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Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
1/19/21 11:54 a.m.

I keep checking this thread for pictures of your purchase. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/19/21 12:07 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
John Welsh said:

As for color or wrap.  Even just a little color added can make it personal.  I quickly found this that I like for $50

Nicely done, that looks good.

It very much reminds me of the graphics on one FM car. 

I've said before that I have grown tired of black wheels. For a little more punch and higher viz, maybe that bkack/red swoosh with red wheels or black/orange with orange wheels. 

secretariata (Forum Supporter)
secretariata (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
1/19/21 5:42 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

SC

outasite
outasite HalfDork
1/19/21 7:29 p.m.

My son DD a 2018 ND Club in Chicago and loves it.

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) UltraDork
1/20/21 8:21 a.m.

Sooooo now I'm looking at Fiat 124's. They have the stronger NC trans, all models have LSD, and the looks...my goodness the looks are so much better in my opinion. I have more test driving to do. Plus the Mazda dealer near me can't seem to be bothered to call me back.

Also they're cheaper and supposedly more comfortable.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/20/21 8:29 a.m.

This is the last year for the Fiat 124.  Might be good prices but probably limited to what's already here on dealer lots.  

https://www.motorauthority.com/news/1130768_fiat-discontinuing-124-spider-for-2021-leaving-just-the-500x

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/20/21 8:51 a.m.

I am probably going to be daily driving one by the end of the year since I get a free lease of a Mazda from work.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/20/21 8:55 a.m.

One of the great things about the Miata market (for any year Miata) is the plentifulness.  Sure, the F124 shares some of the components but things like headlights, tail lights and other trim are always going to be problematic.  This becomes more important if you plan to keep the car long term.  The F124 was only 4 years and then was never a big seller in any of those years.  I have this perception that more F124's were auto trans also.  

Yeah, if you want to march to the beat of your own drum and stand out from the more common Miata, the F124 could be the way to go.  But, if you want the strength that comes from numbers (which I would) the Miata would be my leaning.  

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/20/21 9:23 a.m.

It'd be interesting to see if it's easier to make more peak power with the Fiata, with it being turbo'd from the factory and all that. Modified 500 Abarths running 250+bhp don't seem to be that uncommon in Europe, and that's the same engine.

Although I do remember someone (Keith?) mentioning that the turbo lag on the Fiata is rather, err, old school.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/20/21 9:26 a.m.

I tried really hard to get my mom into an ND. But the mazda dealer couldn't be bothered to work with her (talk to her, give her a test drive, etc). So she went down the road to mercedes and bought their roadster. 

I hear about mazda's dealers working against them more than any other car brand. I love their cars, but I feel like they should adopt the Telsa model stat. 

STM317
STM317 UberDork
1/20/21 9:30 a.m.

One of the biggest motivations for a new car purchase is a warranty. But you have to have dealers willing to service your vehicle in order for that to be a benefit. Fiat dealers already seem pretty thin on the ground near me, and with them cutting down to a single model in the US, and now merging with PSA who is likely to kill off some brands, I'd be a little concerned about even having a place to do basic warranty work on a Fiata for much longer.

If the warranty isn't really worth anything, you might as well just buy gently used.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/20/21 10:09 a.m.
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) said:

It'd be interesting to see if it's easier to make more peak power with the Fiata, with it being turbo'd from the factory and all that. Modified 500 Abarths running 250+bhp don't seem to be that uncommon in Europe, and that's the same engine.

Although I do remember someone (Keith?) mentioning that the turbo lag on the Fiata is rather, err, old school.

Same engine but the tuning options dried up with an ECU change a year or two before the 124 hit. I haven't kept up with the state of the art but I do know the "everyone knows you can make 250 hp easily!" claims were quite wrong out of the box. And yeah, laggy. Little engine, very little spark advance. We had one at FM for a year or so, poked around with it, it never woke up. Replacing the bypass/diverter valve helped the most IIRC.

The Fiat is 100 lbs heavier than the soft top Miata with all of that weight on the nose. The RF is the same weight but it has the extra 100 lbs completely on the rear wheels. We also felt this on the track where the combination of the extra nose weight and the laggy response made it quite a different dynamic proposition from the Miata. It would possibly be a better road trip car because of the way turbos like highway use and it may have a larger boot, but it's not on the same level as a sports car. They're probably pretty cheap right about now with the model on the way out.

The looks of the 124 are funny. They look great from some angles and then you move 1' to the side and it falls apart visually. Makes for an odd car to photograph. It also has the strangest optical illusion where the hood doesn't fall away from you, so it looks like you're driving a Lincoln Continental from the driver's seat.

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
1/20/21 10:20 a.m.

It's like fiat saw all the questionable design choices that mazda made and tried to avoid them but went too far the other way. Like if you average them together you get a car with appropriately sized headlights. IMO the 124 is one of the rare cars that photographs better than it looks in real life. They look decent in photos but the few I've seen in person always look odd.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/20/21 10:29 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) said:

It'd be interesting to see if it's easier to make more peak power with the Fiata, with it being turbo'd from the factory and all that. Modified 500 Abarths running 250+bhp don't seem to be that uncommon in Europe, and that's the same engine.

Although I do remember someone (Keith?) mentioning that the turbo lag on the Fiata is rather, err, old school.

Same engine but the tuning options dried up with an ECU change a year or two before the 124 hit. I haven't kept up with the state of the art but I do know the "everyone knows you can make 250 hp easily!" claims were quite wrong out of the box. And yeah, laggy. Little engine, very little spark advance. We had one at FM for a year or so, poked around with it, it never woke up. Replacing the bypass/diverter valve helped the most IIRC.

Didn't know about the ECU change, that clearly puts a damper on things. I also didn't think it was easy - I've seen some info about builds that put out this sort of horse power, and we're defintely talking a bit more than "cold air intake and exhaust" levels of build here.

Interesting that you weren't really able to wake up that car much. That probably doesn't bode well for future tuning.

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
1/20/21 11:19 a.m.

I really like the idea of the RF (I DD a Solstice coupe myself).  I expect that you are aware that you always sit more upright in a new car you are trying than you will when you are used to it and 'slouch' a little.  Plus my normal seat setting requires that you run the seat all the way back with the seat back as upright as it will go, then run it forward a few inches, then recline the seat back until it touches the rear bulkhead or whatever it hits.

Then try it (and slouch a bit). Sometimes that is all it takes even though you think that running it at all forward of the rear-most position will be counterproductive.

Getting in and out is a different proposition. For instance a friend owns a Z4M convert and I own a Z4M coupe; my neck doesn't like to bend the way it needs to getting out of the convert with the top up but I have no problem with the coupe at all.  That sort of thing you just have to test (after nailing the best seat position).

 

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
1/20/21 2:37 p.m.
maschinenbau (I live here) said:

Sooooo now I'm looking at Fiat 124's. They have the stronger NC trans, all models have LSD, and the looks...my goodness the looks are so much better in my opinion. I have more test driving to do. Plus the Mazda dealer near me can't seem to be bothered to call me back.

Also they're cheaper and supposedly more comfortable.

First off, only the Abarth trim levels got the LSD. The lower Classica (base) and Lusso (luxury) trim levels did not get that, or have the ability to option the Recaro seats, sport mode (+ 4 hp), Brembo brakes, and had different front and rear bumper covers and wheels.

Second, I'm partial to the 124 Spider. Mostly because I own one. Build thread here on GRM. I drove both the ND Miata (RF and soft top) and the 124. I loved the way both drove. And you can feel that 100 lb difference on the nose in the way the Miata turns in. For my use as a DD and non-competitive autocross car it came down to looks. And I liked the way the 124 looked over the Miata. I'd be happy with either, but I liked the 124 better. You can read more about my experience with my car in the build thread linked above, but I'll give a few more details here.

  • My commute is 17 miles through a small town and mostly country roads, so I get to avoid being run over by inattentive drivers on the interstate (which happened twice on the drive home from the car dealer!).
  • The car is low. You stare at headlights and the tops of tires. Which is why I specifically found a car with the auto-dimming side mirror option. Unfortunately it's only the driver's side and windshield mirror, but it's better than nothing.
  • I picked the Lusso over the Abarth because I didn't like how aggressive the Abarth looked (both wheels and bumpers) and I didn't need the performance goodies.
  • At 6 foot 1 I just fit comfortably. It's tight, but there is room to move around. When my hair gets long it occasionally scrapes the "headliner" of the soft top. But I've never had an issue with a bump throwing me into the roof.
  • Yes, the turbo engine is laggy. But that torque from 2,000 rpm is fun. Drive it to see how you feel.
  • It's not going to be competitive in any SCCA autocross class. It's close in STU, but you need to dump a bunch of money in parts to get it there.
  • The optional upgraded LED lights are really nice. The inside light aims into the corner and vertical aim is adjusted based on rear suspension compression.
  • It's a rare car, especially around me. I've owned mine for a year and seen a grand total of 3 others in the wild.
  • It still makes me smile to drive it every day. Even through the snow and cold that we have right now. And the looks I get from people are amusing.

- Sean

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/20/21 2:48 p.m.

The turbo lag is exaggerated at our altitude, of course. But the flip side is that you can compensate for power loss. I know my dad liked the Fiat's power delivery, but he's not the sort of guy who builds 1200 lb cars with high compression engines and individual throttle bodies either.

Note that the RF does actually have less headroom than the soft top Miata (with the tops up, smart guys). I think it's 3/4", which doesn't sound like much but can make all the difference. Also, I believe all trim levels of the Fiat got the thicker soft top while only the GT version of the Miata did - there's a noticeable difference in interior noise. I don't recall if there's a headroom difference with it.

I think all the cars on the ND platform have the adjusting headlights. Funny thing, some of them use a sensor on the rear control arm and some of them figure it out from the onboard accelerometers. These are spookily smart cars in a lot of ways.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/20/21 2:52 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

3/4" is the world when it comes to making a body fit in a cramped cockpit!  That is enormous.

 

I'm usually happy if I can fit two hands on my head, this means I can probably wear a helmet. 

Matthew Kennedy
Matthew Kennedy Reader
1/20/21 3:00 p.m.

You know we're both the same size and shape.  I have one and fit great!

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
1/20/21 3:13 p.m.

Another thing I was reminded of: the Fiat recommends premium fuel while the Miata does not. But it does get slightly better fuel economy. I averaged 34-35 in the summer with a high flier of 41. And I'm averaging closer to 31 this winter. Something to consider.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Dork
1/20/21 3:21 p.m.

It will all be okay.

 

As a side note both a 124 and an RF live on my street. The RF is black and I drrrrroooooollll every time it cruises by. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/20/21 3:29 p.m.
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) said:

Another thing I was reminded of: the Fiat recommends premium fuel while the Miata does not. But it does get slightly better fuel economy. I averaged 34-35 in the summer with a high flier of 41. And I'm averaging closer to 31 this winter. Something to consider.

Are you sure about that? The Miata is really high compression.

Black RF is the best RF. Debadge it, put on some nice wheels and a bit of a drop and it could pass for an exotic.

ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter)
ShawneeCreek (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
1/20/21 3:42 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I just looked it up, for a 2020 MX-5. 13:1 compression and the following:

Huh. Learn something new every day. And the fuel economy difference isn't as large as I remember.

 

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
1/20/21 3:58 p.m.

Mazda gets away with 87 on their cars because the 13:1 is actually only on the power stroke from what I understand. They hold valves open a bit extra on the compression stroke I believe and that's how they pull it off.

from an old moto IQ article

To further combat detonation, the Skyactiv engine takes full advantage of direct injection’s ability to inject fuel at different parts of the 4-stroke cycle, working closely with the engine’s variable cam timing system.  Mazda’s S-VT variable cam timing system is used on both the intake and exhaust cams to combat detonation as well by giving the engine the ability to run a lot of valve overlap. 

I ran my ND1 on both and the only difference i felt was a pickup in throttle response with 93 in it.

I'm sure Keith knows part of this since FM has dealt with tuning these cars.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
1/20/21 5:02 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

 Also, I believe all trim levels of the Fiat got the thicker soft top while only the GT version of the Miata did - there's a noticeable difference in interior noise. I don't recall if there's a headroom difference with it.

 

I think that was only for the first year.

On my 2016 Club i was seeing wear marks within 2 months of ownership because i was putting the top up and down constantly in the Houston late "winter"/early spring weather.

I actually showed my car to the Mazda employee who was the director of service and warranty work for the Mazda region our Houston dealer was in.  He took photos of the wear I was seeing and reported it back to corporate. He had told me to keep an eye on it and report it to him as it got worse. All the replacement tops Mazda was installing were 3 layer tops from what I heard, and all the clubs/sports originally had 2 layer tops.

now I don't have hard evidence to back up what I"m remembering, but just adding in my 2 cents.

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