A brand-new Miata hardtop for less than $800? | Project Endurance Race Miata

Tom
Update by Tom Suddard to the Mazda Miata project car
Nov 16, 2022 | Mazda, Hard Top, Endurance Race Miata, Treasure Coast Miata, Maita

Forget $7 Apple stock, ignore Tesla, and skip big pharma: The best investment on the planet is probably OEM Miata hardtops, which have skyrocketed in price to be worth as much as $3000 in decent condition.

And though this project has been far from the cheapest Miata we’ve ever built, we just couldn’t stomach bolting that much cash on top of our race car when the rulebook didn’t require it.

That left us with a choice: Race al fresco with no roof, or find another way to cover the hole.

We wanted a roof for better aerodynamics and more safety (they’re great at keeping limbs in and debris out in a crash), so we called up Treasure Coast Miata.

Besides selling used parts, they also stock brand-new items, including a line of leightweight hardtops. The pitch is simple: Brand-new tops with less weight (only 15 pounds) than the OEM top at a price that’s a third of what you’ll find on the used market.

It seemed like the perfect fit for our race effort, so we added the $755 hardtop and a $240 street kit (which includes a Lexan rear window, seals and mounts) to our shopping cart.

Once the top arrived, we had it vinyl wrapped to match the rest of the car, then went to work installing the window.


We’ve played with Lexan before, so this was more of the same: Paint a frit around the border for a clean look, install a seal on the hardtop, then drill holes and bolt them together.

After a few hours of tinkering, our hardtop was ready to install. We used the supplied Treasure Coast brackets, but should note that the OEM “Frankenstein” bolts aren’t used. These aren’t necessary for a race car, and skipping their mounts saves more weight.

This is when we’d usually complain about the fit and finish, as aftermarket fiberglass is notorious for needing some final adjustment during installation.

Treasure Coast Miata even states a warning: “Please note, all fiberglass parts take some customer finishing for final fit to the vehicle.”

And, well, we don’t have any complaints. It wasn’t perfect, but we didn’t tweak, adjust or grind a thing to install this top on our race car. Overall, we’re blown away by how similar the experience was to installing an OEM hardtop.

For about $1000, we’d solved our “there’s a giant hole in the car” problem. Next step? Add a giant wing of course–this is a race car, right?

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Rodan
Rodan SuperDork
11/16/22 8:29 a.m.

 

For about $1000, we’d solved our “there’s a giant hole in the car” problem. 

Don't forget to add ~$350 shipping if you're not in south FL.  TC will combine several hard tops in one box if you can find a couple friends to club up with to reduce shipping.

It's a great top for a track car, but after having both OEM style and the TC lightweight, I wouldn't use a TC top on the street.

Here's the box it ships in:

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/16/22 9:18 a.m.

Do remember that some sanctioning bodies, I think mostly RallyX, require an OEM hardtop. 

 

Personally I think once my car gets a cage I am going to oversize it for more room and safety, so I'll have to build my own roof if I want covering. 

 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/16/22 9:30 a.m.

In reply to AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) :

Solid advice. It's definitely checking check with your sanctioning body before doing anything drastic.

FooBag (Forum Supporter)
FooBag (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Reader
11/16/22 11:20 a.m.
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) said:

Do remember that some sanctioning bodies, I think mostly RallyX, require an OEM hardtop. 

 

Personally I think once my car gets a cage I am going to oversize it for more room and safety, so I'll have to build my own roof if I want covering. 

 

Non-OEM hard tops are now allowed in SCCA rallycross in the Modified classes with a roll bar.

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/16/22 1:28 p.m.
FooBag (Forum Supporter) said:
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) said:

Do remember that some sanctioning bodies, I think mostly RallyX, require an OEM hardtop. 

 

Personally I think once my car gets a cage I am going to oversize it for more room and safety, so I'll have to build my own roof if I want covering. 

 

Non-OEM hard tops are now allowed in SCCA rallycross in the Modified classes with a roll bar.

Thanks for that info! Glad to hear it too since they are getting so expensive. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/16/22 1:54 p.m.

Are new OEM hardtops available again?

Kitsbeach (Forum Supporter)
Kitsbeach (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand New Reader
11/18/22 8:04 p.m.

How does it attach and is it removable quickly.?

Rodan
Rodan SuperDork
11/18/22 9:10 p.m.
Kitsbeach (Forum Supporter) said:

How does it attach and is it removable quickly.?

It all depends on how you attach it.  On mine, it's 6 bolts.  I used the standard style brackets on the front, and made my own mounts off the roll bar in the rear.  On/Off in 3 minutes.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/18/22 10:22 p.m.

In reply to Kitsbeach (Forum Supporter) :

It bolts onto the factory latch mounts, so maybe 10 minutes to remove. 

te72
te72 HalfDork
11/19/22 6:08 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

Are new OEM hardtops available again?

That would definitely be on my list if it is the case. I sold the hardtop from the 02SE that we turned into an Exocet, to the guy who bought the shell. Seemed a color matched top should go with the car it belonged to, after all. That and the Titanium paint would have looked funky on my silver 99.

 

That said, my car's softtop is developing holes, and I always did like the hardtop on her car...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/21/22 11:08 a.m.

I thought I recently saw Treasure Coast Miata offering new OE hardtops as well. If not on their site, maybe give them a call. 

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/22/22 7:44 a.m.

OEM hardtops are another item that's been hammered by the SM tax. They were rare to begin with, and IIRC both SCCA and NASA require OEM hard tops for competition. In a world where 14 year olds from well-heeled families race $80k Miatae in what sometimes amount to crash-up derby, this is the unfortunate and inevitable result. SM is usually some great competitive racing, but I feel like the class has jumped the shark for lunchbucket types who just want good clean racing on a budget.  It appears that B Spec is the new SM, SM is the new SRF, SRF is the new FF, etc. 

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