Good Oil: Mazda breathes new life into first gen MX 5
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Move over Ferrari and Jaguar, now there's a budget-minded sportscar manufacturer with its own official restoration programme.
If your beloved Mazda MX-5 is looking a little bit worse for wear these days, never fear ... well, until the bill comes, anyway.
Mazda has announced its own specialty restoration service for first-generation (and still utterly brilliant) MX-5 roadsters.
The cult classic "NA" model MX-5 is suddenly 28 years old and, as per the normal course of things, pristine examples cruising the streets are getting rarer. But Mazda -- never a car company to shy away from celebrating its esteemed past -- is helping to revitalise first-gen MX-5s with an in-house restoration programme that even has buy-in from several component suppliers for the 1989-era MX.
These include original tyre supplier Bridgestone, and Nardi, who will supply previously discontinued new-old-stock steering wheels and gear knobs.
Well there are two; the first one being that you'll have to ship your precious MX to Japan to have the ground-up re-fettle completed.
But aside from freight fees, with around 23,000 first-gen MX-5s (or Eunos, as the first one was known in its domestic market) still on the road in Japan, there will probably be a waiting list stretching out to months, if not years.
The other catch will be the price.
This is no quick once-over with some upholstery revitaliser and a visit by a man in a "We Fix Your Alloys!" van.
While the refurb service fee has been politely sidestepped in all the media we've seen, it will probably exceed the value of the average MX.
But still, imagine your Mazda MX-5 Mk 1 sparkling in the sun on that weekend run to the Coromandel.
You don't need Italian supercars to turn heads.
Ferrari says "si" to an SUV
Up until this month, the premium manufacturer's official stance on the question of a Ferrari SUV was to physically scoff, flick its hand under its chin and mutter something unintelligible and Italian (but no doubt uncomplimentary), before spitting on the ground and stalking away after a theatrical heel-turn.
Now though, Marchionne admits a Ferrari-badged SUV "will probably happen". Although he quickly followed this with, "but it will happen in Ferrari style".
What that means is anyone's guess. But though any SUV development will take place in secret, the carmaker boss was open and honest about his reasons for the change of heart: dollari.
"That space is too big and too inviting and we have a lot of our customers who will be more than willing to drive a Ferrari-branded vehicle that has that kind of utilitarian objective," Marchionne explained to media during a press conference announcing Ferrari's second-quarter results last week.
As with other luxury and performance carmakers such as Bentley, Maserati, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce, the lure of expanding the customer base looks too enticing an opportunity to pass up. Marchionne has stated he wants to double Ferrari's global profits by 2022 and that the company's Maranello manufacturing centre could feasibly double its capacity. It's likely SUVs will be key to achieving these goals.
The admission that an SUV could be on the cards did come with an amusing -- and Marchionne-style -- caveat. He told journalists to "shoot me first" if Ferrari simply created a straightforward rival for the Bentley Bentayga or Porsche Cayenne, suggesting the Italian carmaker's idea of exactly what constitutes an SUV might not be what we're all thinking.
Ferrari has already dabbled with a 4x4 car; the annoyingly monikered GTC4LUSSO T, which combined all-wheel drive with a V8-powered, grand tourer coupe body style. Whatever a Ferrari SUV might look like, we'd suggest its go-anywhere abilities will play second-fiddle to a combination of good looks and impressive top speed.
Crack open the Bolly; it's an electric off roader
Created by a New Yorker called Robert Bollinger, the Bollinger B1 looks like it might have started life as a Land Rover Defender 90, but with any design aesthetic pared down to the bare minimum.
Having made his money in organic beauty products, Bollinger says he has long-harboured a dream to build a vehicle. With the funds to employ a small team of engineers, he and his cohorts set about creating something that filled the remit of being sustainable and capable all at once.
"Minimalist" is a word that comes to mind. But then, the Bollinger B1 could also be a worthy reminder that so much of the tech in the modern 4x4 is superfluous when you just want to go up a hill in a straight line.
Inside the B1, you'll find two front seats, a steering wheel, an integrated tool box, sliding windows and rear seats that can be removed if required. Um ... that's about it really. Oh, the front grille also folds open, allowing for storage where the engine would be. Bollinger states the B1's battery-driven twin-motor set-up will generate about 260kW and a shade under 640Nm of torque. Bollinger wants to sell the B1 4x4 for US$60,000 ($81,580). Or for an extra $10,800 the manufacturer will fit a bigger battery, giving the off-roader a 320km range.