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Old 02-09-2014, 05:50 PM   #1
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Default Finally pulled the trigger on the car I've wanted for a decade!

Hello from Michigan!

A little about me. I was reading the "Ultimate "NOOBS Read This First STICKY!"" thread and I seem fit under the 30y.o, 2 kids and a mortgage category pretty well. I am a collision tech by profession, ASE master mechanic and body tech for 10 years now. My dad and I started building and racing karts when I was 10, moved to auto-x at 16, Spec Neon at 18, and then started to do rally events around age 22 (navigating mosty, some driving). Since getting married and having children I've only been doing auto-x occasionally and HPDE once a year if I'm lucky.

I've built quite a few race cars over the years, most of which were hot hatches, Focus SVTs, tube chassis MKII VW GTIs, and Spec Neon. I also rotisserie restore old cars as a side business.

About 10 years ago I drove a friends NA miata around Gingerman Raceway and immediately wanted one. I went on the search and kept finding cars listed for way over blue book, I guess what the community would call a "Miata Fortune". Other projects came up and the miata hunt went on the back burner. My wife often mentioned how nice it would be to have a cool car to drive around when the kids were at Nana's house, I guess she didn't like romantic dates that involved heltmets, ear plugs and sixpoint harness. What did she expect? She met me at the SnoDrift Rally in northern Michigan.

Now to the 97 Miata. I have had it roughly 6 months now. Exterior was in rough shape but no rust, no HT, soft top was destroyed. Engine compression tested good across all cylinders, no leaks, firm clutch, and at a good price. I did the needed bodywork first, then moved onto suspension and safety. V-Maxx Xtreme stage 2 on sport springs, FM sways, RB links, 225 RS3's on 15x8's, frog arms, FM frame rails and butteryfly brace, Brembo blanks with Hawk Hps. The safety stuff I put on is HDHC Crossbar roll cage, Ultrashield drivers seat, Sparco Sprint V pass. seat, Simpson FX series 5-point harness, Momo Prototipo wheel with Momo hub and NRG QR.

After all of that, I got it on the road for the remainder of the summer to see how it reacts to the improvements and also to determine what kind of power I was going to need to keep me happy. I toyed with the idea of a 5.0L swap for a bit because I have one laying around but I didn't want to throw my weigh distribution off so much when I could just go turbo for the same power, but cheaper. That is when I landed here. As of right now I have MS installed with MTX-L and a GM IAT on a otherwise stock engine. I fiddle with it everyday a little and I'm learning a ton. I may drive it this summer NA with standalone while I gather funds for the turbo that I'll install late fall. I would like to see around 220-230hp, so my plan was FM II no electronics, 700cc injectors (so I have a little room to grow) along with a clutch/flywheel.

I'll have to go out and take some pics, I'm really bad about it. My wife is always saying "You make all these beautiful cars and you don't take a damn picture of any of them". I guess I started building them too early and its just like mowing the lawn to me, who takes a picture of their lawn after they mow it? No one.

To end, I have been a lurker here for quite awhile. I usually don't post on any forums much but I thought I should come in and say thank you for all the hard work you guys have done and thank you for posting so much of it here on miataturbo.net. The amount of information that is here is fantastic and easily available if you know where to look. I look forward to setting a miata noob on the right path just as you guys did for me. Very much appreicated.

-FlyingBrick

Oh, and umm fat cat.

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Old 02-09-2014, 06:06 PM   #2
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Epic first post! I'm in the same boat as you with the mortgage, two kids and same age, so good value motorsport always interests me!

Welcome!

Cheers
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:19 PM   #3
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Welcome to the site. Sounds like you're already on the right track and you know what you want.

If you need reassurance, i've got a 250-300hp(who knows it keeps changing) miata not far you. I'm always willing to give people rides. There are a ton of well modded miatas in the SE michigan area.
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Old 02-09-2014, 07:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erat View Post
If you need reassurance, i've got a 250-300hp(who knows it keeps changing) miata not far you. I'm always willing to give people rides. There are a ton of well modded miatas in the SE michigan area.
Thanks for the offer, I will have to take you up on that this summer. I haven't yet been in a miata with little more than N/A bolts-ons.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:23 PM   #5
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Found a coupe pics my wife took, and one I took of the interior tonight.

First day of ownership:


About 2 months later:


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Old 02-10-2014, 09:30 AM   #6
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Thanks for joining, FlyingBrick!
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingBrick View Post
I toyed with the idea of a 5.0L swap for a bit because I have one laying around but I didn't want to throw my weigh distribution off so much when I could just go turbo for the same power, but cheaper.
I don't know too much about the 5.0 swap but I hear that the LS motor swap doesn't really upset the balance too badly.

In my opinion, under 350hp the cost equation works out in favor of the turbo route. Over 420hp or so the LS becomes overall a better choice. I have heard you can do an LS swap for about 6-10k with lots of DIY and used parts, and I know a turbo and accompanying mods that will handle that kind of power will cost you about the same or more. Heck, I did a lot of used part shopping and my build (including stuff like clutch etc) is running about $4k.

Still, a 200hp Miata is nothing to sneeze at. What is your "purpose" for the car? You mention your wife wanting a car that is more livable, yet I see a good bit of race focused work in that pic. What is your end goal use wise?
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:10 PM   #8
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If I had to guess it would be 85% sunny day car, the other 15% will be split between autox and HPDE. I'm not building it for any specific class, just fun. I'm going to try and get add much track time as I can in the next few years because my son is already showing interest in kart racing. That will take probably take my track time up, but I'm really excited to get him out there regardless. The car probably won't see more than 4 or 5k miles per year. I have a lot of other cars to rotate through. The car is still very livable in my wife's eyes, she has a comfy sparco seat she picked out herself and she doesn't have to duck into the car around a full cage. She's happy.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiburbian View Post
I don't know too much about the 5.0 swap but I hear that the LS motor swap doesn't really upset the balance too badly.

In my opinion, under 350hp the cost equation works out in favor of the turbo route. Over 420hp or so the LS becomes overall a better choice. I have heard you can do an LS swap for about 6-10k with lots of DIY and used parts, and I know a turbo and accompanying mods that will handle that kind of power will cost you about the same or more. Heck, I did a lot of used part shopping and my build (including stuff like clutch etc) is running about $4k.
Also I completely agree with you Chib, there becomes a point at which a LSx swap would be cost effective, I doubt I'll ever hit that point. Now if I had a LS1 sitting in my garage and not a ford 5.0, I would be doing an LS swap instead of going turbo. The 5.0 simply weighs too much with the iron block.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:57 PM   #10
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Curt is a local, and he has an absolutely insane LS swapped Miata. I have yet to ride in / race it.

Summer time can't come fast enough.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:31 PM   #11
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Curt is a local, and he has an absolutely insane LS swapped Miata. I have yet to ride in / race it.

Summer time can't come fast enough.
Agreed, this is the never ending winter it seems. I guess its suppose to hit 30* sometime this week, I joked with my wife that I'm taking the miata out that day, lol.

The LSx swapped miatas have to be beasts to drive. There is an older gentleman that I've seen twice around the Hartland area that has one. Never talked to him, just seen him driving by. The exhaust note was unmistakable.
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