Factory tour done!

Went up to the factory today with my brother and I can’t decide if I’m more confused, or more enlightened. Well both I guess – I’m certainly more excited and I’m just as poor as before I made the journey which is probably an achievement in itself!

Simon showed us around and there was some really interesting stuff going on, particularly with electric vehicles. Somehow though I stayed restrained and concentrated on getting all the info I could regarding the Mazda SDV build. Otherwise, I’d probably still be there now.

The first point to clear up was the FW bodywork. Quite early on I decided I wanted the FW front, and recently I thought I might as well get the FW rear too. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the rear lights on the FW. In the end, this decision was made for me. In order to fit the FW rear end onto the Mazda SDV, a custom fuel tank will be required. This is because the Mazda diff encroaches into the area where the fuel tank is for the FW models, whereas for standard models it’s right at the back behind the diff. I didn’t fancy getting a custom tank made so that was ruled out. Ironically, the FW rear lights look much better in the flesh! It also seemed the boot box made the standard rear end look a lot better, so not being able to get the FW one isn’t something I’m regretting. Can’t complain there!

This photo shows what I mean. The standard ‘boot’ is also a lot more practical than the FW effort, which is really a small gap that only gets smaller the deeper it gets. Incidentally, the above model was for sale in the showroom at 13.5k. A real tidy motor!

The second issue we sorted was more by accident. I asked if they’d had any experience of fitting child seats as my son will more than likely want a ride when (if) it’s all finished. We came to the conclusion that only a booster seat will fit really, and the standard seats will push the harnesses too far out to fit a small child. Conveniently then, I’ll be needing the sports turbo seats which have the harnesses coming through the seats rather than around.

The final issue we covered was the build sequence. Because I don’t have masses of space (single garage plus storeroom/workshop) it wasn’t practical to have the body arrive with the starter kit. Simon therefore advised to opt for the Introduction Kit with a few select items from the Completion Kit instead. Delivery 1 will therefore consist of the Introduction Kit plus:

  • Powder coat chassis
  • Powder coat suspension
  • External panels
  • Rivnuts
  • Ball joint kit
  • Steering rack
  • Steering rack mountings
  • Track rod ends
  • Shocks/Springs
  • Fuel lines

Basically, everything I need to make a rolling chassis and get it onto the ground. I need to check that engine/gearbox mounts will be included but as I’ll probably fit that at the end of the first stage, it’s not so important. Total cost there will be £3,578.81 at current rates which is about the same as the starter kit, but more suited for my needs.

The additions to the completion kit will be:

  • FW front end
  • Sport turbo seats
  • 4 point harnesses
  • Catalytic converter (using a 1996 donor so required)
  • Body work removed from starter kit

That will all come to £6,200.70 so my initial 10 grand budget is looking a little stretched but not blown yet. Let’s pretend the £450 IVA fee doesn’t exist!

So, once it’s all done and dusted, the finished article should look a bit like this:

Both Simon and my brother felt it would look better with a black tub, but for some reason I prefer it body colour. Hopefully I’ll see plenty of colour variations at Stoneleigh!

To wrap it up, I’ve come away from the factory with the Mazda SDV and standard build manual. I also had an MX5 manual delivered this morning so the next few weeks will be spent planning the project. I don’t yet know when I’ll be ordering the starter kit. It’ll either be July or October. July if the mx5 fails its MOT, or October because that’s when the last of the decent weather will be truly used up.

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