Esteemed Veteran Member
So, this is not my first Miata. And not the second, or third, or fourth… It’s my seventh. But, it’s the first one that was slated to be a fun street car. All the others are either competition cars that had to follow a rulebook, beaters that were either parted out or tracked, or kept stock and driven then sold. So, all those fun parts I’ve bought since 2004 and haven’t used are going to find a home on this car.
The theme I’m trying to keep is OEM-Plus. I don’t plan on any radical modifications. No huge body modifications, no turbos, no stripped race like interiors. This is not a JDM build. I’m not a fanboi and will not stick EUNOS badging on just for the sake of being JDM. I want to keep its identity as a Miata while mixing and matching the best of the OEM parts and a few subtle, well built aftermarket parts. Also, I’m not a fashion horse. Name brands for the most part don’t impress me, and I don’t care about them on the car. While there ARE name-brand aftermarket parts on the car, the parts will mostly be chosen because of their quality, utility, aesthetics and sometimes because they were first to market – not strictly because of the label. Another thing I’d like to do is keep the visible parts period appropriate – from ’89 to ’99.
I really started this build on a fair ’91 that I bought a few years ago. This car came from a charity car auction that I attend. It was a Crystal White ’91 with an early hardtop and a Hard Dog Sport rollbar. I won the bidding and took it home for just over $600 including title, registration and taxes.
The white paint was in poor shape and the vinyl stripes had petrified and cracked. The interior was sunbaked, though the aftermarket grey softtop was almost brand new. I started collecting parts for it, including a good white fender, new white mirrors, all the rubber hoses, the hardtop edge and window rubber trim, gauge cowl, radio surround, Murakami M2-1028 trunk lid etc… Then the economy took a dump and when NASA had to make cutbacks, I lost my job at Boeing. I offered the white car and the parts I bought specifically for it up for sale and it left within a month to live a life as a never-street-driven track rat at Motorsports Ranch Houston.
After relocating to Dallas and getting my financial life together, I wanted to finish what I started. This time instead of using whatever car I happened across, like the white car, I was going to find the “right” car – which for me was a ’92 Black and Tan or a NA6 in British Racing Green. I watched the local (Dallas, Austin, Houston) Craigslist posts and even set up an RSS feed for different searches. Eventually a fairly nice ’92 SE showed up for $3000 including a lot of extras and the original hardtop. The hardtop was important, as I’m not really a convertible guy and would rather a coupe. During inspection I noted that the car had sat for a LONG time. And it had sat under an oak tree and had a lot of paint etching and hard water deposits that the seller tried to cover up with a lot of detailing glaze. The front bumper had never seen a license plate and was dent free (good) but the softtop looked like a piece of beef jerky (bad for him). The seller and I haggled over it and I bought it for a very good price.
Here’s the only photo I have of it from that day.
The very first thing I did was get license plates. My pal and I are both pun fanatics, but most of the really good plates I wanted were already taken, or not available. Texas only allows six characters on their plates. I ended up getting “NNNN” which is a pun for “foreign”. I also ordered a custom bent right hand side Garage Star license plate bracket as I didn’t want the plate to be on the same side as the front bumper MAZDA sticker.
Plate jealousy struck my friend, and he also ordered a custom plate. He’s an antique dealer and buys the majority of his stock at estate sales. He selected this plate which reads “You Die – I Buy”. Morbid for some, but everyone we know in the antiques business finds it hilarious.
After that I immediately started looking for black interior parts, as the tan interior was the first thing to go. The dash, kick panels and seatbelt tower panels came in first from Harleybutter on MiataTurbo. Then the main carpet came from a track car build out of Houston. A nice pair of NA6 cloth seats came from a Craigslist ad out of Waco and a couple pair of decent floor mats came in (one for using, the other for showing) from wanted ads. I eventually got the rear carpets from PartsGroup. I bought a pair of one-year-only ’96 black electric-window door panels from Second Chance Roadster.
Oops, got two right side kick panels! Harleybutter took care of it like a pro.
Then I bought another rent house in Houston and was gone for a few months while I remodeled it. I got back to Dallas in January and started on the interior swap.
I got a good deal on a few rolls of Raammat, ensolite padding and spray glue over the holidays. Here’s the tub with about a half roll of deadener in it. The ensolite went in over the deadner, then the original pads went in last.
While the main carpet was in fair condition, it was filthy. I took it down to the car wash and powerwashed it and let it dry for a week before it went in the car. I swear some previous owner must have spilled at least two dozen coffees in the passenger footwell. The powerwasher water ran brown for 30 minutes.
I accidentally ordered the bulkhead carpet from a ’95 and it was moulded to go around the ECU that was behind the seats. I picked up another carpet out of a ’90 my girlfriend bought to make a track rat out of. But, that carpet was filthy, full of cat hair, and was fuzzy. The filth and cat hair came out with a powerwash. I took a heatgun on low setting to the carpet to “erase” all the fuzz sticking up out of the carpet. When I was done it looked nearly new.