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Mazda MX-5 launch almost a wash-out

All right on the night: Mazda's new MX-5 made its debut on schedule, despite a near-wash-out due to a fire-system.

Fire system dumps 200,000 litres of water on new Mazda MX-5 in pre-launch mishap

Mazda logo4 Sep 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

MAZDA'S new MX-5 was baptised in no uncertain terms ahead of the global launch in Monterey, California, when more than 200,000 litres of water were accidentally dumped on the hand-built show car in just three minutes.

The deluge happened last Thursday when workers setting up for the media event accidentally triggered a military-grade fire-fighting system at an old US Army helicopter hangar as it was being converted into an indoor stage.

The system was designed to flood the hangar with water to put out any fires and protect multi-million-dollar flying machines from substantial damage.

A US Mazda executive told GoAuto that the system was somehow set off during works to convert the disused hangar at an old Army airfield near Monterey, cascading water on to the newly-built stage holding the all-new Mazda MX-5 – with the roof open.

He said the system was shut off in just three minutes, but such was the power of the sprinklers that an estimated 55,000 gallons (208,000 litres) entered the hanger.

“Luckily, we didn't have any of the electronic equipment installed at that stage,” he said.

That equipment was to include amps and electric musical instruments for British band Duran Duran – the star attraction at the event beamed around the world.

As accident happened last Thursday, workers had several days to mop up, although water was still evident behind the scenes at today's media unveiling.

However, in the best showbiz traditions, the show went on without a hitch, with the new Mazda sportscar making its grand entrance without any sloshing or squelching.

The Monterey event was one of three MX-5 reveals held simultaneously around the world. The others were in Tokyo and Barcelona.

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