See now there's a winning attitude ( put me in coach, I'm ready to play??) I'll admit we came down on ya pretty hard. Mostly because, a lot of us have made those mistakes (like I might have said I myself included). The miata I bought and have now, most all of the appearance changes made, were not made by me and were like that when I bought it. Some I wouldn't have done, others I might have.
You made a pretty big gamble getting a car like the one you did. When I'm car shopping, if I know I will be modifying the car and want a good engine and build, I don't look for cars already modified. I infact avoid them like the plague. It basically shows to me the person was interested in hot rodding the car, and could easily have screwed something up, or just been a all around jackass with the car, burn outs, street racing...you name it. This applies even to those who modify appearance before performance, because yeah they've got a nice looking car they want to show it's more than a pretty face.
Pretty much the largest thing you have to benefit from, is actually that you are in Texas. It might not sound like a whole lot but you guys don't have salt on the roads for 1/4 of the year. So if you get a car from someone even a regular owner who drove it nearly never or one who drove it daily. There's going to be less required mantinance on their part. You don't have to worry so much about rusty rockers, corrosion of boots and bushings and general underbody suspension mess.
I like some pretty distinct things about your car, first..color. It's a pretty nice color, not exactly edgy or dazzling, but it's got its own flavor. While the hood scoop is somewhat functional...it's oddly placed, and the valve cover paint is too much IMO. I like the interior, pretty tastefully done I'd say especially if you concider mine
I even would say the non-functional side scoops are pretty decently done, though not something I would personally do. About the only thing everyone can pretty much decide lookes kinda "eh" is the roof scoop (which could not possibly be functional) and the thing that HAS TO GO, is most certainly the stripe down the off center of the car.
It actually shouldn't take muc effort on your part to strip that stripe off your car. It's vinyl and hopefully won't bring the paint with it (though you mention maaco). If you feel you must do some sort of painting to the exterior to make the car "yours" I'd say paint the hard top black, it shouldn't be too expensive and because the hard top isn't manditory for driving you can do the prep work (sanding). I would say then in addition to the hard top being painted I'd say the window surround should also be painted black (a arms and top of window) to match, it'll make it flow much better.
Hope this helps, and certainly we can help in the mechanical department as well.
Edit: Couple things I noticed as I looked back over the pictures, Does your stripe really only go over half your car?? (if so take it off ASAP!. The intiror while pretty nice is trashed up by 1 thing. Diamond plate floor mats. They are gaudy and make your interior look cheesy. Get some standard miata black floor mats in there and it'll help contrast more with all the red (becuase there is a lot of it). And, really as soon as you can, get rid of those exhaust tips, they look ready for the Delorean and a Flux Capacitor. I would even question the Dual exhaust set up. Does you exhaust really route to both sides of the car? (single tips if so, single Tip (1 on correct side) if not, and modestly sized, nothing over 2.5 inches really)