Uploaded a few photos.
Miata Turbo Forum - It's the Cat's Meow - Loren's Album: Pictures of Fred - Picture
A little background on me, this car and what I'm trying to do with it:
I've learned that I'm one who doesn't need a "fast" car. I prefer to "drive a slow car fast". That's not to say that I don't enjoy a little power... but I'm not looking for a 200 hp Miata.
For a street car, I'd rather drive something that has limits that are "achievable" than to drive a car that has some much grip and performance that you can do "anything" with it. To me, it's sort of harkening back to the original "sport" in "sports car". If there is no challenge or risk involved, it's not as much fun. Driving a car that can take a 35-mph curve at 90 without missing a beat at 60-70 mph is sort of fun... but it's not really a challenge, and those kinds of speeds are just trouble on the street. Whereas, driving a good-handling car that feels really good going around that 35-mph curve at 55-60... and you actually feel like it takes some level of driver SKILL to achieve that... that's what I'm after.
I have an appreciation for lightness and all the goodness that goes with it. Given that and the above, I think I'll be happy with something under 2000 pounds with 130-140 hp.
I'm not a "show and shine" kind of guy. As long as my car is pretty much all the same color and has a generally pleasing shape, I'm okay with it. But, I do like "creature comforts", and the car has to at least be nice enough and civilized enough that my wife will ride in it. That means full interior, full glass, air conditioning, and not TOO loud and rattly.
I drove my '96 Miata for 6 years with the top down 98% of the time. After I sold it (and the '90 beater that I owned after it... and ended up driving a Yaris for 2 years), I realized that it's nice to not be sunburned all the time. I decided to be a "coupe" guy. (and I bought a Z4 Coupe... which is another story, and part of why I don't feel compelled to have a "really fast" car)
So, what it comes down to is this: I'm most comfortable driving a small, light, nimble car. And I like driving a "beater" that I don't have to worry about. I also like owning a car that is affordable to buy, easy to get parts for, and easy to work on. I'm still a Miata guy at heart!
Enter: Fred, my '91 Miata.
I picked up Fred from the second owner (who had owned it for 16 years and taken good care of it... but had let it get cosmetically "old" over the years) about a year ago for $1k with 113k miles and blown rear brake calipers. I immediately spent $300 replacing all the calipers/rotors/pads. Then I did the clutch. Then the diff gave up and I did an NB rear subframe swap with a '95 Torsen. And when a red hard top came up, I snagged it and bolted it on with brackets (no latches and no soft top). I'm trimming weight here and there on the car (light wheels, light flywheel, gutted bumpers, removed carpet padding, etc).
So, now I've got about $4k in the car (what the hell happened to my "cheap" beater???). And just dropped another $600 on the MS3.
But, I'm having fun with it, and it still puts a smile on my face. What else matters? I figure if I'm spending less than $3600/year on my car hobby, I'm still far ahead of the average person with a $3-500 car payment.
As a footnote: When I bought the Yaris, I got into "hypermiling", so that's a bit of a side-hobby for me, too. I've seen 48 mpg out of Fred on an economy run... hoping for 50 next time.