Following on from Van’s article on the MX5-based 2000GT conversion, it reminded me of all the other MX5 retro conversions that have been available in Japan over the years. The MX5 (or Roadster as it is known in JDMland) is such a popular car that it’s a certainty that there would be a lot of aftermarket support for it. However it may be surprising as to exactly how much there is you can do to your Roadster to make it look a lot like a classic JDM car.
First cab off the rank is one of the most popular of these conversions in Japan. This one is from Pitcrew Racing, which makes a kit for the NA (ie, 1st gen) MX5 that is very redolent of the VW Karmann Ghia from the front on. But from the back, there’s definitely a lot of 311-series Datsun Failrady Roadster goin’ on. Pitcrew also offers many other parts, like exhaust systems, etc which are well regarded. Couple that with their quirkily aggressive kit for the Roadster and they have been an established part of the JDM aftermarket scene for the past decade.
Moving right along, and at Ducks-Garden they have gone the whole hog to try to make the MX5 into a 311 Fairlady Roadster replica….and to somewhat of a less than happy result. The square-rigger nose and tail don’t mix very well with the curvy contours of the MX5 middle section and the overhangs are too long, and I’m not really so sure if their choice of alloy wheel is on-message but…..if you really must have an MX5 based Fairlady Roadster replica I guess it’ll have to be this one.
This is a much prettier option is actually one of the oldest kits available for the Roadster. Made by Simpson Design in the USA, the Italia conversion is aptly named for its slinky italianate looks. Add a set of deep dish Watanabes into those voluptuous ‘guards and the look is pure 60s racer, and in my opinion it’s one of the best looking of these kits, and has been available for over a decade.
Another, milder conversion is the Elan Kit from Zoom Eng. You see quite a few of these at the JDM Roadster meets and Zoom also makes super high quality retro accessories to go with the look, like chromed mirrors, retro dashboard kits, etc. JDM tuners come and go, and the Roadster scene is no different…so it’s hard to keep track of what is still in production, and what is no longer available. But I think that the Bugeye Sprite conversion below (the beige car is a Pitcrew) used to be made by Zoom as well.
Last but not least is KG Works. Makers of tasty, hi quality retro trinkets and accessories for the Roadster, they can even help you make your Mazda into a Stratos. Well…..almost 🙂