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 Post subject: Miata Newbie Wanna Be
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 
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New-Tral
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Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 20
Location: Trinity
City: Trinity
Name: Jim
Model Year: 2002
I have been thinking for quite sometime about purchasing a Miata and possibly doing some mods to it and having some fun racing. However, that being said....It has been very confusing as to know what year and model to get in an what to expect. I would like to spend less than 7,000.00 to start my new hobby. Anyway, thank you all for any input you could give me. Thank you again in advance. Jimmy

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 
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Idling
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Location: Plant City
Model Year: 1996
What are your plans for the car? Daily driver, weekend cruiser, autocrosser, track days? This will help narrow it down.

For $7000 you can get a nice 1.8 NA ('94-97) with suspension, wheels, and a turbo from time to time. You could get a nice NB ('99-05) with a few less modifications for that price as well.

This one's over near Orlando and has a MK Turbo kit and a MS3 ECU: https://www.miataturbo.net/cars-sale-trade-6/2000-turbo-miata-94439/

It probably makes about twice the stock horsepower with that kit, depending upon the tune.

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'96 Turbo Trackhoe, GTX2867R, 326whp/308wtq, MS3 Basic, Wilwood 11.75, MSM Bilsteins, 550/350, etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 
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New-Tral
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Location: Trinity
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Model Year: 2002
I think that i would like to try autocross, my wife has had three and I am not very handy but i would like to have one to drive on weekends and also maybe race, I do like the idea of a turbo, not sure how much horsepower that it will put out. Thank you for your assistance, it can be very confusing

.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 
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Accelerating
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Location: NE St. Pete.
City: Grove City
Name: Steve
Model Year: 1996
If I were in your situation I would just buy an older (mechanically sound) NA/NB to start with. They can be auto crossed in stock form and then later modified or exchanged for a different model depending on which route you ultimately decide to pursue.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 
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Location: Trinity
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Model Year: 2002
Thank you so much for your input! I really appreciate it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 
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Idling
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Location: Plant City
Model Year: 1996
This was my car at about that power level at Sebring (with a few other mods). That car already has a legal rollbar so you can do this stuff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwHPsSbqRAU

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'96 Turbo Trackhoe, GTX2867R, 326whp/308wtq, MS3 Basic, Wilwood 11.75, MSM Bilsteins, 550/350, etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 
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Model Year: 2002
That was absolutely awesome, thanks for the video!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 
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Idling
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Model Year: 1996
It takes better brakes and tires, too, but that MK Turbo kit and MS3 ECU and possibly the suspension that car in the link comes with will get you what you saw there.

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'96 Turbo Trackhoe, GTX2867R, 326whp/308wtq, MS3 Basic, Wilwood 11.75, MSM Bilsteins, 550/350, etc.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 
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MedcnnmanRN wrote:
I think that i would like to try autocross, my wife has had three and I am not very handy but i would like to have one to drive on weekends and also maybe race, I do like the idea of a turbo, not sure how much horsepower that it will put out. Thank you for your assistance, it can be very confusing.

I'm going to differ from what Sixshooter is saying just a little bit.

Because you say you're "not very handy", and it's obvious that you don't have a lot of "car guy experience", I'm going to suggest that you STAY AWAY from a highly modified car. The last thing you need is to inherit somebody else's project. You'll likely end up with either monstrous repair bills (assuming you can find someone who's willing and able to understand the mods that were done to it) or a fancy garage ornament.

You want to start with the most stock and unmolested car that you can find. Miatas handle mileage just fine, as long as the owner maintains and doesn't abuse the car. Rubber parts get hard and fail with age, however. So, unless you want to be replacing everything from door seals to engine mounts to suspension bushings to belts and hoses and everything between, you should probably try to get the newest one you can afford.

For $7k, I'd suggest a later "NB" (say 2003-2005) or an early "NC" (2006-2010). You should be able to get a good example of either for somewhere around $7k.

They are very different cars. The NB is smaller and a couple hundred pounds lighter. The last iteration of the "classic" Miata chassis. The NC is a completely different car. A little larger, a little heavier, but a solid 30 more horsepower. And it's still a Miata... it "feels" like a Miata, in spite of its added weight.

Get yourself a good stock one. Learn about the car while you work through the inevitable "deferred maintenance" that goes with buying an older used car. Start autocrossing if that's your desire, and learn to drive it well. THEN you can think about modifications... and either do them yourself, or at least make the DECISIONS yourself and have a competent mechanic install them. Do it that way, and you've got a car that you understand rather than a mystery that someone else did a bunch of modifications to.

Pro-tip: if you want to get into autocross, you don't have to wait until you purchase your Miata. As long as you're not driving an SUV or minivan, you can probably autocross what you're driving now and get started up that learning curve. And while you're learning, you can see what others are driving, get to ride in different cars in different states of modification, maybe even drive some of them.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 
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Location: Trinity
City: Trinity
Name: Jim
Model Year: 2002
Loren,
Thank you for your input, I really appreciate it. I agree, I think I should look for a good newer stock Miata and go from there. Thank you again for the tips and I look forward to meeting you.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 
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Idling
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Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 276
City: Lakeland
Name: Jim
Model Year: 2002
Im going to second Loren, with one minor change;
I say look for a 2001-2002. DON'T get an automatic.... 5-speed's are good, 6-speeds are stronger- but non turbo you may never break a stock 5-speed anyway. Ive got a 2002, so I am biased, but 2003 and newer came with a weaker rear diff, assuming you get the "posi" like most people call them.
The newer 2001+ models you should look for have leather seats, bose stereo and power windows. By having those options it will ensure you get the "posi" rear diff, so you drive both rear wheels not just one. 2001 and up have the most powerful 1.8 liter with VVT. and the most factory chassis stiffening. If the car still has the factory yellow shocks- thats another plus. The stock yellow shocks are know to be great even for racing, and are much better matched to stiffer springs than they are/were to the weak stock springs. Like Loren said- don't be afraid of higher mileage. Be prepared to do routine maintenence like complete fluid changes to all systems, likely a new radiator, probably a timing belt/water pump, etc. These parts are not expensive, and are honestly easy DIY projects that will get you closer to your car. There are plenty of people around to help you too.

Quote:
Because you say you're "not very handy", and it's obvious that you don't have a lot of "car guy experience", I'm going to suggest that you STAY AWAY from a highly modified car. The last thing you need is to inherit somebody else's project. You'll likely end up with either monstrous repair bills (assuming you can find someone who's willing and able to understand the mods that were done to it) or a fancy garage ornament.

You want to start with the most stock and unmolested car that you can find. Miatas handle mileage just fine, as long as the owner maintains and doesn't abuse the car. Rubber parts get hard and fail with age, however. So, unless you want to be replacing everything from door seals to engine mounts to suspension bushings to belts and hoses and everything between, you should probably try to get the newest one you can afford.

For $7k, I'd suggest a later "NB" (say 2003-2005) or an early "NC" (2006-2010). You should be able to get a good example of either for somewhere around $7k.

They are very different cars. The NB is smaller and a couple hundred pounds lighter. The last iteration of the "classic" Miata chassis. The NC is a completely different car. A little larger, a little heavier, but a solid 30 more horsepower. And it's still a Miata... it "feels" like a Miata, in spite of its added weight.

Get yourself a good stock one. Learn about the car while you work through the inevitable "deferred maintenance" that goes with buying an older used car. Start autocrossing if that's your desire, and learn to drive it well. THEN you can think about modifications... and either do them yourself, or at least make the DECISIONS yourself and have a competent mechanic install them. Do it that way, and you've got a car that you understand rather than a mystery that someone else did a bunch of modifications to.


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