What would you do with a nearly perfect NA Miata? | Column

By Tim Suddard
Jan 1, 2022 | Mazda, Miata, NA, Column, GRM+ | Posted in Columns | From the Feb. 2022 issue | Never miss an article

In our world, the answer to almost every question is Miata.

Looking for a great sports car for date night? Miata. 

Looking for an easy-to-drive, inexpensive car to autocross? Miata.

Looking for a terrific entry-level road racing car with parts support and lots of competition?…

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CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/29/21 9:11 a.m.

Sorry for your loss-your cousin sounds like a impressive guy.

Feels like a Classic Motorsports project. I always get a kick out of projects that incorporate period-correct aftermarket parts. 

Appleseed MegaDork
12/29/21 9:29 a.m.

Period correct aftermarket is the answer answer here. Let everyone see what performance looked like in 1995.

Noddaz GRM+ Memberand UberDork
12/29/21 9:51 a.m.
Appleseed said:

Period correct aftermarket is the answer answer here. Let everyone see what performance looked like in 1995.

this !   Simple bolt on parts only.  And drive and conserve it as much as possible.


Berck New Reader
12/29/21 10:11 a.m.

It's actually perfect--unmolested, pretty, but not collector-grade so you can drive it.  As someone that daily drives the crap out of a clean 1991 BRG, it's a good place to be.  They need shocks; swaybars and exhaust is nice.  And then drive it.  Actually, given the ride height in that photo, I'm guessing the suspension is already aftermarket.  Clean, driveable, mostly-stock NA Miatas are becoming rarer than both collectors cars and hacked up crapcans. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
12/29/21 10:15 a.m.

Yes period correct mild mods and take it to every Radwood show you can find.  

GRM has the white Miata to go hog wild with.  

And remember high mileage 944s in good shape bring big dollars today.  Keep this one nice, clean, and make all mods reversible and it'll gain value fast no matter the mileage.  Clean NAs are rare now.

TGMF HalfDork
12/29/21 2:20 p.m.

Immediately sell it for way more than rational to some Miata fan who fits in such a car. 

Powar GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/29/21 2:47 p.m.

I'd probably refresh anything it needed, add some simple bolt-ons that are easily reversible, and park it in the garage next to the other cars that I don't drive often enough (including another red early 90s Mazda).

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/29/21 2:57 p.m.

I'd pull and store the stock engine, suspension bits and ECU. 

Then I'd call Keith and a crew, build a BP, go with mild boost in the 240hp range, fox suspension and megasquirt. 


Everything would be reverseable within 2 weekends worth of effort. 

malibuguy GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/29/21 6:30 p.m.

if it were me...id upgrade when replacement is necessary, but overall keep it close to factory intent.

now granted Ive never owned & at current prices...probably never be able to own an na/nb miata.  

You very well know what they CAN be like.  to someone like me...id want to know and feel what the original fuss is all about ;)

rodknock Reader
12/29/21 7:04 p.m.

Sell it for a million dollars 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/29/21 8:08 p.m.

I like the idea of period correct modifications. Based on the feedback that David Wallens reports when he takes his NA to the Orlando Roadster nights, period correct modifications have a lot of appeal right now. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/29/21 8:22 p.m.

Do you guys need me to post the 1996 Flyin' Miata catalog so you can see what period modifications looked like? I've got quite a collection from all the aftermarket of that era. 

Spoiler: a lot of it isn't as good as what we have now :)

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
12/29/21 9:12 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

You mean the original FM springs and KYB AGXs aren't as good as the Fox coil overs?  

CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/29/21 9:34 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Do it! It would be cool to see how far the platform has come. 

I guess the one area I'd avoid going period correct is the ECU stuff. Piggy back thing-a-majigs to adjust the timing and rising rate FPRs sound horrible. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/29/21 9:37 p.m.

The original FM springs aren't as good as the current ones! We revisited them in 2006 and got more useful travel along with improved metallurgy and better corrosion resistance. There was no equivalent to the Fox in 1996, people just didn't spend that sort of money on suspension.

I'm thinking of things like the turbo kits. You got less power, less durability, worse driveability and harder installation for considerably more money. I haven't done the math for a while but I'm pretty sure it was at least half again as much. And that was accomplished without going overseas for parts.

What's really missing these days is stick-on wood veneer to "class up" the interior.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/29/21 9:45 p.m.

I found the 1999 edition on PDF, so about the time Tim's car would have been out of warranty. Note the System IV turbo which is roughly  equivalent to our Stage 1 today (emissions legal, stock ECU). $3395 then is $5743 today. The current Stage 1 is $3913.

I'll post it in a bit when I get to a laptop.



Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
12/30/21 10:00 a.m.

I have always wanted. turbocharged Miata.

William New Reader
1/4/22 6:49 a.m.

In reply to Berck :

All that, plus a street flywheel. Then I could have a sunny-day driver and save the ND for the rest.

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