Sep 10, 2012 update to the Mazda Miata - Sunburst Yellow project car

Initial Inspection

Geoff Thompson, in the blue shirt, knows Miatas. He came over to help diagnose ours.
The body is very solid, but the trunk will need some work. Looks like someone had a battery issue.

Here’s the other kicker: When the seller couldn’t produce a title, the selling price dropped to just $500.

Not that we needed another Miata in the fleet—at last count we have three here at the office—but it’s hard to pass up a 1992 Sunburst Yellow car advertised for just $700. eBay Motors? Craigslist? How about our own message board.

And before anyone says that we grab all the good cars, realize that this listing had already fallen to the second page of our classified forum before we called on it. Here’s the other kicker: When the seller couldn’t produce a title, the selling price dropped to just $500.

What we found was a solid Miata that had been sitting for a few years. It was last registered in 2006, and sounds like the seller hadn’t really done anything with it. The local rodents, on the other hand, had moved in and set up shop.

After a thorough cleaning, the big question: Would it start? Geoff Thompson, his awesome Lincoln Town Car crapcan racer is featured in the latest issue, came over for some diagnostic help. He has built dozens of Spec Miatas and intimately knows the cars.

First things first: Spark? Yes. Fuel? Well, the injectors are getting a pulse. Compression? Looks like we have some.

The car wouldn’t fire on starting fluid, but the stuff in the tank looked gross. The car had been parked with nearly a full tank of gas, and over the years it had become closer to varnish. Our slave cylinder was also junk.

A replacement fuel pump has been purchased, and we happened to have some used injectors at the office. We’re thinking/hoping that’s the big issue. More work will take place this weekend. Here’s the big question: Will we make it to next weekend’s $2012 Challenge?

Watch for updates all week.


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WhiteLX Reader
9/21/12 7:30 p.m.

would make a great Locost donor.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/22/12 5:36 p.m.

It's way, way to nice to cut up for a Locost.

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