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octavious
octavious Dork
3/15/20 8:10 p.m.

So I sold my Mustang, and I'm looking for something I can daily drive, abuse, and use for Motorsport (I wanna try rallyx, autox, and possibly track). The plan is this will be my daily, and for now fill the fun/backroad/Motorsport/take a kid to school car until the 911 is finished.  And I do like convertibles. Once the 911 is finished it will still be my daily, and motorsport car. I would prefer a manual and RWD. 
 

I think I'd like to spend $6k or less. The Answer seems to be the answer, but I don't know enough about them. I've seen NA, NB, and a couple NC in the price range. Which would be e best?  I'm supposed to look at a 2003 tomorrow.  Can someone educate me on them? 

Other things I've looked at and I'm kind of all over the place, are Porsche 944 and Boxster (IMS), MR2 (if you could find it), Solstice?, Sky?, Fiat 124, old aircooled VW, Z3?, Z4?, and 350z?  I'm learning that I  like light cars and not heavy cars. I like to wind the gears and take a corner fast rather than go super fast in a straight line. 
 

Thanks

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/15/20 8:26 p.m.

I have literally written a book on this :)

Drive one of each, decide which one suits you. The NA and NB are very similar under the skin but the chassis did get stiffer. Still, a good NA will be nice than a haggard NB. The NC has a very different feel, so I'd recommend you experience it first. 

Best bang for the buck is in the NB IMO. They're fully depreciated but haven't started to climb out of the abyss yet, while the NA has. A good 2003 is a good car - it's as stiff as that platform ever got, with the best headlights and seats. I like the level of involvement for a DD. NC is a better overall driver (especially with a good suspension under it) but I like the NB better.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/15/20 8:30 p.m.

NA and NB are pretty much the same car, the NB is an NA that went clothes shopping.

NBs have better seats, a little more power (especially the late VVT ones) and tend to have a little less interior space due to the "plusher" interior. Lots of aftermarket stuff like rollbars, turbo kits etc.

NC is a different car - it's essentially a shortened RX8. They're a bit better for taller drivers and have a bit more interior space. Big issue with NCs is rollbar availability, there are only one or two bars available that don't require massive compromises and are SCCA legal (only know I know of is the Blackbird Fabworx one). NC didn't quite gain the track following that the NAs and NBs have.

pimpm3
pimpm3 UltraDork
3/15/20 8:58 p.m.

Try an mr2 if you can find one.  I had a v6 1991 a few years ago and it was awesome. 

I have had several third gens and they are hard to beat in an autocross, but they certainly lack storage space.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/15/20 8:58 p.m.

There's not really any less room in an NB other than maybe a on the door panels. The leather seats are bulkier or at least feel that way - but a well-done foamectomy is easy and gives you better comfort, better grip and more room.

The NC Hard Dog bar is NASA legal. Not sure what would keep it from being SCCA legal, but Blackbird won't say, simply yells a lot about legality. None of them are very wide due to restrictions imposed by the top, so I put them under the "letter of the law" compliance at best. I'd prefer not to roll one. But that's not a factor in a daily driver street car hopefully.

octavious
octavious Dork
3/15/20 9:34 p.m.

Thanks. I'm supposed to look at an 05 tomorrow, all stock except wheels. I also found a 99 with lots of mods, coil overs, hard top, top and bottom end refresh? Somewhat near me, and a 06 that I messaged about and no response. 
 

So is the consensus that I can rule the others out for being wrong for the assigned task? I like cheap parts and reliability on a DD. 

Nitroracer
Nitroracer UltraDork
3/15/20 9:44 p.m.

All of the miatas I have brought home have been under $6k, and that includes two NAs and one NC.  I've driven a friends NB and I think it makes for a good middle ground in value and performance.  You really have your pick at that price point, and it comes down to your preference.  If you haven't been in any of the three it might be worth trying them all.  

One thing to note, if you are interested in running rallycross that does require a hardtop and NA/NB hardtops are much more prevalent and less costly.   

Daylan C
Daylan C PowerDork
3/15/20 10:18 p.m.

NB door panel and dash are a bit bulkier. I just bought an '02 NB and got to sit an NA the day I picked it up. The NA definitely has more room around my legs. I haven't gotten to autocross my NB yet but I'm loving it on the street. 

dps214
dps214 Reader
3/15/20 10:47 p.m.

Boxster is "the answer" for rallycross if you want to win everything forever and in a car that works amazingly out of the box. Also very good on track and IMO a better street car than a miata. Fun enough for autocross but not at all competitively classed. Miata might be the better answer on average in that it's competitive for autocross, "good enough" to be reasonably competitive for rallycross, and decently fun on track as long as you don't mind getting passed by anything and everything on the straights. I do think that the same amount of money gets you a lot more car with the boxster, but there's definitely some risk involved and slightly higher overall cost of ownership. Boxster hardtops are harder to come by than miata tops but not really any more expensive if you're patient. IIRC mine was around $1100 shipped to my doorstep, and I missed out on one on local-ish craigslist that I probably could have had for under $1k. Hardtops for pretty much any of the other options are nonexistent or incredibly hard to come by for a reasonable price which rules out rallycross and arguably track use. In my experience a Z3 for under $6k is either a basket case you really don't want to deal with, or a four cylinder model which doesn't really have any advantages over a miata aside from a slightly nicer interior.

ChrisLS8
ChrisLS8 Reader
3/15/20 11:08 p.m.

I don't know anything about Miatas but I will say I never recommend using your daily as the "do it all" vehicle, especially dealing with rallycross

octavious
octavious Dork
3/16/20 4:24 a.m.
pimpm3 said:

Try an mr2 if you can find one.  I had a v6 1991 a few years ago and it was awesome. 

I have had several third gens and they are hard to beat in an autocross, but they certainly lack storage space.


3rd gen the early 2000s bodystyle? I looked and saw a handful of those.  Any more info you could give on those?

NickD
NickD PowerDork
3/16/20 6:30 a.m.
octavious said:
pimpm3 said:

Try an mr2 if you can find one.  I had a v6 1991 a few years ago and it was awesome. 

I have had several third gens and they are hard to beat in an autocross, but they certainly lack storage space.


3rd gen the early 2000s bodystyle? I looked and saw a handful of those.  Any more info you could give on those?

The 3rd-gen MR2/MR-S is definitely worthy of looking at. As a Miata owner, I was highly impressed with the MR-S. Stock for stock, I'd take the Toyota every time. Absolutely brilliant chassis. The 1ZZ-FE is not a huge powerhouse but its no slouch and it is smooth all the way to redline. Plus the 2ZZ-FE is dang near a bolt-in swap and gives it a sizable power bump. The only downside to them is that they have much less cargo room, so if you are trying to use it as a regular car its less practical. And like the QR25 Sentra SE-R, these have an issue with the pre-cat degrading and then sucking chunks back into the engine and causing them to burn oil like crazy.

octavious
octavious Dork
3/16/20 8:39 a.m.

Several NAs and NBs I've seen have recent engine rebuilds listed. Mileage on those seems to be 150k+. Is that pretty common mileage for a rebuild?
 

In route now to look at a 05 stock except wheels 153k miles. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
3/16/20 8:40 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

There's not really any less room in an NB other than maybe a on the door panels. The leather seats are bulkier or at least feel that way - but a well-done foamectomy is easy and gives you better comfort, better grip and more room.

The NC Hard Dog bar is NASA legal. Not sure what would keep it from being SCCA legal, but Blackbird won't say, simply yells a lot about legality. None of them are very wide due to restrictions imposed by the top, so I put them under the "letter of the law" compliance at best. I'd prefer not to roll one. But that's not a factor in a daily driver street car hopefully.

Yep, and he charges an outrageous amount for his roll bar because of it. 

There is no practical reason that his rollbar should cost 3x what a Hard Dog bar does. 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
3/16/20 8:47 a.m.

I own an NA.. sat in a NC at a track day..  Holy crap.. so much room.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/20 9:36 a.m.
octavious said:

Several NAs and NBs I've seen have recent engine rebuilds listed. Mileage on those seems to be 150k+. Is that pretty common mileage for a rebuild?
 

In route now to look at a 05 stock except wheels 153k miles. 

Depends on the life the car has led. I've seen turbo cars go over 300k and I've seen a naturally aspirated car need a refresh at 80k - but it had a neglected life. It would take something fairly exceptional to require any engine work before 150k, and 200k would not surprise me.

octavious
octavious Dork
3/16/20 10:41 a.m.

First one was a bust. Leaking oil all over the front, timing cover missing, top leaked, clutch was horrible, missing the cat and muffler, exhaust pipe banging off the bottom, needs an alignment, and the paint was jacked. Asking price was $3k
 


 


 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/20 10:49 a.m.

If you want a $6k car, don't look at $3k ones :)

 

The leather has about a two week lifespan. A cloth interior will be in better shape.

octavious
octavious Dork
3/16/20 12:48 p.m.

 @Keith, but this is GRM where we only buy unloved projects right?

 

I'm supposed to look at a 2003 this afternoon described by the seller as: 

"I’m selling my Mazda MX5 special edition. Manual 6 speed transmission Great running car. Belts and timing belt was changed at 100k. New clutch and tires. Top is clean with no rips or tears. Clean title never been wrecked.  The exterior color is Navy blue with grey interior. Mileage is currently at 100,590. This is not my daily driver."

It's priced at $6500. 


 

 

And I really want to go see the one described by the seller as:

"Engine completely rebuilt have parts list of engine rebuild with all ARP Hardware all new seals. have receipts. Engine has 15k miles on it lowered on koni 7 coil overs. Brand new tires only 300 miles Perfect alignment. Has aluminum radiator and coolant line upgrades. All fluids flushed and change regularly including shift billet fluid. I’m a technician so I do it myself filled with proper race fluids.

Has flyin Miata stage 2 happy meal clutch and flywheel 15k miles on clutch. Hardtop in excellent condition no leaks. This is the ls model so sport brake kit and sport suspension and handling."  
 

it's not local so I'd like to at least drive a nice one before I make the trip for the modded one.He sent pics of the rebuild and pics of the receipts. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/20 1:12 p.m.

Stage 2 happy meal? You only do that if you're expecting serious power. Either the car has a turbo in its history or he was preparing for one and didn't get there.

octavious
octavious Dork
3/16/20 1:27 p.m.

Keith- he said that was the plan but never got there. 

Floating Doc
Floating Doc GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/16/20 1:34 p.m.

If it's important to you, then I recommend you consider whether the lightweight flywheel is going to put you into a seriously non-competitive class in autocross.

octavious
octavious Dork
3/16/20 8:07 p.m.

So the 2003 this afternoon wasn't bad. It had some rattles here and there (around the driver side window being the most annoying) The clutch on this one seemed different than the Mustang I just sold. Almost like I had to give it waaaay more gas to get it going.  I actually like the layout of the car, as far as switches and controls. It's a little weird having the 220+ owner ride with you and be so dang close. My knee bangs the center console pretty good, which was also the case with my wife's former Mazda3, maybe I am man-spreading too much.  I also have to learn the secret method to getting out of one gracefully as I feel like a walrus backing off an ice shelf. I think this one is over priced,  so the search continues. 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/16/20 8:25 p.m.

In reply to octavious :

There are almost as many ways to fall out of one of these gracefully as there are to exit a Lotus Elise, which is to say, not many.

Either that or I'm naturally clumsy. Our cats are pretty adamant it's the latter.

octavious
octavious Dork
3/16/20 8:33 p.m.

@Keith does this still apply with regards to the NC?

 

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/tech-tips-200615-mazda-mx-5/131268/page1/

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