Now that Mazda is remaking parts for the original MX-5 and offering owners a chance to have their Mk1 cars restored to factory specification – albeit at a price - it got us wondering which cars deserve a factory restoration scheme.
Such restoration schemes has long been the preserve of high-end supercars, with Porsche’s Factory Restoration, Ferrari’s Classiche, and Lamborghini’s Polo Storico schemes offering well-heeled customers the chance to get their classics looking as fresh as the day they rolled out of the respective plants, with the all-important factory seal of approval that boosts resale values.
Nissan has also recognised the importance of keeping classic owners onside and launched similar schemes to save 240Zs and Skyline GTRs. Jaguar’s ‘E-Type Reborn’ program has, in turn, mirrored a scheme for Land Rover Series 1 and Range Rover Classic models.
Mazda’s move is interesting because the MX-5 sold in such huge numbers, and there’s a general belief that there is no shortage of Mk1s – or NA models - still running about. The NA cars may not be quite as ubiquitous as we like to think though. The company states that about 120,000 units were sold in Japan, and only about 23,000 remain.
Aussie car buyers have, to date, been overlooked and there are a number of domestic cars that we can think of that are on the cusp of becoming rare and need all the help they can get to stay on the road. We’d love to see Ford start a scheme to bring TE/TS50 AU Falcons back to factory specification, and Holden’s VL Turbo and CV8 Monaro also seem like cars that would benefit from being given some manufacturer love.
It’s look like an ideal business opportunity for both Ford and Holden. The skills to restore these vehicles are available, it doesn’t require huge capital investment, it would help restore an element of lost goodwill, and it would keep some of the most-loved Aussie modern classics on our roads. What’s not to like?
The only fly in the ointment is whether these cars will ever be worth enough to justify the cost of manufacturer input. It’s clearly easier to wear that cost if you’re bringing a Lamborghini Miura back to perfection, but a VL Turbo? Perhaps Ford and Holden need to keep a watching brief on Mazda’s Japanese case study with the NA MX-5.
What price would you put on saving something from extinction?