Is Miata Still the Answer for Off-Roading, Too?

All-wheel drive? Check. Subaru power? Check. Off-road tires? Check. Miata? You heard us.

Thanks to our friends over at Moss Motors, we came across Caleb Sandlund's Subaru-powered, all-wheel-drive Miata.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Caleb Sandlund (@gingium) on

Does this mean that Miata is still the answer, even if you're hitting the trails?

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DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
4/17/20 10:04 a.m.

Sorry, I really despise these. It's taking a wonderful car that is affordable and destroying it. Some may say it's ok because it's a rotted car. Ok. I get that. But it's still a stupid exercise in my opinion.

L5wolvesf
L5wolvesf Reader
4/17/20 10:13 a.m.

With Subaru power and AWD and a good deal of aftermarket and/or custom parts is it really a Miata?

thebc
thebc New Reader
4/17/20 10:27 a.m.

This is awesome, love seeing these lifted rally style Miatas.  If it was a rare car, I'd probably share DrBoost's opinion.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/17/20 10:29 a.m.
L5wolvesf said:

With Subaru power and AWD and a good deal of aftermarket and/or custom parts is it really a Miata?

Well, anyone who has seen a Miata will be able to identify it as one. But more importantly - does it matter what you call it?

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) UltraDork
4/17/20 10:45 a.m.

Car guy having fun with his car. I like it.

I'd probably prefer the Jacco prerunner style for my off road Miata, but then I'd have to build what want,

_
_ Dork
4/17/20 10:52 a.m.

I'm still not sure why he did it, other than to say "look what I did". Would've been easier to chop up an Impreza and make a ghetto kart out of it. YouTube clicks from kids is all this ginger is fishing for. 

RossD
RossD MegaDork
4/17/20 10:55 a.m.

If you wanted a convertible awd offroader that isnt a Jeep, this how you do it, I suppose.

 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
4/17/20 11:00 a.m.

What is all that heat wrapped stuff hanging down in front?  
 

it's cool. But looks more like a show car( crappy Sema build) than something ing that can actually be used. 


Make sure to sharpie your bolt heads.  And use blue tooth drive shafts. 
https://speedsociety.com/vloggers-reveal-some-of-the-worst-fails-of-sema-2018/
 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/17/20 11:17 a.m.

That's the exhaust. Remember, it comes off the bottom of a Subaru engine.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/17/20 11:24 a.m.

Love the STi badge on the back. 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
4/17/20 11:24 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Ahh ok.  That makes sense
 

atill looks vulnerable. 

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/17/20 11:27 a.m.

When I clear out my current backlog of projects (...yeah, right.) I want to do something like this with a MK1 Audi TT Quattro.

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
4/17/20 11:27 a.m.

I mean the miata was already supercharged and lifted. 

 

Before he did the sti swap. This is the Youtuber gingium.

L5wolvesf
L5wolvesf Reader
4/17/20 11:34 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
L5wolvesf said:

With Subaru power and AWD and a good deal of aftermarket and/or custom parts is it really a Miata?

Well, anyone who has seen a Miata will be able to identify it as one. But more importantly - does it matter what you call it?

Nice Buick :) 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
4/17/20 11:36 a.m.

He's a kid having fun with a car and learning stuff as he goes. I know I've learned stuff over the last 68 years by making mistakes and he is ,too. This is a case of someone doing something that I might not do or even think of doing, but that just makes it different. His car, his choice of modifications. I have taken some time and watched his videos to see what he's doing. I found his videos by searching  "off road Miata" , so I'm more inclined to like what he did.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/17/20 11:37 a.m.
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) said:

When I clear out my current backlog of projects (...yeah, right.) I want to do something like this with a MK1 Audi TT Quattro.

That I'd like to see. The TT shape is one that we don't see enought. Bring it. 

Indy-Guy (Forum Jock Strap)
Indy-Guy (Forum Jock Strap) PowerDork
4/17/20 11:42 a.m.
DrBoost said:

Sorry, I really despise these. It's taking a wonderful car that is affordable and destroying it. Some may say it's ok because it's a rotted car. Ok. I get that. But it's still a stupid exercise in my opinion.

You know you are deep in boost territory when you get tire pressures and boost pressures confused

Agreed.  I just don't see the appeal.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/17/20 11:42 a.m.

Gingium was one of the first influencers we dealt with. We sent him a brake kit. He had problems and put them in a video instead of contacting us. We stopped dealing with influencers for a while. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/17/20 11:50 a.m.

I like it, but not enough to join instagram.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/17/20 1:21 p.m.

He does some neat stuff. Hard not to respect.

 

rpasea
rpasea
4/17/20 1:38 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) :

Absolutely. Why be a critical purist if the guy is having fun. 

morello159
morello159 Reader
4/17/20 1:51 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I worked for a major tire manufacturer and rode shotgun with some of these influencers at events, usually encouraging them to drive harder so they could actually experience a difference in ultimate grip. Didn't meet this guy in particular but you definitely get a wide variety of attitudes with social media influencers, humble to arrogant. Probably riskier for someone like FM where the experience depends a lot on the install and a lot can go wrong. Put one of these clowns in a new BMW on the best French tires money can buy? That's just cheap advertising. 

 

All that said, I approve of awd subiata.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/17/20 2:19 p.m.

In reply to morello159 :

I don't have a problem with stuff going wrong. I do have a problem with someone who doesn't contact us if something goes wrong with the free stuff we sent them. 

We get requests for free stuff constantly. Always have, but now that "influencer" is considered a career it's much worse.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
4/17/20 2:48 p.m.

I wouldn't build it, but I'm glad there are people out there building crazy things for me to look at.

clshore
clshore Reader
4/17/20 2:52 p.m.

In reply to Fueled by Caffeine :

'Blue tooth drive shafts' had me thinking about strain gages on the tube wall that wirelessly transmitted torque to data acquisition.

Combined with shaft RPM, would yield a cheap, accurate, realtime onboard dyno.

LyndenTinkerer
LyndenTinkerer
4/17/20 3:40 p.m.

I've watched this young fella on YOUTUBE for a while.....  he's fun to watch, and the level of his project cars (of which there are a good number, and they're all really cool) is increasing with each build.   I find him a likable guy too - not overconfident or full of himself.  Watch his YOUTUBE channel:  GINGIUM.....  there's enough good material there to watch for days.

 

_
_ Dork
4/17/20 3:50 p.m.

I think it's abominable that people are being half assed cars to SEMA. Needs to be a rule- it drives in on its own power, from the gate, to the booth. 
 

Otherwise, what's the point? What's next? A paper maché mock up of a car? At that point let's just call SEMA an art exhibit. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/17/20 3:54 p.m.

Have you ever been to the SEMA show? The sheer number of cars there is astounding. The convention center is surrounded by parking lots full of them. There's no booth for those, it's just a big car show. A "SEMA car" isn't really anything special.

Some of the cars are well done and you can spend hours looking at just one. Some of them are slammed out as quickly as possible with donated parts and with no sense of time management and are crap. All are designed to grab your attention, that's the point. Nobody sells cars there, it's the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show.

ChrisTropea
ChrisTropea Associate Editor
4/17/20 4:21 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

It just needs the gold wheels to complete the look.

Shaun
Shaun Dork
4/18/20 12:56 p.m.

I just cringe at the exposed exhaust as it would stop me dead in my tracks if it was my project.  I like the SC version allot more.  I would use that, and have confidence sticking it's nose into places.  I was until recently in the toy business and there was a definite trend away from steering money towards 'influencers' as now everybody is creating content.  All this inter-webs marketing stuff moves so fast...    

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/18/20 2:11 p.m.

So how'd he get so much lift on those struts without tweaking the geometry?

TopNoodles
TopNoodles Reader
4/18/20 7:52 p.m.

Miata works fine off road, modifications are not necessary. Any lightweight reliable car will go a lot of places you would think it can't. And even Jeeps have limits. A Jeep on 37" tires will go more places than one on 33's. Which will go further than one on 31's.

I've been down some "roads" in my Miata that were worse than some trails I've seen.

That said, it's not really the Answer for off road since you can buy 4x4's for the same price range.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/18/20 9:09 p.m.

I was wondering about the Subaru power thing, until I saw the AWD part.

And in that thread- is there a good comparison between the 2WD lifted Miata (with the original engine, maybe turboed) to this AWD one?   That's a bitch of a conversion vs just a great lift kit- so the improvement would have to be really worth it.

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
4/18/20 9:48 p.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

I was wondering about the Subaru power thing, until I saw the AWD part.

And in that thread- is there a good comparison between the 2WD lifted Miata (with the original engine, maybe turboed) to this AWD one?   That's a bitch of a conversion vs just a great lift kit- so the improvement would have to be really worth it.

the original set up for this miata was a 3in lift 27" tires and a supercharged engine. it did fine. It seemed to be driven hard and put away wet and had been in that configuration for a few years, i think he got a cheap sti that had terminal body rust and the miata was just tired so he did it to make content for his youtube, since he also has a lowered turbo miata, a v8 swapped mazda mini truck built for drifting and i think an rx7.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/19/20 7:03 a.m.

In reply to MrChaos :

Did he ever post a good comparison?  Or does he just post *stuff*?

The reason I ask is knowing what intentions you have if you want to do this.  Like rock crawling, you want 4WD, whereas just decent trail driving, 2WD would be good- especially with the weight of this vehicle.  

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
4/19/20 8:02 a.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to MrChaos :

Did he ever post a good comparison?  Or does he just post *stuff*?

The reason I ask is knowing what intentions you have if you want to do this.  Like rock crawling, you want 4WD, whereas just decent trail driving, 2WD would be good- especially with the weight of this vehicle.  

i think he is just building it for the content.

DanN
DanN None
4/20/20 8:41 a.m.
DrBoost said:

Sorry, I really despise these. It's taking a wonderful car that is affordable and destroying it. Some may say it's ok because it's a rotted car. Ok. I get that. But it's still a stupid exercise in my opinion.

You know you are deep in boost territory when you get tire pressures and boost pressures confused

It's unfortunate that someone would build a car with blatant disregard for your feelings! No matter how much they love and enjoy their personal projects, how dare they not consult you and your sensibilities beforehand! And to what end? Their own sense of accomplishment? Their own set of ideas and dreams? INSANE I tell you! You had best run out and buy all the remaining cars in the world you feel are inappropriate to modify in any way beyond the specifications you personally set. (Please don't go after my GM engine swap Triumph!)

Also, I really despise people who boost NA cars. It's taking a wonderful car that is affordable and destroying it. Some may say it's ok because it didn't have enough power. Ok. I get that. But it's still a stupid exercise in my opinion. [/SARCASM]

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/20/20 9:02 a.m.
MrChaos said:
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to MrChaos :

Did he ever post a good comparison?  Or does he just post *stuff*?

The reason I ask is knowing what intentions you have if you want to do this.  Like rock crawling, you want 4WD, whereas just decent trail driving, 2WD would be good- especially with the weight of this vehicle.  

i think he is just building it for the content.

Yeah, it's all about getting attention, which means clicks and sponsors, which means money and a way to make a living. The rationale is not "because it's a great idea" but "because it's crazy!".

RevRico
RevRico PowerDork
4/20/20 9:16 a.m.

I've been asking for this for a long time. Hadn't opened the thread because I thought it was just the full Paco kit.

Now to get this guy together with the 4BT miata guys and get what I really want, a brodozer miata!

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/20/20 9:17 a.m.

I don't hate the idea, it's probably a fun toy. The exhaust and what looks to be turbocharger hanging down front would be a hard stop for me. That's just begging to be ripped off. That would require some relocation and a skid plate of some description to keep the exhaust from being the first thing to contact the ground. 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/20/20 9:38 a.m.

In reply to Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) :

Having the header bundle/turbo hanging so low is a blow to his credibility on some levels. It's bling over function. That said, I'm a fan. Still would like to know how he corrected the strut geometry. Subaru's normally don't respond well to such lift.

DaveMakesStuff
DaveMakesStuff
4/20/20 9:50 a.m.

 

I'm building something similar - an Audi TT Quattro off-roader. It's a project with my middle daughter who wanted to learn some skills. So far it's got big wheels, a snorkel, bobtail cut bodywork at the back, intercoolers and bumper etc removed / relocated at the front, and is part way through a 3" suspension lift. The end result will be worse on the road than a stock TT and worse off it than a beat-up old Jimny but that's not the point - it's a fun project and will hopefully raise some smiles once done, as well as giving me something to teach my children to drive (off-road, obviously) in.

Inevitably, I'm Youtubing it - most recent video is here if anyone's curious: 

https://youtu.be/B6tac9oUmvM

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/20/20 9:57 a.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) :

Having the header bundle/turbo hanging so low is a blow to his credibility on some levels. It's bling over function. That said, I'm a fan. Still would like to know how he corrected the strut geometry. Subaru's normally don't respond well to such lift.

Wouldn't every offroader Subaru have the same problem? You can't avoid having the exhaust under the engine in one. Heck, what about every beetle-based buggy?

It would be interesting to see how he handled the suspension, but not enough to make me sit through a YouTube video that's not from Bad Obsession. We've been talking about (and making jokes about) 4WD Miatas for about 30 years now, this is the first one I know of that isn't just a Miata body dropped on to a truck frame.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/20/20 10:13 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I would think that the header pipes could be tucked up better if the tubes weren't crossing in front of/under the oil pan to merge into the turbo. 

Only peripherally related, I bumped into this this morning:

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/2845273328913025

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
4/20/20 10:41 a.m.

Again, standard Subaru. You can't go behind the oil pan, someone put a steering rack and other stuff there.  I'm basing this on the two pictures posted - I think his biggest sin was posting a low angle shot :) A big skid plate under the nose would solve all these problems. 

My little "hey look, the LS MG is self-propelled!" video is probably the most popular one I've shot, and it's full of comments about how vulnerable the radiator is. That's because there wasn't any front bodywork on the car - the rad is just as high off the ground as it is in a Miata, behind a bunch of bodywork and it has a big bash bar underneath it. But you can't see that in the video, so there were many many many experts telling me how I was going to destroy it immediately on...something.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
4/20/20 10:43 a.m.

The first time I ever heard of Gingium was when I loaned my Miata out to the Slip Angle Media guys and got accused of "stealing Gingium's style" in the YouTube comments. Pretty funny, because A) I'd never heard of the guy so how could I "steal" his look and B) a Mariner Blue Miata with black wheels and low-pro headlights really isn't unique or innovative enough to be credited to one guy. Those comments, and the guy that commented on every video saying "No way that car makes 240hp" with nothing to back it up were enough to convince me not to ever have a Youtube channel.

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/20/20 2:17 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Since the radiator is in the back and the intercooler is up top, I think I would move the turbo up in front of the engine behind the bash bar even if I had to push the bash bar out a little. The other possibility is moving the intercooler up front and mounting the turbo above the engine. Ilm not super familiar with Miata or Subaru, so if moving it isn't possible, it still needs 100% more skid plate. That setup looks pretty vulnerable to me, and I don't live in the land of rocks. I would for sure clean that mess off crossing a dead tree. 

GTwannaB
GTwannaB HalfDork
4/21/20 12:19 a.m.

You folks are over analyzing. This is just a new age dune buggy. 

TIGMOTORSPORTS
TIGMOTORSPORTS Dork
4/21/20 5:03 a.m.

In reply to DaveMakesStuff :

Thats fantastic!

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
4/21/20 8:32 a.m.
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Since the radiator is in the back and the intercooler is up top, I think I would move the turbo up in front of the engine behind the bash bar even if I had to push the bash bar out a little. The other possibility is moving the intercooler up front and mounting the turbo above the engine. Ilm not super familiar with Miata or Subaru, so if moving it isn't possible, it still needs 100% more skid plate. That setup looks pretty vulnerable to me, and I don't live in the land of rocks. I would for sure clean that mess off crossing a dead tree. 

Of course you could move it, just would have to build a custom manifold and intercooler piping and run the lines to the turbo. 

Which doesn't seem like that big of a deal given everything else done. 

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