Is it just me, or are MGFs starting to look rather tempting and, dare I say it, 'classic'? The reason for this revelation is that someone down the road from me has just bought a completely standard, very early F – not a common thing, with most having been adorned with all manner of aftermarket aberrations.
I walk past this little flat-red 1.8i every morning on my way to the park, so it has more than once been the subject of my dog-walking ruminations. I've always liked MX-5s, and often thought that one might be my next cheap runaround, but this F has got me thinking... could I? Would I?
Yes, I know the K-series motor is a little, er, 'sensitive', but I'm reliably informed that its head-gasket woes can now be cured, and I realise it is a bit girly – but arguably no more so than the Mazda. And there are plenty of pluses: the Gerry McGovern-penned shape still looks really fresh (to my eyes much better than the sharper-edged TF that replaced it), it's practical, characterful and insanely cheap.
We're talking here about a sweet-riding, excellent-handling and pretty sophisticated 120mph-odd sports car that can be picked up in fair nick for well under a grand. Don't believe me? Just have a look at the online classifieds.
I can even talk from some experience here because, a few years ago when I worked for C&SC's sister title Autocar, I ran a new TF 160 Trophy as a long-term test car for a few months. Apart from the bizarre driving position, awful cabin quality and hard ride (not applicable on earlier Hydragas cars, of course) it was a genuinely sweet thing, with a flexible engine and great poise. My then girlfriend (now wife) absolutely loved it.
Actually, perhaps that's the answer: buy my wife an MGF, safe in the knowledge that I can swipe it whenever I want because she's usually in her Mum-taxi – and then I can get around any 'hairdresser' jibes with a simple response: "It's my wife's car, I'm just borrowing it." And grinning all the way...