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Old 08-01-2011, 04:59 PM   #1
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Default Newbie looking for a Miata

Miata newbie here, as in don't even have one yet. Upon redeployment from Afghanistan I was thinking about picking up a car that's already turbo'd, save myself some of the trouble and benefit from their spending and all that. I'm also looking at it as a car to learn how to race in. I'm a little skeptical though. I could easily see the reason someone wouldn't buy a used car being that the workmanship and reliability would be pretty much an unknown.

On top of that I know that my mechanical skills at present don't include any kind of knowledge of turbos, or much past a 302 for that matter. If I could buy a Miata with a 302 I'd feel super comfy. My other thought is to just get a Miata and build a turbo motor.

So, a lot of talk to get at the real quesiton; what would you guys' recommendations be for buying a used turbo?

Edit: My bad. My name's Ezra, and I'm currently deployed to Afghanistan. I'm looking to learn how to race when I get back home, and I'm looking at Miatas. I would actually like to buy a Corvette Z06, but for learning purposes have decided to start with a Miata, potentially with a turbo.

I'm looking for something that would be about as low cost as you can get whilst still being reliable enough for frequent track use and maybe some autox. I'm planning on slapping about as many miles as my wife will let me get away with in about a year's time span or so, and eventually move up to said Corvette, selling said Miata... assuming I don't end up loving it too much.

And, to take a page from the ultimate noobs read this first post... I can't stand front wheel drive cars because I learned to drive in a Lincoln Mark VII LSC. I didn't even know I hated front wheel drive cars until I went out and test drove a thousand different cars before deployment. I appreciate the advice!

Last edited by emccalment; 08-01-2011 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Wrong place initially/lack of info.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:12 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by emccalment View Post
Great thread. Miata newbie here, as in don't even have one yet. Upon redeployment from Afghanistan I was thinking about picking up a car that's already turbo'd, save myself some of the trouble and benefit from their spending and all that. I'm also looking at it as a car to learn how to race in. I'm a little skeptical though. I could easily see the reason someone wouldn't buy a used car being that the workmanship and reliability would be pretty much an unknown.

On top of that I know that my mechanical skills at present don't include any kind of knowledge of turbos, or much past a 302 for that matter. If I could buy a Miata with a 302 I'd feel super comfy. My other thought is to just get a Miata and build a turbo motor.

So, a lot of talk to get at the real quesiton; what would you guys' recommendations be for buying a used turbo?
I would advise spending lots of time researching what modifications would be best for how you intend to use the car. Then I would find one for sale with a known history and a build thread on the forum. You would then be able to decide if it is a quality build or junk. At this point you don't know good brand names on parts from junk ones. Also a drag car, a street car and a track car will be built differently for different goals. You will need to know what compromises you are making with each.

Edit: And I know a McCalment that just came back from Afghanastan.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:13 PM   #3
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I moved his post here from the other thread he posted it in. I also sent him a pm about it. So hopefully he edits it a little and tells us what he is interested in.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:23 PM   #4
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What you buy will depend on your budget... how much money do you have? There are a few cars for sale right now on this forum that have been built in all the right ways. I would highly advise against buying or owning any aftermarket turbo'd automobile as you primary means of transportation. Have a second car just in case.

As far as these cars go, they're dead simple in the manner of very little electronic gimmickry. The early years are OBD1, and the curret generations of aftermarket ECU's connect to tuning programs that are easy enough to understand and tune on. There is no traction control, or driver aids other than a rudimentary ABS system that is not necessarily desireable. Everything bolts in and out with minimal fuss, and there is an immense amount of commonality amongst the years (much like all fox-body Mustange).

Most guys will find that there comes a point when they could STOP spending money and just drive their cars. The engines are Gods own gift to retarded tuners because they really are hard to hurt. Over time they lose compression as with any engine, but somewhere in the neighborhood of triple stock horsepower is attainable on a completely stock engine before you start running into problems. There is a constant need to fiddle and improve and modify, so most guys will upgrade as they destroy things, but most owners who hit 200whp can say that they probably could have been happy stopping there, although few do. Buy a car that is well-sorted, not running on the ragged edge of any one part, and just drive it.

This car comes to mind:
https://www.miataturbo.net/cars-sale-trade-6/1999-mazda-mx5-miata-%248000-00-a-55051/

If that's out of your pricerange or are looking at something different... this one I commented on months ago:
https://www.miataturbo.net/cars-sale-trade-6/1990-mazda-miata-%24%247-000-a-56650/

You can spend more or less, and get more or less. Good advice... hang out here for a couple weeks. Visit the forum every day and use the NEW POSTS button. Read everything that come sup. In a couple weeks, you'll be smarter than some guys who've been here for years, you'll be able to ask good questions, you'll have a good idea what you want, and you'll make a good purchase.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:01 PM   #5
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Edit: And I know a McCalment that just came back from Afghanastan.
That is entertaining, I don't see a whole lot of McCalment's around. Though I heard there were some lurking around Sierra Vista, AZ when I was stationed at Ft. Huachuca.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:11 PM   #6
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I didn't figure out the syntax for quoting multiple people until it was too late.

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Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
What you buy will depend on your budget... how much money do you have? There are a few cars for sale right now on this forum that have been built in all the right ways. I would highly advise against buying or owning any aftermarket turbo'd automobile as you primary means of transportation. Have a second car just in case.
The Miata would default to my DD-ish in cold weather. I have a 4x4 1500 for inclement weather, and a motorcycle for most of the nice days. As for budget, I certainly haven't put a solid number on it yet. As I edited earlier... because I'm lame. I have toyed with the idea of a Corvette, but decided the Miata would be a better starting point.

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Most guys will find that there comes a point when they could STOP spending money and just drive their cars. The engines are Gods own gift to retarded tuners because they really are hard to hurt. Over time they lose compression as with any engine, but somewhere in the neighborhood of triple stock horsepower is attainable on a completely stock engine before you start running into problems. There is a constant need to fiddle and improve and modify, so most guys will upgrade as they destroy things, but most owners who hit 200whp can say that they probably could have been happy stopping there, although few do. Buy a car that is well-sorted, not running on the ragged edge of any one part, and just drive it.

This car comes to mind:
https://www.miataturbo.net/showthread.php?t=55051

If that's out of your pricerange or are looking at something different... this one I commented on months ago:
https://www.miataturbo.net/showthread.php?t=56650
The just drive it part will be where I'll be hangin out at if I can help it. I've already got a project on my hands with both the truck and the bike. The bike's really nice and just needs some cosmetic tweaking, but the truck's gonna be a handful. If I were to spend up a little to the realm of an NB I could almost guarantee a follow on buy from my brother. But I've still got half a deployment's worth of time to sort the whole thing out. Looks like forum lurking is in my near future.

As for use of the car, I'll be looking at track as much as possible. I'm planning on the Mid-Ohio school to start, and then just acquiring as much seat time as possible and my wife will allow until either I get good enough to really squeeze the life out of the Miata or decide that I'm not cut out for a Z06, lol.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:28 PM   #7
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If you just want to race, get a naturally aspirated Miata to start and do all the suspension mods. Once you figure out how to drive it fast you can add power. You can probably get into a 91-95 for between $3,500 and $5,500. Spend about two to three grand on it (XIDA!) with suspension and tire upgrades and you will have a dead nuts reliable car to learn how to race.

If you want the turbo for daily driving I totally understand, but your money is best spent elsewhere (in my near noob opinion) if your sole interest is in tracking it.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emccalment View Post
As for use of the car, I'll be looking at track as much as possible. I'm planning on the Mid-Ohio school to start, and then just acquiring as much seat time as possible and my wife will allow until either I get good enough to really squeeze the life out of the Miata or decide that I'm not cut out for a Z06, lol.
Then you're completely fucked unless you want to actually spend used-Corvette type of money. Getting a naturally aspirated Miata to perform reliably on the track is easy'ish... getting a turbocharged one to do so is not cheap, and it's a long road.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:14 PM   #9
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A member here is selling his LS1 swapped miata. (listed on a new miata forum)
http://www.miataforumz.com/showthread.php?p=478#post478
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:19 PM   #10
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Spec Miata for you my friend. That's a sure way to maximize seat time.

Once you spend some quality time with a good Miata, I think you're going to forget about that Z06.
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:26 AM   #11
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You guys might be right about forgetting about the Z06, only time will tell. I think if I went down the route of forgetting about the Corvette I would end up doing the LSx swap. I've done quite a bit of research into it though... and it can get quite spendy. I guess N/A NA Miata it might be.

I'll still be sticking around and reading and reading and reading. Maybe I'll find enlightenment, lol.
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Old 08-02-2011, 05:15 PM   #12
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Look at it this way. You can buy and build up a first generation spec miata, and once it becomes a little too "track" and not enough "street" you can build a really nice street Miata that is either turbo or LS6 swapped as your daily using what you learned.

Or you can just buy your Z06 as a second car... Just have fun and check here anytime you want to upgrade. Its likely that if its worth doing, someone here has already done it. If nobody has done it, ask the experts.

Good luck!
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