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Duke
Duke SuperDork
9/21/11 8:55 a.m.

Miata, Civic, Neon, Sentra SE-R, MR-2, E30 or E36 non-M 3-series - all are good starter choices with lots of development support. Find the nicest one with a manual transmission that fits your budget with some money left over for maintenance and refresh. Good luck!

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/21/11 11:36 a.m.

In reply to Duke:

Thanks Duke. Yeah, I think I might just have to go with what fits my budget.

Is there like a mileage range that I just shouldn't touch?

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
9/21/11 11:55 a.m.

For your budget, i wouldn't be worrying about mileage. As long as it's in good working order, mileage doesn't matter.

Before two months ago, my LOWEST mileage car was my Cherokee, at 177k miles.

I'd add Celicas, MX6s, Protege/Escort/MX3/Tracer/323 to the list as well, but i'm biased a bit.

Duke
Duke SuperDork
9/21/11 1:04 p.m.

Or the Escort ZX2 also seems to have a following, as well.

On the mileage, it really depends on the car, in this price range. I'd take a 200,000-miler that looks like it's been reasonably well maintained over a 100,000-miler that has had the oil changed twice in its life, and the timing belt never.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/21/11 3:47 p.m.

Going to check out another Miata in a few hours. 91 for about $2200 gonna talk him down a bit. It most likely needs a good oil change from the sound of it but he sounded like an honest man.

So I will go with cash in hand, drive it around, and see what he says. Wish me luck.

P.S Besides the fact that it will need an oil change, I am going to do a complete tune-up, cleaning, probably new brakes, etc... Want to make sure it's in decent shape before getting it on the track.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/21/11 10:22 p.m.

So I checked out the Miata and it was a bad deal. He wanted 2100 for it and the engine was clacking, and the catalytic converter was shot and making a noise, it died on us twice while testing it as well as the clutch wasn't very good.

Also, the interior sucked! So tomorrow we're seeing another Miata which I saw photos of from the lady the other day. I think hers is much better. I'd just have to deal with her for an hour or so and I will have a nice miata with a little bit of hail damage.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/22/11 10:51 a.m.

Update: Looking at a better looking Miata today. Driver drives it around and will be driving it halfway to meet us. So obviously it's already running better. He says there is no body damage, and they seem like a nicer person as well. So wish me luck, if I don't have that one tonight. I will just look at the one tomorrow.

Also, sorry if I am bugging everyone. Just like getting the feedback and advice from you guys. Can't wait til I find something so I can take some photos of it and post them on here.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/22/11 12:47 p.m.

You are not bugging, I have just been busy.
Be picky on choosing, there are good deals out there and there is crap.
Find a seller who seems to have cared for the car not just used it up.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
9/22/11 2:28 p.m.

^This.

But be prepared for all the deals in the world to pop up within an hour of you the day after you return home with your new purchase.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/22/11 2:37 p.m.

Sounds like you've got good advice and a good starter plan. I agree with keeping the car stock to start. Take some driving courses if you can - good instruction will ALWAYS cut more time off yout laps than ANY hardware upgrade. The easiest and cheapest improvement you can make is always on the driver.

It sounds like you're already on it, but trust your gut when you drive a car. The right one will tell you it's the right one. Impatience is your enemy. You will be much better off waiting for a good car than settling for a decent car.

And we ALL know how hard it is to live into THAT statement!

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/22/11 8:27 p.m.

Guess what guys!

https://picasaweb.google.com/101532498974757914184/MyMiata?authkey=Gv1sRgCN2ixZuIp4OP0gE#5655360336914164978

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
9/23/11 7:01 a.m.

Looks pretty clean so far....

More pics!!!!!!

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/23/11 8:14 a.m.

Here are some more photos. I went during sun-up this morning just before work so I didn't have too much time, but tomorrow it will be completely clean for some better photos.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/23/11 8:32 a.m.

Ooops Im sorry I forgot the link.

https://picasaweb.google.com/101532498974757914184/MyMiata02?authkey=Gv1sRgCLqNmq-n-KbpiwE

Duke
Duke SuperDork
9/23/11 1:27 p.m.

Shiny and straight looking. Nice score!

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/23/11 1:50 p.m.

Looks like a '91 or '92 unless it is a '90 that has had the front bumper repainted. In '90 there was a mazda name sticker on the front bumpers.
Looks good!

The back window looks very clear. My guess is that the top or at least the window has been replaced - which is good.
Miata back windows require special car as does to whole top in general. I am still on my original top on my 95k mile '90. My theory for all these years to add no chemicals to the top. No soap, no armor all, no treatments, only liberal amounts of water. You can scrub it with water if needed. The chemical give a short term advantage and a long term dis-advantage (in my opinion.)

As for the rear window I use this process:
1. While seated, unlatch roof near visors
2.Spin in the seat and with roof still up (but with the tension off by having undone the latches) zip down the window. Top is still up.
3. Now stand and lean over the side to smooth out the window. Cover plastic window with a towel or accessory known as a window protector.
4. With window down smooth, now reach forward and fold the top down.
5. Once down lean over and smooth out the pleats of the folded top, especially near where the latches are.
6. Close the latches for less wind noise.
7. Cover with boot cover if you have one to reduce the fading of the underside.

When putting the top up, I zip first then latch so that the tension is not on the zipper while pulling.

Sure, you can put down the top without unzipping but this creates a fold in the window and the window will wear out quickly

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/23/11 1:58 p.m.

It's a 90 :) After work today going to replace the spark plugs, make sure the oil is ok (otherwise change it) clean it up, spend some time with it, etc...

Been a while since I have driven a manual car, but it was like riding a bike.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/23/11 2:08 p.m.
adrianrodriguez wrote: but it was like riding a bike.

Does this mean that you expect to fall down and skin your knee while driving the miata?

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/23/11 2:15 p.m.

In reply to jrw1621:

lol No it just meant it was easy to remember. :P

N Sperlo
N Sperlo Dork
9/23/11 2:23 p.m.

Looks like these guys have you covered. I really don't have anything to add, their pretty smart and seem to be behaving themselves. Take some time to clean up the Mazda, work out the kinks, and being a Miata owner, you already have more in common with these folks than me! Good luck.

Welcome.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/23/11 10:42 p.m.

In reply to N Sperlo:

Thanks! Stoked!

Replaced the plugs and wires with some quality high performance ones this afternoon. Brakes are good, but definitely going to upgrade them when I get the money, hopefully before the end of the autocross season here. I wat to try and do my first race next month. There are two more left after this weekend.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/24/11 4:18 p.m.

OMG TODAY WAS AWESOME!

Can't wait til you guys see the blog post about it. I learned so much and got to ride a bunch of times, just talked to people and learned a ton, became an SCCA member and am ready for the last three events of the year.

It's going to be awesome!

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