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TXratti
TXratti New Reader
8/15/19 2:22 p.m.

I recently drove a friend's miata at an autocross and fell in love a bit... Looking around, prices seem to be all over the place!

I'm looking for an NA or an NB, but when an NA can range from $500-$6,000 and an NB from $2500 to $10,000 idk what to think.

I'm not looking for perfection, but hoping to find a good driver, not a project. Some cosmetic (or even minor mechanical) damage is ok by me to get the price down, what is a reasonable price for one? Are the days of cheap, good miatas gone?

Edit: Thread progresses into my miata purchase and subsequent mods and Autocrosses

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
8/15/19 2:25 p.m.

I think the price floor for a reliable, functioning, but scruffy Miata (NA or NB) is around $2500 right now.  Cheaper is possible but you might need to cast a really wide net to get it.  Up by me, the asking prices are high right now but will drop in a few months as people remember that snow is a thing.

TXratti
TXratti New Reader
8/15/19 2:27 p.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Yeah, unfortunately snow is not a thing in TX... but the heat is, holy heck.

Robbie
Robbie UltimaDork
8/15/19 2:27 p.m.

There's one for $500 on this forum in ATL right now I thought!

Needs a few hours of rachet strap and tree work is all.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UberDork
8/15/19 2:28 p.m.

In reply to TXratti :

Well, then you're looking for a black on black one with no A/C and broken power windows, right?  cheeky

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
8/15/19 2:29 p.m.

Unlike most cars, Miatas are priced by condition and not age.  You might be better off paying more for a '94 that is low mile and well cared for than an '08 that is generally rough.  

TXratti
TXratti New Reader
8/15/19 2:33 p.m.
John Welsh said:

Unlike most cars, Miatas are priced by condition and not age.  You might be better off paying more for a '94 that is low mile and well cared for than an '08 that is generally rough.  

Good to know, that seemed to be the general trend. I walked away from a 96 that was fairly good mechanically but REALLY scruffy on interior cosmetics, ripped soft top, and surface corrosion (sat with a rip in the top for a long time). I offered 1300, guy was asking 2k. I may need to up the budget slightly.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
8/15/19 2:38 p.m.

Miata Wiki for NA, NB, NC, ND definition

Another conventional wisdom is that a NB is a better car but a NA is a better Miata.  This follows along that with every generation they became better cars (but maybe not better Miatas.)  

A 1990 Miata is a spartan place (AC and cruise were options.)   That spartan-ness is akin to the British roadsters.  By 2008 and the NC you have modern conveniences like steering wheel radio controls and a much quieter interior.  So, decide what you really want out of the Miata ownership experience.  

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
8/15/19 2:51 p.m.

When you say good driver do you mean good daily driver?  Or more like good autocross driver, mechanically sound but some scratches and dings.  Because I've found the second category for $1500 and less regularly.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
8/15/19 2:58 p.m.
John Welsh said:

... decide what you really want out of the Miata ownership experience.  

I think this is especially true if you're serious about autocross. First, decide what class you're going to be in, then you pick the car to fit that.

I've bought two Miatas in the last 2 years, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the car. I was thinking to do both track days and autocross.

The first one was a 2001 sport, with the extra bracing, larger brakes, 8 inch wide wheels, lightweight flywheel plus a hardtop and roll bar.

It would have probably needed at least another 4 to $5,000 in modifications to be competitive in the autocross class it fell in. The previous owner had also changed the driver's seat and steering wheel.

I decided to only do autocross, and ruled out the track days.

I sold it and bought a 99 sport that trophied at Nationals. 

pleiades
pleiades New Reader
8/15/19 3:02 p.m.

Look in the rural areas since you're in Texas. It seems that the larger cities people tend to think more of Miatas, and price them higher.

I found a 130,000 mile 2002 with a hardtop for $2950. It was also winter. The previous owner used it has a commuter car. It wasn't perfect, it sat parked on the street when he wasn't using it. The top almost looked like it had never been up, and he had every record since new. This was a little outside Wichita Falls.

TXratti
TXratti New Reader
8/15/19 3:05 p.m.
infinitenexus said:

When you say good driver do you mean good daily driver?  Or more like good autocross driver, mechanically sound but some scratches and dings.  Because I've found the second category for $1500 and less regularly.

The second category. My goal is to run ES class in autocross (I'm skipping over hotboi modified cars), $1500 was about what I was expecting, but even for some of the not super clean cars, people want (relatively) big money (closer to $4k).

 

edit: I don't intend to try and be nationally competitive, so I'm not necessarily chasing a '99 sport package (see next post)

TXratti
TXratti New Reader
8/15/19 3:09 p.m.
Floating Doc said:
John Welsh said:

... decide what you really want out of the Miata ownership experience.  

I think this is especially true if you're serious about autocross. First, decide what class you're going to be in, then you pick the car to fit that.

I've bought two Miatas in the last 2 years, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the car. I was thinking to do both track days and autocross.

The first one was a 2001 sport, with the extra bracing, larger brakes, 8 inch wide wheels, lightweight flywheel plus a hardtop and roll bar.

It would have probably needed at least another 4 to $5,000 in modifications to be competitive in the autocross class it fell in. The previous owner had also changed the driver's seat and steering wheel.

I decided to only do autocross, and ruled out the track days.

I sold it and bought a 99 sport that trophied at Nationals. 

The '99 sport seems to be the killer combo. I did a bit of research and at the 2018 Solo nats, you had to go to 44th place to find the first miata that wasn't a '99. I would have figured, at face value, that a 96/97 would be fairly competitive with the 1.8 motor in the lighter NA chassis, but the stiffer NB chassis and all the Sport package goodies (and slightly more power I believe) bring the '99 over the top.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/15/19 3:30 p.m.
TXratti said:
Floating Doc said:
John Welsh said:

... decide what you really want out of the Miata ownership experience.  

I think this is especially true if you're serious about autocross. First, decide what class you're going to be in, then you pick the car to fit that.

I've bought two Miatas in the last 2 years, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the car. I was thinking to do both track days and autocross.

The first one was a 2001 sport, with the extra bracing, larger brakes, 8 inch wide wheels, lightweight flywheel plus a hardtop and roll bar.

It would have probably needed at least another 4 to $5,000 in modifications to be competitive in the autocross class it fell in. The previous owner had also changed the driver's seat and steering wheel.

I decided to only do autocross, and ruled out the track days.

I sold it and bought a 99 sport that trophied at Nationals. 

The '99 sport seems to be the killer combo. I did a bit of research and at the 2018 Solo nats, you had to go to 44th place to find the first miata that wasn't a '99. I would have figured, at face value, that a 96/97 would be fairly competitive with the 1.8 motor in the lighter NA chassis, but the stiffer NB chassis and all the Sport package goodies (and slightly more power I believe) bring the '99 over the top.

The NB 1.8 engine is very different to the NA 1.8.

TXratti
TXratti New Reader
8/15/19 3:57 p.m.
z31maniac said:
Quotes quotes quotes

The NB 1.8 engine is very different to the NA 1.8.

In what ways? 

codrus
codrus UberDork
8/15/19 4:46 p.m.
TXratti said:

The '99 sport seems to be the killer combo. I did a bit of research and at the 2018 Solo nats, you had to go to 44th place to find the first miata that wasn't a '99. I would have figured, at face value, that a 96/97 would be fairly competitive with the 1.8 motor in the lighter NA chassis, but the stiffer NB chassis and all the Sport package goodies (and slightly more power I believe) bring the '99 over the top.

The 99 is actually lighter than the 97.  That's not true of NBs in general vs NAs in general, but the weight ranges of the two generations overlap and the 99 sport is one of the best power/weight NA/NBs they sold (excluding the MSM).

 

cdeforrest
cdeforrest Reader
8/15/19 6:02 p.m.

If you're going to seriously track it, it pays to get one already modified for that duty.  Spec Miata cars up for sale all the time, ready to go.

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
8/15/19 7:56 p.m.

If you are just going to do local autocross I suspect that a good driver can do well regardless of which version you go with. 

While I love the NAs it most definitely true that the NB is a better car.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Dork
8/16/19 1:01 a.m.

You can always come to Dallas and check out my 94.  I would sell it, but I'd keep it too.  I'm not hurting either way.  Work keeps me to busy to do the things I'd like to do with it, and I have other cars.  It's a laguna blue a package car with limited slip, power steering, etc.  It's beautiful too.  I have sway bars, put on new shocks, have a Harddog bar that needs installed still, and tons of other things for the car. 

Or you can troll CList and see if you can get lucky.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/16/19 5:51 a.m.
TXratti said:
z31maniac said:
Quotes quotes quotes

The NB 1.8 engine is very different to the NA 1.8.

In what ways? 

Bottom end is basically the same, but with higher comp pistons,  the head is a different casting with different port angles to make more power. If you step up to an 01+ VVT 1.8, the VVT adds a nice chunk in the midrange. 

moxnix
moxnix HalfDork
8/16/19 6:51 a.m.
TXratti said:
Floating Doc said:
John Welsh said:

... decide what you really want out of the Miata ownership experience.  

I think this is especially true if you're serious about autocross. First, decide what class you're going to be in, then you pick the car to fit that.

I've bought two Miatas in the last 2 years, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the car. I was thinking to do both track days and autocross.

The first one was a 2001 sport, with the extra bracing, larger brakes, 8 inch wide wheels, lightweight flywheel plus a hardtop and roll bar.

It would have probably needed at least another 4 to $5,000 in modifications to be competitive in the autocross class it fell in. The previous owner had also changed the driver's seat and steering wheel.

I decided to only do autocross, and ruled out the track days.

I sold it and bought a 99 sport that trophied at Nationals. 

The '99 sport seems to be the killer combo. I did a bit of research and at the 2018 Solo nats, you had to go to 44th place to find the first miata that wasn't a '99. I would have figured, at face value, that a 96/97 would be fairly competitive with the 1.8 motor in the lighter NA chassis, but the stiffer NB chassis and all the Sport package goodies (and slightly more power I believe) bring the '99 over the top.

Don’t forget that the 99 has a 4.3 diff instead of the 4.1 that the NA has also. 

TXratti
TXratti New Reader
8/16/19 10:25 a.m.
z31maniac said:
TXratti said:
z31maniac said:
Quotes quotes quotes

The NB 1.8 engine is very different to the NA 1.8.

In what ways? 

Bottom end is basically the same, but with higher comp pistons,  the head is a different casting with different port angles to make more power. If you step up to an 01+ VVT 1.8, the VVT adds a nice chunk in the midrange. 

Funny you say that... a 2001 with an LS package and the 6 speed followed me home yesterday!

kazoospec
kazoospec UltraDork
8/16/19 11:53 a.m.

In reply to TXratti :

"Followed me home" in the "I bought one" sense, or "followed me home" in the "I need to reevaluate my security budget" sense?  Truthfully, those of us who own Miatas are justifiably viewed with the same suspicion as, say, the Moonies.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/16/19 11:56 a.m.
TXratti said:
z31maniac said:
TXratti said:
z31maniac said:
Quotes quotes quotes

The NB 1.8 engine is very different to the NA 1.8.

In what ways? 

Bottom end is basically the same, but with higher comp pistons,  the head is a different casting with different port angles to make more power. If you step up to an 01+ VVT 1.8, the VVT adds a nice chunk in the midrange. 

Funny you say that... a 2001 with an LS package and the 6 speed followed me home yesterday!

Congrats!

TXratti
TXratti New Reader
8/16/19 12:03 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

Thanks! Super clean. Some Hotboi cosmetic mods (tinted headlights, thick/dark windhshield tint banner, cold air intake, big Aluminum shift knob), but otherwise stock. Trading the cold air intake for the stock intake box today, as I intend to compete in E Street for autocross.

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