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The colder Adam
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2,195 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, inspired by brontosaurus' build thread and chatting with him, I decided to do one of these for myself. The photography is not going to be great and going through my photos, I really only have exterior shots, which is ok since my only interior mods for the most part are a Moddiction knob, a Corbeau Forza and some RSpeed vent rings. Maybe some shots later when it get's warm enough out to get the car out of the garage.

So, on with the Denim Demon:

I bough the car in Spring of 2009 with 99k on the clock from a friend of mine who owned it since new. It's a late '91 with a big nose crank on it. PS and (dead) A/C. It also had the VLSD which becomes a nice thing to have down the line... I also have the original window sticker I'll dig up later.

As for the car:

I had always wanted one of these cars since the dad of friend of mine let me drive his when I was 16 (was 27 when I got the car). I met my friend who sold me the car about 5 years before that and when I learned he had a Miata and how he cared for his cars I said "I want that car when you sell it." He said he would give me first right of refusal. Well, 5 years later he made good and I bought it off him. I got it for a ridiculous price when he went in for a new Pontiac Solstice. Let's just say he gave it to me for the dealer trade in value he was offered :mrgreen:. Always dealer serviced (with records!), stored in a heated garage almost every winter (something I hope to give back to it one day), and babied. Mostly a nice weather DD and occasional cruiser. It has been lovingly cared for by me, but it would slowly become fairly serious autocrosser.

So, here is the beast shortly after I bought it:



This car had a bra on its whole life. I was scared to see underneath, but it was not bad at all. I bit of polishing and all the scuffs went away.


Ballin' interior. Cracked tombstone with a radio laying loose in it. The radio was stolen by a cleaning person at the PO's workplace. They caught him and my friend (the PO) agreed not to press charges if the guy gave him the radio back. He is a pretty forgiving fellow.


So, the first things I did were the typical newly purchased Miata stuff: Plugs, wires, shift boots, and full syn fluids all around. The TB was less than 20K old so I am waiting on that for a bit.

The other thing I did was pull the bra off and polish the crap out of the car. Pretty amazing how single stage comes back to life.





I will add that at the time, I lived in a fairly dumpy area with terrible street parking. I found car-less bicycle friend with a garage and arranged to rent the space from her until I could find a new place to rent with a garage. I was planning to move in with my girlfriend/eventual wife, so I knew it would be temporary.

So, with a tuned and shined up car, I set my sites on my first autocross! I then promptly shattered my right wrist stage diving during an Off With Their Heads show and went through a month of not being able to drive at all and then only being able to drive poorly for many months as I went through physical therapy! Fun!

So, I know I am not going to be telling tales of how I became hellaflush, super retro, or anything super thrilling, but hopefully, this is interesting to someone. If not, I am just excited to put this all in one place for my own sake. :icon_cheers:

Up next: My first autocross and the start down the path of addiction....
 

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The colder Adam
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2,195 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Next step in the car's life was moving to a duplex with my lady and having space to wotk onthe car for real. Living in an appartment means nowhere to work. Living in Minneapolis, I would have to arrange a time to go way out to the burbs to work on the car at my dad's house. So, once I had some space to work in my newly aquired 2 car garage, I was close to set. Aside from the whole destroyed wrist thing.

Pro Tip: If you move while you have a broken wrist, your friends will feel sorry for you and help you move and you will have to do nothing. Well worth it!

So, after my wrist healed and therapy was completed (I was very lucky to have an awsome surgeon who also happened to be the orthopedic surgeon for the Minnesota Twins) I had time to register for my first autocross, which was also one of the last of the season. Unfortunately, it was in October and in Minnesota so my first autocorss featured 30 degree temps and ice on some parts of the course. I spend as much time as I could in the car with the heat on as possibile, but let me tell you: Shagging cones in those temps SUUUUUUUUUUUCKS.

The fury of a bone stock 1.6 on all seasons:





Despite being a noob and it being freezing, I had a blast. I met a few CR folks (who don't post here that often: Scuba Steve and Rushin) and was hooked.

The autocross was on a Sunday and the next day, I put the car in storage for the winter and 2 days later I left for Vienna, Austria to hang out with my buddy and a bunch of Austrian punks.

So, with the car put away, me drinking and moshing my way across Austria, the plans for the rest of the car were starting to form....
 

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The colder Adam
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2,195 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
After I got back from Austria and a few bit more healing, I was ready to start with the mods. I did some reading and talking to folks and decided that I wanted to do a moderate prep for STS class autocross since it fit with my immediate goals very well:

Suspension, wheels/tires, exhaust, roll bar and a Garage Vary lip.

At the time I was hoping to eventually go turbo and all of those mods and the mods I'd make would help get my base handling down for when I was going to go turbo. STS would allow for that and let me do a few cosmetic mods under the rules so it seemed like a good fit.

So, through some wheeling and dealing via the classifieds on Miata.net, I ended up getting some re-valved R-package Bilsteins (done by Bilestein. Never had dyno sheets, but they worked quite nicely.) and a set of FM rear mounts. I bought some FCM 36mm bumpstops as well.



To address the front I built a set of custom NB mounts via this thread: DIY NB Mounts on NA... in about an hour


I also picked up a Racing Beat hollow FSB with blocks:



and 949 endlinks for the front and rear:



I left the rear sway on for the moment to see how it goes. I was using the FCM spread sheet to set the handling up at 58.8%. It should have been just a hair pushier than stock, which at the time I felt would be good.

Cosmetically I did the following:

Painted the valve cover (Please ignore the filthy underhood. It is pretty spotless now, but that was before I could clean it up):



I used a dremel to grind the paint out of the letters so it was readable.

I also got a roll of 3M "carbon fiber" vinyl and did the following:

Here is my gauge surround. It looks pretty good here and did in the car. However, come spring, the first hot day, it started peeling so I went back to stock






And I also did my door sill to protect from scuffs. This is still on and has held up very well. I like how it looks and it being fake doesn't bother me, since you rarely see it.





I also put in a spun Voodoo knob you can see in the last pic. I would learn to regret it, since I ended up hating it when I was able to drive the car a few months later.
 

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634 Posts
Another build thread of a familiar looking car. I like! It must be the winter bringing out the MN miata owner's.
 

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The colder Adam
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2,195 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
You may be the only dude to ever make a jean jacket look good.
Haha. Thanks, much appreciated :cool:

You cannot update this thread too often. Looking forward to the next episode!
Thanks man. Coming from someone who really "does it right" with his cars, that means something. At some point, a few familiar parts may be showing up...

Another build thread of a familiar looking car. I like! It must be the winter bringing out the MN miata owner's.
Yeah, getting antsy and need to start thinking about the car again. I should be tearing back into in a week or two though for some spring projects.


So, up next was wheels and tires. I needed some 15x7.5" wheels for STS so I had three options:

TR Motorsports C1s, 6ULs, or Rota Slipstreams.

I went with the C1s for budget reasons partially, but also the 6ULs were not available at the time and I liked the looks better than the Rotas. I went with 205 Star Specs mostly on a guess and some good reviews. In hind sight, I should have checked with the other STS folks and online, as I showed up and everyone else was on Toyo R1Rs. Oh well. I was still learning and these would be good enough for the time being. Tires wouldn't be what was holding me back from the trophies.

Once it was warm enough that they wouldn't freeze being left on the car, I fit them:







I also snagged a used Tsudo N1 exhaust of of the CR classifieds:



I grabbed a Corbeau Forza seat as well. So, as it started to warm up and I was able to not suffer too badly in the garage, I put it all together and pulled it out like this is the spring:


The wheels actually looked better on the car than I though they would. No crazy offsets or anything, but totally functional within the limits of the STS rules and decently light at a hair over 13 lbs. So, 15x7.5" +42 with 205s got me a bit more filled out fenders and some performance. These were the first real performance tires I'd have ever owned so I was excited to test them out.



I don't have any good shots, but I also polished all of my lenses (side markers, turn signals, tails and brake light) right before the car came out of storage. If anyone is bored or looking for a cheap project that makes a huge difference visually, do this. $15 worth of supplies and a couple hours of work and it makes a world of differnce in person.

There was also some shorty black billet antenna I installed as well to get rid of the OEM flag pole. Looks great if you can see it in the last pic. Radio reception wasn't great anymore, but I didn't really care, since I was mostly just hooking my phone into the stereo at that point. Somewhat blasphemous though, as I was working as the rogram director at a public radio station and also hosted a punk rock radio show on a volunteer basis on a public different station at the time.

A couple more mods and I'd have the first autocross of the season....
 

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[insert my paranoia here]
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537 Posts
You literally took the same exact approach I did with my Miata. Bought it bone stock with 94K miles, threw a Sparco seat in which put me in STS. Bought the 15x7.5 C1's and Koni Sports. STS is a very fun class because it's relatively limited on what you can do with your car, cheap to get your car fully modified.

Good luck in STS!
 

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The colder Adam
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2,195 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Yeah, I love STS. My car is coming together pretty nicely to be competitive (remember: this thread is in the past. Set up is fairly different right now). There is a large group of STS cars here locally and a few really fast guys. We usually have 6-10 people in the class each event which is pretty good for a club our size. I like being able to have a competitive car and not having to dump tons of money into it for upgrades or for running costs.
 

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The colder Adam
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2,195 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
At some point, I ordered a Hard Dog Sport Double Diagonal bar. I did this so that I could get the car on the local track and because I like how it looks and de-wussifies the Miata. Also, my lovely girlfriend/future wife, based on advice from my brother, got me a real Garage Vary lip from RSpeed for my birthday. I also picked up some red Spec Miata tow hooks from Rennenmetal for cool guy/"trackstyle"/ricer points.

NOW we were talking. I got the ride heights dialed (12" hub to fender in the front, 12.5" in the rear. Functional but still looking good IMO) and an aggressive alignment. The car now was looking how I wanted it and set up for autocross (more or less).

By the time the first autocross, the car was looking like this:





By this time, I had also learned that I hated the Voodoo knob and went back to stock. I know some people love them, but it just never felt right in my hand. I also feel like it made the shifting feel less smooth.

Next Episode: The first autocross with a psuedo-STS set up.
 
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