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For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

Project cars, modifications or other general showoff

Moderators: Greg, Hatchtopia, needthatcar, julkinen, Graverobber

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WolfgangHimmelgeist

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For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostSat Feb 25, 2012 3:04 pm

Sportscars have been my passion for most of my life. Being a student however means pretty low budget for cars. My daily transport for the last three and a half a year has been a surprisingly trusty Peugeot 406. The idea of buying a cheap sports car never seemed to be possible and I had always thought I have to wait quite long until I've enough money to buy used 996 or something similar.

For American and British members it might sound funny, but the idea of getting a Miata had never crossed my mind. It was only during the year 2010 when Evo Magazine published a "100 Greatest Driver's Cars" article when I realized and old NA chassis Miata could be a perfect tool for me.

Fast forward another year and I had move to Stuttgart, Germany for an exchange. After seeing couple of examples only good for parts I found one right next to the French border.

It wasn't perfect. Couple of dents here and there, some trim missing and little bit of surface rust. But mechanically it was spot on and it had all documents, original spare wheel etc. A hard top was a nice thing to have too, since this was late September and I only managed to secure a spot in a garage a day after I had bought the car.

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This was taken couple of weeks after the purchase. The original 14" Daisy-alloys had seen better days and the front reflectors had gone missing when the nose cone had been repainted. I found 15" wheels made by BBS for a pretty nice price, but they're noting like BBS RSs or other two or three piece items.

So what would be the most stupidest thing to do with a car you've only had for a five months or so, but most of those the car has been sitting in a garage waiting for summer? Do a 2500km long road trip through the hardest mountain passes in the Alps.

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Rally fans of you might recognize the Col de Turini hairpins. Truly a magnificent piece of road.

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Gorges du Verdon is a breathtakingly beautiful place in France. This is actually the place where Top Gear filmed Audi RS4 vs. mountain climbers clip.

Luckily the MX-5 was up to its reputation and not a single thing went wrong. And driving a nimble well balanced roadster through the best road Europe has to offer (we covered all the roads shown in Top Gears "Greatest Driving Roads in the World" episode as well as some other greats used by Evo Magazine) was something I will never forget.

Last autumn I moved back to Finland and took the Mazda with me. I had enough time to attend three trackdays before the car went to winter hibernation once again.

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Huge thanks for Joose for this picture http://raparperi.1g.fi!

For the last three months I've almost completely disassembled the suspension of the car. Wishbones and rear subframe have been sandblasted and repainted as are all rust spots underside. I have a set of Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings to be fitted and I'm waiting for a delivery of BC Racing coilovers. Small bits to strengthen the chassis are yet to be ordered and I'm planning to build my own anti-roll bar to keep my head protected should the worst happen.

Needless to say the car is not going to be as good daily driver as it was before after all the modifications. I'm really waiting to see the difference in handling and its affect to the fun factor. I'm a bit worried that when I've increased the grip levels and tightened the suspension I've spoiled the light footed fun the NA is so well known, but we shall see.

My goal is to build it in a bit similar fashion as the GT3 is from a basic 911 Carrera. Something that is purpose built for driving but is still useable everyday with small compromises. Hopefully it will keep me entertained until I've enought money to buy the actual GT3 :)

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Btw, can somebody identify all cars in this picture? :)
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Kamil

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostSat Feb 25, 2012 6:27 pm

Looks clean.

Looks like a lot of Volkswagens.
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Han_Solex

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostSat Feb 25, 2012 11:18 pm

As a fellow Miata owner, I heartily approve. I have often daydreamed about shipping my car to Europe for a long vacation and touring as many mountain passes as I could find. You just lived out my fantasy ... that's awesome! Glad you're enjoying it.
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WolfgangHimmelgeist

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostSun Feb 26, 2012 1:19 am

A good budget version would be to fly to somewhere in Europe, buy a decently priced NA, drive around and then sell it. Of course it's not the same because it's not your own car, but then again you don't have to drive in French cities with your own car, and that's a big plus.
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LeftofLucky

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostSun Feb 26, 2012 6:06 am

In. Love.

I've always adored/lusted after a Miata. In fact, that's what I was actually shopping for when Ugly Horse kind of fell in my lap.

You know what this machine needs? An LS swap. Seriously. Even with a heavy Tremec behind the mill, the conversion weighs just 200 pounds more than the stock I4. Almost all of that weight is in the trans. I drove Keith Tanner's Targa Miata last year and it changed my life. It's the perfect vehicle.

http://flyinmiata.com/V8/
"Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you." ~Chuck Palahniuk
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WolfgangHimmelgeist

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostSun Feb 26, 2012 10:17 am

Sadly due to Finnish law almost any kind of engine conversion is impossible. It is already a remarkable wonder that turbo charging is possible, but even still it's legally limited to 162hp and you have to use specified components. :cry:

If anything I might swap the late 1.8 NB engine with variable valve timing, but for now the stock 115hv has to do.
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LeftofLucky

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostSun Feb 26, 2012 2:58 pm

There's certainly nothing wrong with the stock 1.6. It's a reliable little engine that won't let you get in over the chassis' head, which is always nice.

Still, I had no idea Sweden had such strict swap laws. Over here in the Wild West, if you can make it drive, it's legal enough.
"Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you." ~Chuck Palahniuk
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HooniverseJeff

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostSun Feb 26, 2012 11:16 pm

Are those your own photos?
"If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower..."
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WolfgangHimmelgeist

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostMon Feb 27, 2012 7:23 am

Yeah, all the pictures are my own apart from the drifting picture. I've been photographing some time now.

LeftofLucky, sweden actually has much looser laws, but Finland is a bit boring in these things :(
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julkinen

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostMon Feb 27, 2012 8:47 am

WolfgangHimmelgeist wrote:Yeah, all the pictures are my own apart from the drifting picture. I've been photographing some time now.

LeftofLucky, sweden actually has much looser laws, but Finland is a bit boring in these things :(


I can vouch for the pics' credentials.. And I was at the trackday where the drifting took place, and took place in the passenger seat on a few occasions 8-)
1991 Mazda 323F BG, 1990 Mitsubishi Sapporo E16A
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bzr

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostMon Feb 27, 2012 12:17 pm

Hey, you're from Finalgear! :P
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WolfgangHimmelgeist

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Re: For road and track: Mazda MX-5 '93

PostMon Feb 27, 2012 1:18 pm

Haha, yeah, I usually use the lastsoul nick, but when julkinen/public asked me to join here I said "yes, I can be your standard pedantic German who only speaks in technical terms" and ended up with this username... :D
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