I've been a lurker here for a while, and an active forum participant at mx5cartalk.com for a few years. My thread on that forum with more back story than I'll post here is here: mx5cartalk.com ? View topic - Mx5, Chapter 2
If you do wander over there, you'll notice my forum handle is "The American" - I'm sure there are are other US Citizens on that site but it wasn't taken, so why not. I'm also an Australian passport holder, hence "The Australian".
I'm currently driving my second Mx-5. The first was rescued from under a tarpaulin in a backyard next to a Toyota Soarer that was intended to donate it's V8 heart for a transplant to the Mazda. This was it as I found it:
and just before I sold it:
It was naturally aspirated, so I wont talk more about it here. I sold it when I moved interstate a few years ago, which presented the opportunity to re-populate the garage and this is what I ended up with:
A 2003, with big heavy wheels and an AVO turbo kit, being run with the factory ecu and a piggyback no one appears to have heard of. It had some good bits and bad bits, but was a good starting point for the money.
The good bits were the well built engine (Carillo H-beam rods, Arias 8.5:1 pistons, ARP bits holding things together, 3.6 ratio set up with a Torsen II, and some passable Tien coilovers. The engine management was a very bad bit, and as this was my first aftermarket turbo car, took me quite a while to sort out.
It is now running on a Haltech ECU, ID1000's, NB8A return fuel system and RRFPR, and is running on e85 at about 250whp.
As it stands now:
...and here's a clip from the last sprint event I ran at (some/all of my hand work on the wheel is embarrassing in this clip - I promise you, it's top of my list to clean those habits up!) :
...and the last hillclimb: