actualsize New Reader
Jan. 24, 2010 7:46 p.m.

I've had the same 1990 Mazda Miata for over 20 years. It's never ever been anything other than my race car and it has just over 6,700 miles on the odometer. I'm just getting started with the process of refurbishing it to as-raced condition circa 1991.

Why? In 1991 this car won an SCCA national at Willow Springs on the Feb 9-10 weekend. I believe this makes it the first Miata to ever win a race (in North America, at least).

In 1990, Miatas were not allowed in showroom stock because SCCA's policy at the time (since abandoned) was to wait a year before classifying any new car. No one could race a Miata in SCCA club racing events in 1990. A team did campaign Miatas in SCCA Pro racing in the then-new World Challenge in 1990, but they never notched a victory.

Willow Springs was the third national of the year in 1991, following January events in Florida at Sebring and Moroso. Those races were won by an MR2 and a Civic Si, respectively.

My goal is to have the car ready for Miatas at Mazda Raceway on April 10 & 11. The car needs a lot of work because it was also the oft-rumored rally Miata and because it has been sitting outside in my side yard for the last 9 years.

Same car, but taken at Willow Springs in 1993

I've got a lot of hurdles ahead, not least the task of finding period-correct Yokohama A008-R or BFG Comp T/A R1 tires in size 185/60R14 or 205/55R14. They can be blue and durometer at 1,000 for all I care - so long as they hold air I can use them for display.

Of course if you know of an earlier Miata road race victory, please let me know. I'm 95% certain I'm right on this, but I may have missed a race in there somewhere.


P71 SuperDork
Jan. 24, 2010 8:01 p.m.


That is really, really awesome!

Junkyard_Dog HalfDork
Jan. 24, 2010 8:57 p.m.

Thats berkeleying awesome!

mw Reader
Jan. 24, 2010 9:43 p.m.

I've got a set of A008R's in 185/60/14. I still use them as track day tires. They take a little while to heat up, but once they do, they work pretty well. Shipping would be pricey, but if you can't find anything else, let me know.

Twin_Cam Dork
Jan. 25, 2010 6:32 a.m.

Freaking sweet.

Apparently Mini stole the "Actual Size" ad slogan?

alfadriver Dork
Jan. 25, 2010 9:00 a.m.

With that kind of history, make sure you keep in touch with the Historics people at Mazda Raceway.

Someday, Mazda will be a featured marque, and your car SHOULD be there (IMHO).

One owner race car, going on 20 years... wow- that's pretty cool.


Keith SuperDork
Jan. 25, 2010 9:13 a.m.

That car will hopefully be at the big Miata event at Mazda Raceway in April

Dan, I dumped a set of "vintage" R1s on 1994 Miata wheels at Rick's shop a few years back. I don't know if they're still around.

jrw1621 Dork
Jan. 25, 2010 9:13 a.m.

Cool stuff. I would look forward to reading an article about your Miata.

actualsize New Reader
Jan. 25, 2010 10:06 a.m.
Twin_Cam wrote: Freaking sweet. Apparently Mini stole the "Actual Size" ad slogan?

Yeah, I guess they did. I first put that slogan on my car in 1991 because I'm 6-ft 2-in tall and the car isn't. I still have the dated receipt from the sign shop that made them for me. Every race entry form since then (and the results sheets, which I've kept) lists the entrant or sponsor as "Actual Size Sports". Since then I've used actualsize for every message board sign-up that still had it available. I tried to get the URL in 1995 or so but some band from New Zealand already had it.

When I first showed up at the Road Atlanta runoffs with the stickers in 1991, Greg Creamer was doing the track announcing. He loved the Actual Size logo so much that he mentioned my car more often than the leader (I wasn't too far behind). In return I gave him an Actual Size t-shirt and he invited me up into the scissor lift near turn 6 to watch another one of the races while he did the commentary. At some point he got stung by a bee while we were up there, I think.

actualsize New Reader
Jan. 25, 2010 10:38 a.m.
jrw1621 wrote: Cool stuff. I would look forward to reading an article about your Miata.

That could happen. I happen to know a guy who writes about cars for a living. This car has a weird history. I'll start posting a few photos.

The decision between Yokohamas and BFG tires comes down to this: That first win came on Yokohamas, with the car stickered-up appropriately. But the only hard top color at the time was red, so the car looked weird. (SS rules at the time disallowed repainting the car another color). This was also before Actual Size logo.

Mazda PR called to congratulate me on my win, at the same time suggesting I do something about the clashing red top. They hooked me up with a newly-available white one.

At about the same time I switched to BFG tires and added the Actual Size logo before the car's first runoffs appearance in 1991.

So the choice is this: First-win configuration with Yokohama tires and a red top, or Later in the first season with BFG tires, the white top and Actual Size logos?

Cast your votes. Of course it may come down to the tires I end up finding and whether or not I can chase down some unused Yokohama or BFG stickers.

jrw1621 Dork
Jan. 25, 2010 11:10 a.m.

I think the rules at the time are an interesting part of the story. You will need to accentuate the 1991 eligibility vs the 1990 eligibility so why not continue on with the rules requirement of the top?
Since the main point is the first winning Miata, I think it should be the closest exact replica of how it was outfitted for that win. If it were the "most winning Miata" then an averaging of part/configurations would be acceptable.

There are likely some other oddities. In years later, more suspension bracing also became available.
I also think that first year Miata hard top was not available with rear defrost (needs to be confirmed.)

'90 Miata

Keith SuperDork
Jan. 25, 2010 11:19 a.m.

That's correct, early Miata hardtops didn't have defrosters. I don't know if I'd say the lack of suspension bracing is an oddity, there are at least a hundred thousand Miatas that were delivered that way.

jrw1621 Dork
Jan. 25, 2010 11:22 a.m.

No, the oddity of bracing would just be in the racing context. By the following year, 1992, SSC racers would have begun to add cars with the now factory fitted bracing.

actualsize New Reader
Jan. 25, 2010 11:38 a.m.

No worries. There is (and never has been) any bracing or defroster wires. Both tops were run legally in 1991, it's just that I had to physically obtain a then-new white top instead of painting the red one white to stay in compliance with the SS rules at the time. The irony is that I no longer have that original red top. I sold it off 10 years ago when I lived in Phoenix. I would have to paint a top red to get back to first-win configuration.

jrw1621 Dork
Jan. 25, 2010 11:50 a.m.

I always found it odd that early Miatas only came with black soft tops and yet, hardtops started in red only and then later evolved to include other colors.
I think they should have just come out with black only hardtops on the early cars (to match the already black soft top.)

pigeon HalfDork
Jan. 25, 2010 12:00 p.m.

I like the look of the Acutal Size logos (the fact that I'm also 6'2" and drove a '96 Miata for nearly 3 years adds to that attraction) and the overall look of the car in Runoffs configuration better, but if you're going to restore the "first race win" car it should be as the car looked on the occasion of that first win. Just one data point.

Keith SuperDork
Jan. 25, 2010 12:01 p.m.
jrw1621 wrote: I think they should have just come out with black only hardtops on the early cars (to match the already black soft top.)

I'm pretty sure that's how it was done in the UK, actually.

I agree that if the car is significant because of a particular win, it should be restored in that same livery. Although I do find the later look more attractive personally.

No repainting. Interesting rule. Must have been to keep costs down.

actualsize New Reader
Jan. 25, 2010 12:19 p.m.

And like many other rules enacted to keep costs down, it didn't. A new hard top is over a grand. A rattle can of white paint is $3.95

willy19592 Reader
Jan. 25, 2010 1:06 p.m.

In reply to actualsize:

Thats really COOL!

Woody SuperDork
Jan. 25, 2010 1:58 p.m.
actualsize wrote: Of course it may come down to the tires I end up finding and whether or not I can chase down some unused Yokohama or BFG stickers.

I may still have some unused Yokohama windshield decals that were hanging in my Dad's garage for 20 years. I'll take a look.

jrw1621 Dork
Jan. 25, 2010 3:00 p.m.

Reproduction graphic are pretty easy here in the digital age.
Back in the 1990's I used to buy my autocross graphics from Solotime and it seems that they are still in business.

Ian F Dork
Jan. 25, 2010 3:10 p.m.

As much as I like the graphics of the later livery, I vote for "as-is when it won its first race."

Neat story! This should be a GRM article.

Nashco SuperDork
Jan. 25, 2010 3:20 p.m.
Ian F wrote: Neat story! This should be a GRM article.

Yeah, because there's been such a shortage of Miata coverage...

jrw1621 Dork
Jan. 25, 2010 3:49 p.m.

Being the first Miata win almost 20 years ago I think we are getting into Classic Motorsports territory. I would suspect there is not much Miata coverage over there; not yet at least.

93celicaGT2 SuperDork
Jan. 25, 2010 4:00 p.m.

I'm going to vote for the configuration with the white top and the Actual Size graphics. For no other reason that it looks "right" and is probably more easily recognizable like that.

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