Well, I'm back from a year of deployment. I had two goals while I was there - Pay off every single bill that I owe (Student loans, car loans, etc. etc.), and save up some extra $$$ to throw into my hobby once I got back home.
Surely you've guessed, the Miata is the 'hobby' in question. A 1994 A-Package in classic red. I picked it up from the local stealership for $6k (this was before I knew better) in 2004 with just under 60k miles on it when my trusty silverado (1990 black, short cab, full bed, 5.7L, 200k miles) blew out a rear main seal, and my dad convinced me it wasn't worth the work to replace.
When I bought the Miata, I had searched probably 15 lots in the columbus area, and was ready to go home for the weekend. At each dealership, I gave the used car salesman two requirements....
It had to be a two-door
It had to have a five speed
I got a "sorry, don't have anything like that" at basically every dealership...the sneaky ones also tried the "but maybe you'd like....instead".
Convinced my dad to stop at one last dealership before going home. He didnt even get out of the car. Met the salesman at the door, gave him the requirements, and got a "yeah, we got that, right over here".
We took a short test drive, talked loan terms, and slept on it. Came back the next day, and after some quick paperwork I had the keys to my shiny new 10 year old red car (and my first car loan payment). I didn't even know what a Miata was, just that I had a Miata, and some ****-eating ear-to-ear grin.
50k miles and 4 years later I knew what a gem of a car I had - and I finally saved up enough to drop into an FMII Hydra kit, with all the supporting mods. I spent much more on that purchase than I had on the car itself when I bought it - but I've always had a theory - "do it right, the first time"
I put an NB Head on the car at the same time I did the turbo. Had a few kinks to work out at first, but eventually I got it all worked out. Right about the time I had everything working in near perfect harmony I got a phone call:
"Hey, it's the battalion commander, you sitting down?"
"No, Sir. I'm standing next to a Humvee." (I know it's spelled HMMWV)
"Well, you might want to lean on it..."
It was a 30 day notice that I was getting deployed. Son of a Bitch!
Well, I got deployed, and so sat the car.
I did manage to get it to a couple auto-x before jumping the puddle.
At one point, it was driven from Columbus, OH to LA for R&D of FM's 3" NA Exhaust. It was some guy I had never met, most of you will know him as VagaXT or Sonny. They fitted it with a new 3" exhaust after the design was approved, and the car sat for several months at my aunt's house in LA until I got home and drove it back.
The day I got home from LA, I drove it into my garage, parked it, and started tearing it to teensy little pieces. I had lots of new toys to add to it. This is where my build begins.
First off: Maybe it actually began when I was in LA with the car for a week. I ordered FCM Coilovers, new brake pads, rotors, an FM front sway, and some end-links. I had most of it shipped straight to my aunt's house. I kinda felt like a terrorist when I checked my bag with a huge front sway bar duct-taped to the outside of it...
The first thing I did after I got home was tear out the engine...I've never done something like this before, so no idea what to expect - and couldn't find anyone to help out :(
Note to self: Take off the shift lever next time - what a pain in the *** THAT was!!!
Also took out some other fun parts:
Rear differential out - took it out as a single unit with the PPF because of that pesky exact fit sleeve thing -
And some new toys going into the diff
Of course, had to rip most of the 3" exhaust out to get to anything...Only thing left on the car is the muffler.
The engine bay is ugly as all hell without an engine to plug things up - WTF am i going to do with all this crap?
Here's the random odds and ends that came off the engine before I took it to the shop. Lots of extra crap laying around.
I just dropped this pretty thing in tonight. Walbro 190lph HP fuel pump. Next time I do a fuel pump, I might take off the soft top first - it might almost be easier...
Additionally - I decided to do a foamectomy, but to the extreme. Screw taking out just the foam. I took out the seat covers, the headrest speakers, the seatbelts, the rails...all of it, gone. You wont believe how much legroom and headroom I have now!! The passenger side too!!! :P
Here are the seats, out of the car:
And here are the katzkins leather pieces going on them. These seat covers are absolutely gorgeous, top rate. I ordered twin seat heaters too, but I haven't gotten them yet, so the seats will sit until I get the heaters.
Accompanied by some new Clearwater headrest speakers, of course:
While deployed, I picked up a mazdaspeed tranny off here (MT.net) in the classifieds. I didn't get a shifter with it, the whole assembly was another couple hundred dollars :( I'm glad I made the purchase though. The red tranny fluid that I put into the 5-speed about 10,000 miles earlier was now a very pretty metallic silver color. Hmm...how odd....
Old and busted on the right, new hotness on the left:
There are plenty of other fun things that haven't been installed yet. Obviously some of them require an engine first:
M-tuned coolant reroute kit:
Hydramist WI System:
Mazdacomp Motor Mounts:
Garage Vary Front Lip:
FM Hard Line Kit and Silicone lower radiator hose:
Also have engine internals that I never got pics of - Belfab Rods, Supertech 9.0:1 Pistons, ARP Studs, Boundary Engineering Oil Pump, ATI Super Damper Pulley, and probably some other parts that have skipped my mind.
Current status of the engine - It's at my builder right now, Stewart Engines out of Indianapolis. They've been doing lots of fun things with it. Basically rebuilding the whole thing - the bottom end with parts I have supplied. They are doing a full top end rebuild with a supertech kit they sourced with slightly stiffer springs. They will be gasket matching the IM, and porting the internal wastegate on the 2560. I had overboost issues after the install of the full 3" FM exhaust, so hopefully the wastegate porting will solve the issue. They are also drilling and re-tapping the exhaust manifold and turbo housing to accept M10x1.5 Studs as opposed to the M8 Studs supplied by FM. I am currently working with Stephanie at BEGi to get an Inconel turbo stud set from them when they become available, hopefully this month. It's probably overkill, but I like the possibility that I can "fix it and forget it"
The differential is across the street from the engine builder at AIM Tuning - getting the 3.636 R&P put in it.
I've been looking for a hardtop for quite awhile now. I finally found one, reasonably priced, on craigslist about two weeks ago. $3500.
The best part is, it came with a "winter beater" attached to it!!!
This was as I bought it:
Here it sits in the garage with my stock '94 wheels on it, blizzaks mounted:
I'm still not sure if I want to keep the top and sell of the car this spring, or keep the car as a winter car...
And I got an extra set of wheels from the guy too...I think i'm beginning to have too damned many wheels/tires. I have two sets of wheels and tires for every vehicle I own now, except the motorcycle...and I already have the second set of wheels for that - just waiting for a summer track day to put slicks on those wheels.
Make that FOUR sets total of miata tires/wheels:
And two sets to fit a mitsubishi montero sport - a 3-season set, and a snow set.
My power goals are 300 RWHP. If I can make more than that safely, then it's just an added bonus. I have no intention to track the car, but it does see auto-x duty. The idea is a suprisingly powerful and fun daily driver. It won't look 'overdone' from the outside. The only hints that a passing motorist will have is the FMIC in the front and a 3" Exhaust coming out the rear. From the side, you'll see only the 6ULs wrapped in RS2's (ok, RS3's eventually) and the ever so slight suspension drop - if you know what you're looking for.
I have ideas for how best to 'gauge' the interior. If I can get the motivation and the resources, I've got an idea in my head for the 'best' way to get two gauges in the car to look stock, and damned good.
For the exterior, I was considering just a classic red, or slightly darker red repaint. After having the black NB for a couple weeks, I think I may have changed my mind. It looks like the car may end up black, with a bold 'racing stripe' design I have in my head.
I'll update as I go - or as I remember to.