Check out this single-seater Mazda MX-5 restomod | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear

Check out this single-seater Mazda MX-5 restomod

Original Mazda MX-5 becomes lightweight, single-seater barchetta with Mk4 power

Published: 21 Sep 2022

Ever feel a touch... old? You see, apparently the Mk1 Mazda MX-5 is ancient enough to be restomodded. Not just modded, oh no: this is a classic car now, with three decades of driving under its belt, so modification must now go hand in hand with restoration.

But rather than do the more rudimentary ‘fix up, change powertrain, add a few fancy bits and put it on sale’ thing, Roman outfit Gorgona Cars has... well, you hardly need us to explain. It’s a Mazda MX-5 barchetta. Gorgona calls it the Concept NM, for ‘Naked Monoposto’.

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As befits a barchetta, there’s no roof, no real windscreen to speak of, and no fripperies or excess weight. That’d be the ‘Naked’ part sorted. There is, however, an aerodynamic headrest fairing, half-height doors (much like the old Maserati Barchetta) and a duck-tail spoiler. And a hard tonneau cover that transforms it into a single-seater. There’s the ‘Monoposto’ bit covered.

So the NM is lighter, stronger and far less accommodating for passengers. But as a single-seater, surely that means it has a new intensity of focus?

Well, possibly. That front splitter suggests so, as do the track-spec tyres, Enkei wheels and the fact that Gorgona says the Monoposto is twice as rigid as the MX-5 it’s based on. Despite weighing less than 900kg, ready to race.

But what does 180bhp say about things, especially when it comes courtesy of the 2.0-litre engine from the modern fourth-gen MX-5?

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Well, if you’re at all familiar with track days, you’ll know that MX-5s are fun out of the box, solid performers with a few parts and quite often giant-killers when stripped out, tuned up and driven well. So while standard power isn’t going to set the straights on fire, nor will the optional 225bhp tune, so it’ll put a smile on your face either way.

The asking price is €70,000 (about £61k, not including the donor car), which makes you wonder where the limit is for a car that ditches the driver’s only companion. Worth it for the full barchetta spec, do you reckon?

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