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Cousin_Eddie Reader
11/15/17 5:59 p.m.

The backstory:

I am not sure if this car in indicative of a mid life crisis or what. But, I figured I'd get myself a Miata to mess with and see what all the fuss is about. After doing a lot of research I decided I'd want an NA car with a 1.8. So I started looking around to get a handle on typical prices and what was out there. Then this car turned up on a Facebook city sale page. The price was towards the top of what NA's sell for around here at 3750 but I figured since it was local I'd go look at it anyway. It wound up being less than a mile from my house. The car was sitting in the garage of a 70 year old woman. She has some health issues and couldn't drive a standard trans anymore. The more I checked over the car, I came to realize her price wasn't out of line. Then she told me that she was the original owner and bought it new in 1996 at a dealership here in Fort Worth. Now, she had my attention and I was really starting to get interested in buying the car. Then when she pointed out the hardtop hanging up in the top of her garage, I knew this was the car for me. So, in the end, I paid 3700 for the car. It has 118k miles.

Original owner with the car on the day I bought it (yes, I have her permission for the picture)

I know, "cool story bro"....


In the next post I'll get into the mechanicals. EDIT: I forgot to add. The hardtop is not original to the car. She traded in a white Miata when she bought this one in 96 and kept her hardtop from the first car, which she subsequently had painted to match the new car.

NOHOME UltimaDork
11/15/17 6:22 p.m.



First order of businesses will be to get the silly grin off your face!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/15/17 7:38 p.m.

Almost every Miata hardtop has been repainted. I have a white one on my race car that used to be black and a blue one on my street car that used to be white and a red one on my older car that used to be white.

Nice buy. I THINK the power antenna means it has a Torsen. I'd check my copy of Find It, Fix It, Trick It but it's not in front of me. IIRC power windows means Torsen for sure. Good story, too.

DeadSkunk UberDork
11/15/17 7:45 p.m.

The woman in the picture is 70?

JamesMcD SuperDork
11/15/17 7:57 p.m.

You did well. 

Cousin_Eddie Reader
11/15/17 8:03 p.m.

Thanks for the comments so far. Yes, the car is very fun to drive. Keith, I've already placed one order from you and I suspect your Black Friday email is going to get some more of my money. DeadSkunk, yes, 70 years old.

First order of business was to catch up on maintenance.  Flyin Miata, Rockauto, Priority Mazda, Moss, Treasure Coast, and Amazon to the rescue...

-Gates timing belt, tensioner, and idler

-Cam seals, crank seal

-Water pump


-CAS o ring

-Valve cover gasket

-Plugs and wires

-Accessory belts

-All coolant hoses

-Fuel filter

-Service trans and diff with Redline

-Rebuild shifter and boots

Then I got serious about cleaning the car up. It took 3 weeks of solid work for me. I removed the interior and cleaned every single piece and replaced any clips and hardware that needed it. Then I took the trunk and hood off and detailed everything and reinstalled them and worked the paint on the whole car.

To try and not go too crazy with the budget, I chose inexpensive but decent quality wheels and tires from the Tire Rack.

Cousin_Eddie Reader
11/15/17 8:15 p.m.

Now, here is where I need advise from Miata exerts.

I want a little bit of lowering, but this car is 100% commuter and take my wife to breakfast car. No autocross for me. I just want to slightly tighten up the fenderwell gap.

I already scored a set of new-in-box NA Koni sports (pn's 1203 and 1204)

Here is a general game plan I have in mind (this is where I'm listening loud and clear to you more Miata experienced guys)

-Install the Koni sports with the snap ring on the lowest groove

-Stock springs

-FM extended rear tophats

-New OEM (equivalent) replacement front top hats

-Good bump stops


Does this seem like a good gameplan ? I think the FM rear upper mounts include bumpstops so I'd only need to buy a pair for the front.


Woody MegaDork
11/15/17 8:34 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Almost every Miata hardtop has been repainted. I have a white one on my race car that used to be black and a blue one on my street car that used to be white and a red one on my older car that used to be white.

Nice buy. I THINK the power antenna means it has a Torsen. I'd check my copy of Find It, Fix It, Trick It but it's not in front of me. IIRC power windows means Torsen for sure. Good story, too.

I'm not challenging Keith's knowledge here, but I think I determined at some point that every '96 with power mirrors also had a Torsen.

Cousin_Eddie Reader
11/15/17 8:36 p.m.

FWIW, my car has power antenna, power windows, and power mirrors all.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/15/17 11:33 p.m.

Maybe it was power mirrors. There's one tell for all the NAs, not just the 1996. Regardless, cousin Eddie has it covered.

For your suspension, I personally would run the Konis at full height and use a set of FM springs. Stiffer rate = less bumpstop engagement so they ride very well. Using the lower perches on stock springs will cost you bump travel, so you'll hit the stops more often. That said, the 1996s were REALLY tall to start with so you'll probably only drop it to 1995 levels wink I'll admit that my parents' Miata is on Konis (top perch) and stock springs with a set of FM sways.

You are correct that the FM upper mount do come with bumpstops. Your stock upper mounts may still be good, you can visually inspect them. They're interchangeable front and rear, so as long as you can find two acceptable ones you've got enough.

759NRNG Dork
11/16/17 10:35 a.m.

Is the PU for sale? wink  Great score Cuz!!!!

Cousin_Eddie Reader
11/19/17 11:59 a.m.

I got the car legally transferred and registered in my name. The first thing I did after that was drive over to the previous owner's house and give her back her license plate and show her what I'd done to the car. She cried. I guess she didn't believe me when I told her I'd care for her car better than anyone else would.

Added front and back lips. They are the typical eBay cheapies. A little time with my heat gun and careful installation with good hardware made them acceptable.

I know the broken power antenna is repairable, but I just didn't want to.

So I swapped it to a fixed antenna and added a Stubby. So far, no complaints about poor reception. It's a 20 dollar made in USA antenna so hopefully it performs better than the 8 dollar Chinese ones (I tell myself that to ease the guilt for paying over twice as much)

Then Friday night, to celebrate, I took my wife for her first ride in the car. We went to dinner in the swankiest restaurant in our one-stoplight town.

On the way back home I began to quickly loose the clutch. The advantage of living in a little town like we do is that this isn't a real white knuckle emergency. It's only a few blocks home from anywhere.

The slave cylinder had given up.

The master cylinder shows signs of having it's original 21 year old fluid in it.

And it was headed out the door too.

So I did what I do, and shot the parts cannon at it. Amazon Sunday delivery to the rescue. I even threw a Goodridge hose in on the order.


Now, I'm just waiting to see what Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, etc, sales pop up soon. There is a lot more good stuff in store for this car.

Cousin_Eddie Reader
11/19/17 12:07 p.m.
759NRNG said:

Is the PU for sale? wink  Great score Cuz!!!!

Not for sale at this time. I'm planning on taking it to Goodguys in the spring and see if one of those guys with deep pockets pries it from my hands. I hear a lot of stories about these C10s selling at GG events for what I consider inflated prices. I love inflated prices when I'm the seller.

docwyte SuperDork
11/19/17 12:15 p.m.

You stole that.  Even without the hard top it was a very good deal, with the hard top, forget about it!

I can't find a miata with hardtop here for that kind of money, let alone a one owner one...

Woody MegaDork
11/19/17 8:55 p.m.

Nice car! That was a bargain.

I had a '96 in the same color.

Woody MegaDork
11/19/17 9:00 p.m.

I had a set of Konis set to the lowest setting with '96 springs and FM bumpstops on my '95 M.

I would get some noisy tire rub on the plastic under the driver's side front fender on hard right turns, but only with winter tires (185/60-14). It was annoying, but it didn't happen with the summer tires (195/50-15).

Woody MegaDork
11/20/17 8:17 a.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie :

I tried to reply to your email but it bounced back to me. Can you send me an updated email address?

Bibs New Reader
11/20/17 2:13 p.m.

Nice NA, I loved my 1994.

Small easy fix: gently pull the trailing edge of the headlight covers to line up properly with the hood...common Miata thing, they get bent down a little when someone is leaning over them, working on the car.

BoxheadCougarTim MegaDork
11/20/17 2:48 p.m.

BTW, for some reason the clutch fluid in these looks ancient within 6-12 months, even out here in the desert.

Nice find, my last NA was that colour.

Cousin_Eddie Reader
11/20/17 5:48 p.m.
Woody said:

In reply to Cousin_Eddie :

I tried to reply to your email but it bounced back to me. Can you send me an updated email address?

I consistently fail at this particular forum board.

Firetruck203 ( at )  gmail

Woody MegaDork
11/20/17 7:57 p.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie :

You (might) have mail.

thedanimal HalfDork
11/21/17 11:01 a.m.

Man. You're making me miss my M-Edition I had a few years ago. Image may contain: car, sky and outdoor

Cousin_Eddie Reader
12/2/17 3:36 p.m.

While waiting for all my Black Friday brake and suspension parts to arrive, I decided to make a project of doing maintenance on the doors.

-New ABS plastic door panel boards

-Porsche square weave vinyl covering material (1 yard)

-Closed cell foam padding under the vinyl

-Porsche type of door pull straps

-New outer window weatherstrips (IL Motorsports)

-New door panel clips

-New Delrin window rollers

-A pair of budget Kenwood 6.5 speakers

I'm kind of eccentric in that when I pull a door panel off I always replace the clips. Every time. I know they are reusable but new ones are tighter gripping and aren't brittle. I found an Auveco number for the clips which gets you a box of 50 clips for five bucks. Much better than that foolishness of buying blister pack stuff at the parts store or paying 1-2 bucks each at Mazda.

I like the VW/ Porsche square weave material. It was 16 dollars per yard at the local supply house. I'm going to go back next week and grab another few yards to have on hand so I can use it for seat cover inserts when I do seat upholstery, to tie it all together with the same theme.

As a taller fellow, long of leg, I gained a ton of knee room by deleting the original arm rest units.

As an added bonus, the power windows work well now that I cleaned all the tracks, replaced the rollers with Delrin and used Shin-Etsu grease in the appropriate places.

Next update should be Konis, FM springs, upper mounts, and bumpstops, Racing Beat sway bars and end links, stainless brake lines, brake maintenance, master cylinder brace, and probably other stuff I'm forgetting.

BoxheadCougarTim MegaDork
12/2/17 3:49 p.m.

Wow, I really like the redone door cards. Good job!

fasted58 MegaDork
12/2/17 4:04 p.m.

door cards look awesome

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