Sep 2, 2009 update to the Mazda Miata Turbo project car

Dressing up for Solo Nationals

Bob Stephens at Bargain Signs printed the vinyl material with a special printer.
Once the design was printed on vinyl, Ron Stephens ran the material through a lamination process that gives the vinyl a 2-3 mil layer of UV protection.
Prep work is important; after removing the badges, the crew at Bargain Signs wiped down the whole car with alcohol to remove the last bits of wax or grease.
With the prep work complete, the vinyl is applied like a giant sticker. Wrinkles are worked out with a squeegee.
We were surprised at how durable the vinyl material was. Wrinkles and folds in the material were easy to work out with a squeegee, some heat, and patience.
The whole installation took about 7 hours. Our desing had some complicated details, so it was a bit longer than average for a car this size.
The nose art we used was created by Peter Ledger for the US Air Force, and has a special significance for this car's owner. We want to thank Peter's widow Christy Marx for authorizing us to reproduce Peter's original work.
We're very pleased with the final result and look forward to showing it off at the 2009 Solo National Championships.

We got a little creative with the wrap on our car, and the “High Octane” nose art is a particular highlight. The piece was originally painted by artist Peter Ledger at Castle Air Force Base in 1989, but the work was lost when the KC-135 that served as its flying canvas was deployed for the first Gulf war.

When we first picked up our 1994 Miata, we were completely enamored with the car’s sharp handling. We considered using the car as a platform for an E-Stock autocross effort, but couldn’t resist the temptation for more power, so it become the test subject for a Flyin’ Miata turbo kit installation.

We recently upgraded the suspension as well, and careful setup has led to a really fast little car that still works well as a daily driver. In fact, we think our project might be the fastest daily-driven autocross car in the country.

To prove our claim, we’re going on a road trip. Our quest will take us from the sunny shores of Daytona Beach, Florida and across 1400 miles of America’s heartland. When we reach Lincoln, Nebraska, we’ll compete in the 2009 SCCA Solo National Championships.

Our Miata will compete against Vipers, Porsches, RX-7s and Corvettes in the SSM class at Nationals. This class is among the fastest at the event, and competition for the top spot is sure to be close. We don’t really expect to come out on top, but we think we can finish ahead of the other daily-driven entrants at the event. If we’re wrong, we’d love to find our more about the car and driver combination who are fastest.

As a final preparation for Nationals, we’ve given our Miata a layer of war paint. Well, war vinyl in this case; our car’s new look comes courtesy of Bob Stephens and the crew at Bargain Signs in Clearwater, Florida. Our Miata’s paint is still in good shape, so the idea of using a wrap makes good sense; it allows us to completely change the car’s appearance while preserving the car’s original paint.

We got a little creative with the wrap on our car, and the “High Octane” nose art is a particular highlight. The piece was originally painted by artist Peter Ledger at Castle Air Force Base in 1989, but the work was lost when the KC-135 that served as its flying canvas was deployed for the first Gulf war. We had a very personal connection with this portion of the Military community, so we asked Peter’s widow, Christy Marx to reproduce Peter’s work on our car. Peter was a motorcycle racer and lover of speed, so Christy agreed to let us reproduce his original art from a photograph. Thanks, Christy!

The Bargain Signs crew did a terrific job on the design and installation of the wrap, using a simple squeegee and occasionally waving a propane torch to shrink the material into place. The process only took about 7 hours to completely install and should last at least 5 years, even if left outdoors under direct sunlight. The finished material is hard to identify as vinyl until you’re within reach, and we loved having the freedom to make the car look however we wanted without risking the original paint. The vinyl is also easy to clean with water or a spray detailer.

We look forward to putting up our best effort at the Solo Nationals, so wish us luck for next week’s big event. We’ll try to have updates while we’re on the road.

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Comments
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MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UberDork
9/2/09 10:22 a.m.

Quite appropriate for a Flyin' Miata...

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
9/2/09 10:24 a.m.

I've been planning this visual theme since much earlier than that thread, but thanks for the support.

Quarter mile times are completely irrelevant to this claim, so don't take that "fastest" tag too seriously. A license plate does not a daily driver make. Let's just say I'll be surprised if we're beaten at nationals by anything that drove more than 500 miles for the event, and Ive got a sweet GRM T-shirt for the driver who can prove me wrong.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
9/2/09 11:01 a.m.

When we first picked up our 1994 Miata, we were completely enamored with the car's sharp handling. We considered using the car as a platform for an E-Stock autocross effort, but couldn't resist the temptation for more power, so it become the test subject for a Flyin' Miata turbo kit installation.

We recently upgraded the suspension as well, and careful setup has led to a really fast little car that still works well as a daily driver. In fact, we think our project might be the fastest daily-driven autocross car in the country.

To prove our claim, we're going on a road trip. Our quest will take us from the sunny shores of Daytona Beach, Florida and across 1400 miles of America's heartland. When we reach Lincoln, Nebraska, we'll compete in the 2009 SCCA Solo National Championships.

Our Miata will compete against Vipers, Porsches, RX-7s and Corvettes in the SSM class at Nationals. This class is among the fastest at the event, and competition for the top spot is sure to be close. We don't really expect to come out on top, but we think we can finish ahead of the other daily-driven entrants at the event. If we're wrong, we'd love to find our more about the car and driver combination who are fastest.

As a final preparation for Nationals, we've given our Miata a layer of war paint. Well, war vinyl in this case; our car's new look comes courtesy of Bob Stephens and the crew at Bargain Signs in Clearwater, Florida. Our Miata's paint is still in good shape, so the idea of using a wrap makes good sense; it allows us to completely change the car's appearance while preserving the car's original paint.

We got a little creative with the wrap on our car, and the "High Octane" nose art is a particular highlight. The piece was originally painted by artist Peter Ledger at Castle Air Force Base in 1989, but the work was lost when the KC-135 that served as its flying canvas was deployed for the first Gulf war. We had a very personal connection with this portion of the Military community, so we asked Peter's widow, Christy Marx to reproduce Peter's work on our car. Peter was a motorcycle racer and lover of speed, so Christy agreed to let us reproduce his original art from a photograph. Thanks, Christy!

The Bargain Signs crew did a terrific job on the design and installation of the wrap, using a simple squeegee and occasionally waving a propane torch to shrink the material into place. The process only took about 7 hours to completely install and should last at least 5 years, even if left outdoors under direct sunlight. The finished material is hard to identify as vinyl until you're within reach, and we loved having the freedom to make the car look however we wanted without risking the original paint. The vinyl is also easy to clean with water or a spray detailer.

We look forward to putting up our best effort at the Solo Nationals, so wish us luck for next week's big event. We'll try to have updates while we're on the road.

nderwater
nderwater PowerDork
9/2/09 12:40 p.m.

Guys, that is awesome. Good job!

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
9/2/09 7:08 p.m.

The pics of this car should re-awaken that thread, there were some cool ideas bouncing around. This is the first wrap I've seen that stretches and molds like that without sticking to itself. A ballpark would be nice for those of us who would like to consider the wrap option.

As for the fastest, I will eagerly await the reports from Nationals! The LS1 FC I speak of road tripped from Portland to Medford and back and raced for three days straight with 6 drivers sharing the car. It's most definitely a true "daily driver" and it's quickest around the cones, not in a straight line. 285/335 V710's help I'm sure ;)

bbertok
bbertok
9/3/09 9:07 a.m.

Oddly enough, Panic Motorsports' Spec Miata #90 has a very similar car design! http://www.panicmotorsports.com Hopefully the "P-40 spirit" will prove to be fast with your car as it is with ours. Best of luck!

SkinnyG
SkinnyG Dork
9/4/09 12:56 a.m.

I freaking like it!

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
9/4/09 8:21 a.m.

Just wait until I put the Hoosiers on...

mistanfo
mistanfo UltraDork
9/6/09 11:15 p.m.

If only I could find you a shirt that fit in time (if you remember my Flying Tigers shirt from either SP or VIR, I believe that I wore it at both).

jstein77
jstein77 SuperDork
9/9/09 8:14 p.m.

Best of luck at the nationals, Tom. I'll be following the results.

BoostGearDOTcom
BoostGearDOTcom New Reader
9/18/09 9:57 a.m.

I heart the new graphics! I should get on the stick and read the next article!

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