This is how it all started Last Update: May 4, 2009 11:01 PM

I have always enjoyed motorized vehicles, whether it be a powerwheels jeep at age 5, a go-kart at 8, fourwheelers at 10 or a car at 15 years of age. By age 20 (not that long ago...), I decide it was time to get a "play" car so the search was on for a suitable car for my needs. Through Wreck Racing, a automotive club at Georgia Tech, I had met many people with Miata's and BMW E30's so those were the two biggest contenders to start off. My plan was to have a car that was lightweight, affordable and dependable enough to be a daily driver. I went for the Miata because I felt it would be more reliable than the older BMW (this was before I decided to replace the entire drivetrain with a 2002 one...haha). Also, Miata's are well known in the auto-x and club racing scenes so that was another plus.

I was planning on spending about $4000 on a nice Miata with hardtop and nice performance mods (roll-bar, suspension, race seats, etc) but after learning about Flyin' Miata's, I just couldn't resist the temptation of all that extra power. So i ended up spending $7650 for the Miata seen. The previous owner(s) weren't exactly the most detailed-oriented people and thus many small things were either missing or not working in top order and the biggest issue was the paint was litterly falling off the car (Tip: never buy a car with flaking paint). I'm am kinda OCD so I had to go about fixing all the little things that bugged me. Read on to learn more about the car as I bought it and what I did before the LS1 Swap.

So the first thing I did was spend my spring break fixing up the car. I did a assortment of things, everything from fixing underdash wiring, to removing the disfuntional alarm system, install a horn, replace the soft-top window, replace coolant lines, change all the fluids, replace all the rotors and pads with high performance ones (the car already has the larger 1.8l Miata brakes which are bigger than the 1.6L brakes that came on the 1990-93 Miatae), and install the wonderful Ohlins PCV coilovers. I knew I couldn't fix everything but I wanted to make the car more reliable and add a little performance touches here and there. I also replaced the 4-point Hard Dog roll bar with a custom 6-point roll bar from Hard Dog (mine is 1.75x.120 inch tube to meet SCCA Solo 1 regs). I also installed a MOMO Start race seat with a G-Force 6-point Cam-lock harness. I was able to use the stock miata sliders becuse the MOMO seat bolt holes are the same width as the Miata seat bolt holes.

My car already had a full Racing Beat body kit (bumpers, skirts, wing) which I find to be tasteful and the only downside is its fiberglass which cracks when hit. I didn't really like the wing so I replaced it with the factory miata r-package trunk lip spoiler (not pictured on this page) which is hard find these days since they no longer make them.

The old engine bay was quite clustered and messy. That is no longer true of the new one.

Here is a picture of the Ohlins PCV Coilovers on the rear. Don't worry, the wood blocks aren't holding the car up (see edge of jack stand in lower left). They are supporting the differental since I had the PPF off at the moment.

I put new rotors and PBR Metal Masters pads on all four corners. I used high temp paint to keep the rotors rust free.

Here's the old gauge cluster with the boost and EGT (exhaust gas temp) gauges on the a-pillar pod. I reused the instrument cluster with the exception of the speedo. The miata speedo is cable driven whereas the T-56 has a digital speedo output so I installed an aftermark digital speedo in place of the factory one (see The LS1 Swap for details).

Although, the car is a 1991 it has a complete 1995 M-edtion make-over. This includes the Merlot Mica paint an the tan leather interior. I got rid of the pretty (slippery) leather seats and put so race seat in. I also fixed all that wiring under the dash (see it hanging down...).

Here is the MOMO Start race seat, G-Force 6-point harness and custom Hard Dog 6-point roll bar.

Since the dash was out of a wrecked car, the passenger airbag cover was destroyed when the airbag deployed. The previous owner did a not-so-perfect fix of recovering the panel and putting it in place. I fixed that and put a new factory cover on (but left the airbag out to save weight). No need to have airbags with 6-point harnesses and race seats. Some (like me) say airbags are a bad idea if you wear a helmet as it tends to twist your head in the event of a crash. Below is the new cover. The dash is covered in dust but just ignore that, its normally very clean.

Here is my Miata at the 2007 Georgia Tech AutoShow. I hope to have my LS1 swap completed in time for the 2008 Show on March 29th, 2008.

Here are several more pictures of the car as it was before I did the LS1 swap:

The picture below has my roomate Jimmy in the driver seat. For reference, he is 6'2".

Here is my 2003 MINI Cooper S. Its my normal daily driver but I am starting to favor my Miata more and more, especially once I get the LS1 in...