Saturday, 11 February 2017

Why are there so many MX5 convertibles in Edinburgh?

I don't know whether there really are more MX5s in Edinburgh, but that was my impression from being there for a couple of days last October. You'd see two or three an hour, rather than one every few hours where I live (Essex).

Picture from Gumtree showing an MX5 Mk1 in front of the Forth Bridge, of little relevance to this post.

As others have pointed out, Great Britain is pretty much the optimum latitude for open-topped cars. If the sun is blasting down all the time, it gets uncomfortably hot and what you need is a roof and air-con; if it is below 10 deg C most of the time, it is too cold and you need a roof and heating. For open-topped driving, what you really need is daylight and a moderate temperature. And we have to make the most of what little sunshine we get.

The only explanation I can think of for the prevalence of MX5s in Edinburgh v Essex is the much longer evenings in summer. Assuming everybody gets home from work around six o'clock and likes to go for blast in the evening, for six months of the year, you get no daylight whether you are in Edinburgh or in Essex. Whether it got dark at three o'clock or at four o'clock is neither here nor there.

But during the summer, in Edinburgh you get up to an hour more daylight than in Essex; that makes a huge difference to the number of useable hours.


Lola said...

I agree about the Brits and convertibles. Historically we have made more convertibles of all types than any other nation I can think of. This is the earlier days of automobiles when most had no roof, at all.

When I had one (and I have had two in long term only car use) I divided days into 'roof down days' and others. Most days were 'roof down days'.

Dioclese said...

I've owned one for 15 years. My previous car was an XJ6. The Mazda is a lot more fun to drive

pen seive said...

Being of an age where me and MX5' s are not usually mentioned in the same sentence, I recently had to borrow my daughter's MX5 for a trip to Dorset from our home in Surrey. Not only was I pleasantly surprised by it's performance and road holding, though the suspension is a bit firm for my aged posterior, but that it is apparently the most popular convertible in the country showing that you are a motoring enthusiast rather than a drug dealer in a BMW or a posh boy with a tiny penis in a Jag. Just as well, really, as I don't do drugs and, er, let's skip the next bit!

muzza3 said...

Does Edinburgh have more hairdressers , than Essex? Always thought of them as a hairdressers car

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, ah I see. Originally all cars were open topped, and then the Brits invented the "folding roof". The others progressed to "fixed metal roof" but we were happy with "folding".

D, I've never driven an XJ6, but everybody else says much the same.

PS, correct. It is not really a statement car, that is the beauty of it.

M3, I think that "hairdresser's car" is just a generic insult. There are more hair dressers, spray tanners, fake nailers and other assorted beauticians per capita in Essex than anywhere else. If anything, an MX5 is an oldies' car. You buy one to mark your fiftieth birthday.

Lola said...

MW. Try sitting down and listing out all the British convertible sports cars just since 1945. It's a staggering number.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, it's a very British thing, isn't it? Apart from the fact that Mazda and Toyota simply do it better. James May's theory is that an MX5 is a 'British sports car', the same as an 'English breakfast' in a Japanese hotel is still an 'English breakfast'.

Shiney said...

@M3 try going to JapFest or a track day and calling the MX5 a hairdresser's car.

One of my cycling buddies is an MX5 nutter.... mark 1 import fom Japan. Afetrmarket supercharger, 17" wheels, vented discs, slammed to the deck. Absolutely mental.

At a track day at Coombe a few years back he took me out and scared me sh*tless. He was still accelerating while all the Supras etc were braking... in fact on one lap I swear he didn't lift the whole way around.

PJH said...

" is too cold and you need a roof and hearing."

Speak up - I can't make out what you're saying... ;)

Mark Wadsworth said...

S, I don't care if people call them hairdresser's cars.

PJH, oops, I have amended.