1 day ago in Articles
Christina Lam went from the sidelines to full-on track enthusiast in 8 simple steps.
I am an active member of mx5atlanta but since this car is built in the spirit of this forum,I'd like to share the story of my 91 Miata here as well. I will also be chronicling it's transformation from a daily driven street car into a track "monster"......with 95hp (yup, that's dyno verified)
It all started with this 93 NA6 that I found on Craigslist for $900, it only had 146,000 and a salvage title. I though to myself it should be pretty cheap to fix up and get back on the street so I called the guy and had it towed to my house that weekend. I never actually saw the car till it arrived at my house that Sunday. Here it was after we got it into the garage:
I was bored and decided to play around with plastidip....
Even though I wasn't doing anything about getting it fixed, I decided to buy some wheels I found for a very good deal.
Later I decided to sell them because I found out excessive un-sprung weight = bad handling.
I went ahead and bought the hood, fenders, and bumper off of a parts car and that was all fine and dandy. Then I found how much it would cost to pull the frame straight and I also found out that I had to have receipts of the part purchases when applying for a rebuilt title, but I didn't have any because I bought them used. So I decided it would be more convenient to find a shell with a clean title and just swap everything over. So the search began and I purchased this 91 shell for $500.
Doesn't look to bad from the outside, right? Well the car sat outside with top open for over a year and that effectively had ruined everything inside the car, and created a lot more work for myself than I expected. The exterior was pretty beat up, every body panel on the car that was removable had some sort of damage and would have to be replaces. Since I had a perfectly good parts car at home, I decided it was to good of a deal to pass up so I bought it anyways.
Here's the interior after ripping all the carpets and sound proofing out (which was all soaking wet btw)
The parts car was parked outside and work began prepping the shell to receive its new heart.
Decided to paint the valve cover for no reason at all.....
And on on New Years Day the Engine and tranny went in...
Before getting the engine in, I had cleaned up and "finished" the interior as you can see the the upper left hand corner of this collage (sorry, it's from Instagram)...
In about a weeks time, I mustured up the motivation to hook everything up and get the car started, and it started first try.....yippee......I had my friend pull it out of the garage for its maiden voyage and I heard a repetitive clunking noise. I did some research and found out it was more than likely from the diff. Lucky me though......I had a donor car that had a VLSD (I know that they really aren't that great/special). So in the following week, I pulled out both diffs, and had a buddy come over to help me install the VLSD, while I was at it, I put in the lower mileage driveshaft (just in case), and I saved the axles in case I ever need them.
During all this time I also had gotten around to swapping on all of the good body panels onto the shell and it began to look pretty decent, it no longer looked like a POS that had sat outside for a year. (don't mind the stickers, I went through a phase....
So with the car mostly in order, it needed to be a solid color. I went through endless options and varieties of what I could do and in the end I decided to paint it myself at home because drift car....
And here it was fresh from paint and essentially unmodified, the only things really "custom" about it were the interior, replica lip, and the paint color.
The car probably went a couple months before being insured to be able to take it out on the road so in the meantime I did a few more things.
Stickers (I know I know)
Bought tinted turn signals (still one of my favorite things about the car)
Tow strap (artsy photo)
Painted the wheels
And entering stage 2 I decided to install lowering springs that I had laying around and I also installed spacers that I don't have any photos of. The fog lights came much later.....(I hated them btw)
Also.....fairly neglected engine bay...
I had now been driving my car for a few months and I decided to buy another engine to either build as a spare or build for power, it was $50 so I said why not. The person I bought it from said it smoked when they pulled it out and they thought it was bad rings.
I'll skip the disassembly, but the engine had spun a couple rod bearings, all of the pistons were missing chunks, the crank was gouged beyond repair, so were a few connecting rods, so I decided to just keep the head as spare and possibly build in the future. Even though none of this affected my car, I just though I would share it.
Anyways, the interior of the car had gotten a bit more "drifty"
So had the outside......smh ( again....I know I know....too many stickers.
Then Stage 3 sort of began, I decided to clean up my engine bay,which I quite like the way it turned out btw,and also installed poly bushings in the front control arms, new hubs, and new ES dust boots.
And this is one of the most recent pictures of the car before I started tearing it apart, right around the end of November.....As a matter of fact, I did like the bow (for Christmas) and those flood lights I had installed as headlights. ( I had removed the headlight assemblies and riveted the barn doors to the hood.)
That brings us to current day. In the past week or so, I've begun tearing the car down for its transformation into a track car. I began stripping out the paint in the interior, and I pulled the engine and tranny out to replace the leaky RMS and replace the clutc (I had a friend learn to drive manual on it )
Then started stripping out the interior...
I then trimmed off all of the HVAC bits of the dash wiring harness....
Ziptied it to the dash support bar....
And here is my half cut up dash...
That pretty much brings us up to current day....today I stuck the dash back in the car and I still have other interior bits to mess around with, such as wiring, Switch panel, gauges, etc. I also recently placed an order for the rear main seal, an extended clutch line, shift boot, tranny input seal and cover gasket. Soon to be ordered or bought local is a new clutch, racing seat, harness, and roll bar. Also looking for 2x Dunlop Direzza z2 205 50r15. I have two good tires and need two get two more, I'd rather not buy new because the 2 I have aren't either. I will be posting more pics soon.
Thanks! Means a lot coming from you Keith!
Very fun! Thanks for sharing with the forum.
Very cool! Reminds me of the turbo Miata we Challenged a few years back. Keep up the good work!
In reply to dyintorace: OMG! I'd seen this car before on google images and was wondering who else built an orange miata! Btw,could you give me the rundown on the turbo kit you guys did for GRM and how much the stuff cost? I'm just interested to see sorta how much that cost you guys, but I plan on doing a built 1.8 VVT swap to my car in the future when I want more power cause I want to keep it reliable at the track.
I'll get one of the other team members who knows what he is actually talking about to chime in.
In reply to dyintorace: Thanks!
In reply to thegoodlifeADI:
Hi Goodlife, I love the color!
I'm one of the original builders of the Mumpkin (orange challenge car Dyinto posted above). The car has a greddy manifold, turbo, and slightly modified downpipe. The wastegate actuator is aftermarket along with an aftermarket electronic boost controller. The intercooler plumbing is custom. The car runs a MS1 v3 board for fuel and spark control. The fuel pump is a walbro 255hp and the injectors are 550's. The filter is a corvette FPR/Filter setup. I backfed the fuel rail through the return line for a homebrew dual feed setup (stock FPR is still in place so it's probably ineffectual as it sits). It runs a JAW wideband controller. The tune is done with a base map and a autotune to home it in. The build was a massive learning experience with lots of "someone else did it, so of course we can do it" mindset. We left a LOT of horsepower on the table with a very conservative tune, lack of tuning effort, and lack of knowledge. I will link to the various build threads for the car later.
I like the two tone engine bay. I can't say I've ever seen that before but it looked really cool.
MrJoshua wrote: I'm one of the original builders of the Mumpkin (orange challenge car Dyinto posted above). The car has a greddy manifold, turbo, and slightly modified downpipe. The wastegate actuator is aftermarket along with an aftermarket electronic boost controller. The intercooler plumbing is custom. The car runs a MS1 v3 board for fuel and spark control. The fuel pump is a walbro 255hp and the injectors are 550's. The filter is a corvette FPR/Filter setup. I backfed the fuel rail through the return line for a homebrew dual feed setup (stock FPR is still in place so it's probably ineffectual as it sits). It runs a JAW wideband controller. The tune is done with a base map and a autotune to home it in. The build was a massive learning experience with lots of "someone else did it, so of course we can do it" mindset. We left a LOT of horsepower on the table with a very conservative tune, lack of tuning effort, and lack of knowledge. I will link to the various build threads for the car later.
Hmm, I guess you guys got some pretty great deals then, I don't know how much the entire car cost you guys to build, but I could never find the deals to get those parts plus suspension, wheels, tire, roll bar, etc. for $2000 or less. I'm almost $4000 into my car (including the purchase of both cars + towing) and it's more or less a nearly stock car. Kudos to you guys for the smart budgeting.
mazdeuce wrote: I like the two tone engine bay. I can't say I've ever seen that before but it looked really cool.
Thanks man! Do you mean the heat wrap on the firewall and orange in the engine bay?
Homebuilt megasquirt, used intercooler and piping, used injectors, JAW is cheap, Corvette FPR is cheap, used Steel wheels, used motorcycle coilovers in rear, Used Ledas up front, Nascar used single 12" 400lb spring cut into two for 800lb 6" front springs, bushings made from surplus bathroom stall wall material, used boost controller, used greddy kit, used race seat, cheap miata, Alice Chalmers orange paint sprayed with HF gun, sell off of surplus stuff, Used tires not in budget, cubic hours of labor/shopping, etc...
If you were to take out towing and looked at the budget for only one car you would be at a more comparable starting point. Then imagine you bought all your parts used with rabid attention to deals or fabricated them from scrap. Our crew has owned a BUNCH of Miatae and they were all reasonably budgeted builds, but the challenge build required a whole different level of obsessive budget minded thinking.
I mean this picture. It looks like a white firewall and orange everything else. It looks cool. It has me thinkng about paint themes that continue inside.
In reply to mazdeuce: Ah alright, I didn't really care for it in white, maybe that's cause I could see the orange over spray and it bothered me. I like it much better with the heat reflective tape on there. I agree it would look good if properly painted and yea it would be cool to continue the color inside the car as well.
This makes me wanna build my miata so bad...
Parts came in today!
-Genuine Mazda Rear Main Seal
-Genuine Mazda Transmission Input Front Cover Gasket + Atkins Rotary Shaft Seal
-5xracing Extended Clutch Line
-Lower Shift Boot (not sure if genuine or aftermarket, purchased through 5xracing)
Plus a couple stickers! Yippee!
Something about a orange race-car. Looks like we all had something similar.
Also pull those stickers off that car man, contingency and parts stickers are OK but the JDM stuff will just get you pulled over faster.
That's a cool looking Cobra....what chassis did you build it off of? And that's the first I've seen one without the double hoop roll bar, it looks much better that way......much more purposeful.
No fear, jumped right in it. Good man! What did you do the orange with/method/type of paint?
WildScotsRacing wrote: No fear, jumped right in it. Good man! What did you do the orange with/method/type of paint?
Lol, thanks! The paint I did with Orange Rustoleum spray cans and Rustoleum Self Etching primer in spray cans. The key is the prep work.....which honestly I did a horrible job on because I'm an impatient mofo, it doesn't show in photos, but I know where the bad spots are. Also, I could've wet sanded and polished, but like I said.....I'm sometimes impatient, especially when it's about looks, I'd rather spend time on something functional. The paint will do for the track, especially when I do a livery which will possibly cover some of the imperfections and draw away attention from the paintwork. It only has to look good from the audience right?
So my seat and harness came in.....I really like them and can't wait to install them in the car. My clutch should be coming in tomorrow.
Also....received some stickers
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