1995 Mazda Targa Miata rally special

Started on May 15 by Keith Tanner

Ride Rating


Built from a bare shell for the Targa Newfoundland rally. Back then, it ran a bored and stroked, 11.5:1 compression engine with a complex home-built header. The suspension was built for as much travel as possible and the car was stripped for light weight. The Martini stripes are based on the design used on the Lancia Delta Integrale rally cars, and they're all paint.

The whole car was built in my garage, right down to shooting the paint. And then came the 2011 rebuild. Now it runs a 400 hp L33 aluminum V8 engine with a T56 6-speed transmission. It's gained a couple of hundred pounds, but also more than doubled the horsepower and torque. At the 2011 race, we led the Open class for a couple of days until a main relay failure dropped us down to 3rd.

12 comments on this ride

Latest updates

Oct. 18

2011 race results

At the 2011 Targa Newfoundland, we knew we had a pretty fast car, running in a fast class. And it turned out to be competitive right from the start. At the end of the fourth day, we were leading the ...

Feb. 21


Well, we're going back to the Targa Newfoundland. And this time, we're bringing some fireworks with us. The sweet little 2.0 engine has come out, and a built all-aluminum 5.3 V8 (L33 for Chevy nerds) is going in. We're going ...

April 30

More flattery!

There's an article on the car in the June 2010 issue of Grassroots! More accurately, it's about our running of the Targa Newfoundland. Thank you GRM!

Feb. 27

Engine testing

I've been playing around with the engine, and the most recent change looks pretty sexy. I've been concentrating on the lower end of the powerband where there's a mysterious torque dip (I'm pretty sure I know what the answer is, ...

Nov. 24


The Targa Miata was chosen as one of GRM's 10 "significant motorsport Miatas" for the 25th anniversary issue. Am I proud? You bet.

Oct. 29

Engine tuning time.

It's time to start experimenting more with the engine. I've been playing with different fuel pressures, then it's time to move on to cams and intake systems. Lots of dyno time ahead!

Feb. 28

Targa Newfoundland on Speed TV

Set your VCRs! March 15th, 3 pm Eastern time, Speed TV. The 2008 Targa Newfoundland! Old BMWs, new Mitsubishis, group B quattro, lusty Camaros - and a little Miata.

Feb. 21

Mitty bound!

I'll be at the Mitty with the Targa car. If you're going to be there, make sure you say hi!

Jan. 17

The race is run.

The Targa Newfoundland has come and gone. The car turned out to be almost perfect for the race - agile, stable, reliable and predictable. Just what you need when you're going as fast as you can down a road you've ...

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May 15, 2008 2:12 p.m.
Trade ya.
May 19, 2008 12:33 p.m.
ZOO (Forum Supporter):
Good looking paint, Keith! I remember a 911 in Toronto painted in that livery when I was young (early 80's). Rob
May 21, 2008 1:17 p.m.
So...when are you going to start mass producing that header? I want one.
May 27, 2008 10:56 a.m.
Javelin (Forum Supporter):
I LOVE this car! It makes me want a Miata ;)
May 28, 2008 4:12 p.m.
Funny, doesn't look like its a targa. Still want to drive it some day, if you will let me. :D
Jun 17, 2008 6:01 p.m.
Absolutely brilliant. Martini livery makes everything good.
Jan 2, 2009 9:47 a.m.
+1 on the header.... PLEASE! ;-)
Jan 17, 2009 6:44 p.m.
Keith Tanner:
I'm pretty sure nobody would want to pay what it would cost to put that header into production!
Apr 25, 2009 11:35 p.m.
miata, accept no substitutes...
Feb 1, 2010 9:05 p.m.
Would you go back to Targa Newfoundland if you had a co-driver?
Feb 2, 2010 9:09 p.m.
Keith Tanner:
I have a co-driver who's eager to go back. What we're missing is the time and the money. Running a week-long event on the other side of the continent requires a fair bit of both. It's a 4000 mile tow just to get to the start line!
Mar 16, 2010 2:37 p.m.
That is sexy

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