tired. A deal was done from the same person I had sold it to a few years back and it was home again..

It was then that I decided to transform and rebuild it again and refresh the tired parts. The Car was stripped and repainted in the very bright Focus RS white in 2 pack paint. I took my time in painting the car. It was the first time I’ve ever painted a full car before so was a steep learning curve. The doors were removed to paint the door shuts. I also fitted the wide arches to the car which would allow me to run the wider low offset wheels which I imported from the USA. These were re painted to the colour they are now. A small spoiler was bonded onto the boot lid and smoothed in. I painted and did all the prep work myself inc cutting the original metal wheel arches, bonding on the new parts and skimming the doors to remove the swage lines.

A megasquirt ECU was built for me by a good friend of the Mx5 Nutz forum (thanks John) from a kit we imported from USA. This allowed the standard ECU to be removed and also the Air flow meter, giving more power and an even better induction roar! The engine bay was stripped and repainted white. I took the opportunity to design a new intercooler system for the car as I own This was neater and shorter pipe run than the first intercooler design done years ago. The engine now has larger injectors, a wideband kit to allow better control of fuelling and also runs 11psi boost. This should help to make around 200+bhp.

Mexy is now the demo car for Universal Intercoolers which I can test new Mx5 parts on before selling them. I sell full intercooler kits for the Mx5 turbos now, as well as the wide arches and other mx5 parts.

I also did a wire tuck to tidy the engine bay up. Some engine bay parts were removed or hidden to allow a cleaner engine bay look. The washer bottle was removed as it used to get a bit hot sat next to the glowing turbo! The turbo was rebuilt at the same time with fresh bearings and seals. A new ali radiator was fitted as well as other engine parts like silicone hoses and standard service items. I changed the cam belt, water pump and seals one weekend too. The cam cover has been painted in the same white used for the body.

Gaz coilovers were fitted to the freshly powder coated wishbones with new poly bushes.

I stripped the parts down, had them powdercoated, and then pressed the bushes back into the parts. Hard work but they now look and feel new, and will hopefully last another 20 years!

My fave part of the car is the Bride Bucket seat and genuine bride runner. These took months of searching to find and suit the car really well. The interior is basic and is suited to ‘track style’ – no radio or anything that isn’t needed. A roll cage was also fitted to help make the shell stiffer and also offer some protection In the event of a roll. A carbon gauge pod and Mazda speed steering wheel finish the car off nicely without being over the top.

I’m hoping to get some track time this year at Oulton park and some drifting sessions with the ‘Mazda on track’ group.

If anyone is interested in owning an MX5 they are very easy to work on and parts are cheap and readily available. A great online forum called MX5 Nutz is the best place to start for info and help. There are some very knowledgeable friends on there who know the cars inside out and are more than happy to lend a hand with repairs / tuning / and general mx5 help. What ever you are into there are lots of ways you can tailor a mx5 to make it you own from wheels, kits, power upgrades, suspension etc or you can just enjoy the great little car standard.

As a FYI, this car and the turbo conversion kicked off the basis of my Intercooler business. I couldn’t find anyone making a reasonably priced kit for the Mx5 turbos.

I imported one intercooler from USA, and then sold it to buy 2, they sold and before long I had started importing them by the 100’s and Universal Intercoolers was born. I then developed the Mx5 turbo kit for myself which grew to supplying them all over the world.

Thanks to Ric Lloyd, John ‘Dm Rider’, Oggy @, Claire for being so patient and everyone else involved with my crazy car ideas.


1.6 16v
Corksport USA exhaust Manifold
T25 Hybrid Turbo
Stainless turbo oil feed hosing
Universal Intercoolers Intercooler kit
Megasquirt ECU + new sensors
AEM Wideband Kit
Air con removed
Custom stainless steel exhaust
Koyo Ali Radiator
350cc Supra Injectors
Wire tuck in the engine bay


Universal Intercoolers Wide arch kit
Universal Intercoolers Rear Spoiler
Mazda OEM front spoiler
Door / Wing Swage lines smoothed
Clear sidelight modification
Aerial hole welded and filled
Brackets / panels / metal removed to save weight

-Running Gear:

Sportmax 002 wheels 15×8 0 offset
Lightweight Tuner wheel nuts.
Gaz Coil over suspension
Poly bushed wishbones + ARB
1.8 brakes- Mintex fast road pads
1.8 LSD Torsen II Diff + Prop shaft


Carbon dash cover
Bride Seat on Bride Runner
Mazda speed steering wheel
Roll cage


Wheel Painting

Last night, Adan came over to grab some parts and we had the usual car talk. Anyway he made a good point about the Superlights, He said “You should just paint them instead of powder coating them, The money you save could go to tyres”, and it made sense. So today I was off to my local Repco to grab some supplies.

I have had nothing but great results with VHT, so I chose to use their products on the wheels. So after the trip to Repco, I got straight into it, getting the wheels out of their boxes and giving them a clean before sanding.

Here is the first wheel scuffed and ready to be primed. I used 400 grit sandpaper and scuffed the cast finish that the Superlite GTR’s have. I could/should have used a wire brush to scuff the wheels better, but the method I have used with various parts (including wheels) have worked quite well in the past.

Here they are, all primed up with a can of VHT grey Prime Coat. Either tomorrow or Sunday I will be painting the centre section flat white and clearing it, followed by painting the lip a blue similar to my cam cover. As I thought, the colour I have purchased is too light.

On The Way

So just a little update on the RG MX-5, the Flyin Miata butterfly brace has been a success, I have made payment for my brace and it will be picked up on the weekend. This should be installed within a few weeks time.

Other news, my Jaycar DFA has almost been configured, It should be complete and at my door step next week. Which means I can lean out my AFR and grasp some more power.


Finally, I have sold my OEM “small” sideskirts, So I’ll be on the look out for some Bomex (Fomex, whatever) replacements.

Random Snap – 008

Some may remember Chris Lee’s NA8 featured on Triple Zoom many years ago. Well now it’s back with a new look!

Roadster Of The Week – Alex’s Mazdaspeed Miata

This Mazdaspeed Miata is from Philadelphia, in the USA. Alex, the owner originally didn’t want to modify his Titanium Grey MSM, but the temptation overwhelmed him and he gave into the mod bug.

“I had originally told myself that I would keep the car stock and try not to drive it too much for fear of putting a lot of miles on it and dropping collector value. Then common sense kicked in, and I realized that with 35k on the clock it would never get its value back and that I should just enjoy the car instead.”

Being an MSM, it is graced with a turbocharger from factory, however most don’t think that the factory power output was enough, Alex is one of those people. Since purchase, Alex has added a Flyin Miata intake kit, a Go Fast Bits (GFB) blow off valve, and a larger diameter intercooler. The OEM down pipe has also been ditched for a Flyin Miata piece. All these modifications would give the MSM a healthy boost in power, the kinda power it should of had from factory.

Anyones first ride in a Roadster is normally one they never forget, the feeling you get whilst riding in one sticks to you like glue, the “Like on rails” handling they have, the low seating position, the rawness. It all tends to be a reminiscent, that is until you buy one.

“When I first got a ride in my friend’s stock 97 STO Miata in 2006 ago I told myself that I would definitely own a Miata at some point in my life. Then I got a job at a used car dealership 2 years later, and we happened to have this 2004 Mazdaspeed come in to inventory. After sitting on the lot overpriced for 6 months, I bought it at cost and have been happy ever since.”

This Mazdaspeed Miata has had some smooth cosmetic changes. For instance, those dishy wheels attached to the hubs are none other than the XXR/Sportmax 002, in 16×8 sizing with 0 offset. The tyres that accompany these wheels, are a set of Falken Ziex – 912 in 205/40 sizing. These offer a nice stretch on Alex’s 002’s. A Track Dog Racing front splitter has been installed and the tail lights have been tinted too.

The interior has been kept simple, with only small revisions like the FG2 Civic Si Shift Knob that was threaded to fit the Miata shifter. Alex also installed a Autometer boost gauge, which has been mounted in an aircon vent. 

As most know, there isn’t much roll over protection  at all in these cars, So it was only logical that Alex had installed a Harddog Hardcore Double Diagonal Rollbar.

This MSM is rather low, Alex can thank the Raceland coilovers that he installed, being adjustable, he can set them ground scrapping low, or as high as stock at ease.

However, For track events Alex rips out those Racelands and uses the OEM Bilstien shocks and a set of Flyin Miata springs.

“I haven’t even owned it for a year and have already racked over 12k miles on it and loved every single one of them!”

That’s a true Roadster feeling right there.

Remember guys, We are currently looking for new Roadsters to feature, so if you have a killer Roadster you would like to see on, then shoot us an email at

Congrats Alex, You are the Roadster of the week!

– Model:

Mazda MX-5 Mazdaspeed #2373
Titanium Gray GT Package

– Engine:

1.8L w/IHI Turbocharger
Flyin Miata Intake
GFB Diverter Valve
CX Racing 27.5×5.5×2.5 FMIC
Flyin Miata Down pipe (cat removed)
Muffler Delete

– Suspension: Low n’ Slow Status

Raceland Coilovers
Hawk HPS Brakes F/R
FlyinMiata Sway Bars F/R

– Track Pack Raceland Replacement:

OEM Bilstein Shocks
FlyinMiata Springs

– Exterior:

XXR 002 Wheels 16×8 et
Falken Ziex-912 205/40/16
Harddog Hardcore Double Diagonal Rollbar
TDR Front Splitter
Tail light Red-Out
6000k HID Kit

– Interior:

FG2 Civic Si Shift Knob (threaded to fit)
Autometer Boost Gauge (vent-mount)
20% Suntek Tint

– Factory Fun:

6-speed Transmission w/Short Gearing and 4.10 rear
Mazdaspeed Chassis Bracing
Leather Seats w/ Red Stitching
BOSE Stereo
Smoked Headlight and Projector

Guard Rolling – Dave’s Mark II

Heres some quick pictures whilst rolling Dave’s guards today.

Guard roller mounted to the hub of the Mark II.

Heres some of the tools I use when rolling guards.

The end result, You can see where Dave has been scrubbing on the top of the wheel arch, gotta love it!

If you need your guards rolled, check this out, It has all you need to know about my services.

Random Snap – 007

This rather simple NA looks great, The owner has taken the ‘less is more’ approach, And they have aced it!