Keep On Rollin Baby

It’s time to fit a half roll bar (with harness bar) to my MX5, because when I’m hooning about on the road and the track I don’t want my head to get squished. So after doing some research and asking around I contacted TR Lane Performance Ltd who are MX5 specialists and leaders in the design and production of bespoke, handmade roll bars and cages. They make roll bars, door bars, harness bars… they also modify and repair MX5s so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing.

First and foremost this is a safety feature – it’s a structural roll bar not just cosmetic, secondly it looks damn good! The MK1 MX5 is a small car and so I’m keen to add a bit more oomph aesthetically. As well as a body kit and wider wheels, the roll bar will really add to it’s burly stance. Eventually the car will also be wrapped in grey, so I opted for a red roll bar to contrast and compliment this new look. Well that’s the plan anyway and in my head it looks great!

When it comes to fitting something like this it isn’t just a case of sticking in the roll bar and bish bash bosh you’re done, we had to strip out quite a bit and cut away some metal – so you need to allow at least a day to get it all fitted. Generally it’s easy enough to work everything out but it’s helpful to read TR Lane’s instructions on their website beforehand to give you a good idea of the work involved and the best way to plan and prepare. Saves time and curbs some of the swearing.

So out came the original brace (which won’t be needed anymore), the cowling around the seat belt towers, the carpet on the parcel shelf and the metal tray itself. We also removed the splash trays in front of the rear wheels and the wiring harness had to be unclipped and moved out-of-the-way so it didn’t get damaged. We then cut approx 4″ sections out of the angle brackets to create clearance for the roll bar. It’s a good idea to wrap the roll bar up before you fit it to avoid scratching the powder coat. Once the bar was in we bolted that baby down good ‘n’ proper – leaving it wrapped up. Then it was time for some more cutting; the parcel shelf tray needed to be modified to fit back in around the roll bar so I measured and marked it, then cut the offending sections out and filed down the fresh cuts to avoid scratching anything or injuring myself. Both of which are quite likely when I’m working on a car. Or anything for that matter.

After all that it was time to unwrap the bar, refit the carpet and seatbelt housing, stand back and admire the awesomeness. I think it looks epic and whilst there’s still a ton to do, this is one of those modifications that blends form and function perfectly. Not only does this roll bar make a huge difference to the look of the car, it also adds an important safety element. Plus it’ll stiffen up that little pocket rocket when I’m throwing it around corners, improving handling and giving me an even bigger smile on my face. All in all this was a damn good day and a very worthwhile addition to the build.

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