the mk2 MX5 is good buy and yes the imports can be worhtwhile as you tend to get more kit for your money and most have the limited slip diff
To look for:
Seems to be a clutch judder problem with 2003 model year MX5s apparently caused by a change in the way the transmission is mounted. Means drivers cannot drag the clutch. Have to use it quite sharply.
Steel core plugs in block may corrode and weep coolant.
Production of this model MX5 ended in May 2005.
Uncertificated Eunos Roadsters imported by traders after May 1998 could not legally be registered, so any Eunos Roadster might be a 'clone'.
MX5s are sports cars, so could have been thrashed.
Fashion accessory MX5s may not have been serviced properly.
SVA 'kits' available to get imports through SVA, but non-SVA Japanese parts may then have been put back.
Check speed ratings on tyres (Japan has a 55 mph limit.)
Make sure the hood catches work properly as these cost £187 at trade price to replace, plus fitting.
Check rear wheelarches and wings very carefully for rust.
How to reprogramme a Mazda Remote:
www.mazdas247.com/forum/showthread.php?t=121650&highlight=transmitter Then scroll down to 2005 posting by Solid Snake.
Rust in sills and rear arches becoming a problem on the Mk II MX-5 as well as the Mk I.
Limited slip diffs appear to be breaking up. See MX5 Forum Thread. Seems to be a good ideat to drain them and remove any bits that have broken off and are being churned around in the oil. A new diff is £2,000+.
Facelift from Spring 2001 acquired a deformable front crossmember, laminated in a manner that has caused it to become a rust trap that can suffer dangerous structural corrosion. This needs carefully checking before buying because replacement is a difficult and expensive job.
7-12-2000: 135 Jasper Conran Limited Edition MX5s recalled because driver's floormat my interfer with throttle pedal causing throttle to stick open. Mat to be replaced with modified mat. 1
2-12-2003: on 29,555 Mazdas (JMZN...100017 to 314982) repeated thermal expansion and contraction may cause front foglight socket holder to become detached from foglight case and bulb to come into contact with car body or fittings. Spring to be fitted to rear of fog lights to prevent this from happening.