My 1990 Mazda Miata

This is my latest toy. I originally helped my friend Ray find a Miata, since he wanted a small convertable sports car with rear wheel drive (like all true sports cars have). Little did I know that I would be instantly hooked from the instant my friend let me drive his car.....

Log:

3/23/2000
Located a used car on Autotrader.com for a 1990 Mazda Miata with 153000 miles. What really attracted me was the price. I really didn't plan to buy a car at this time, but I said before, I was hooked on getting my own Miata. The ad listed the Miata as having minor damage with a price of $3000 or best offer. I quickly called and arranged to see the car immediately after work. Upon arriving with my friend Ray, we took a quick look at the car. Negligence had set in since this car (according to the owner) had been sitting idle since December 1999 since she had gotten a new Jeep to replace the aging Miata. The rear window had long since become cloudy white and cracked and was evidently allowing water to drain into the passenger compartment and into the trunk area turning the car into a Miata bathtub. However all the body panels were original (although with parking lot dings and scrapes) and all the fender gaps were even. The only bad parts were the place in the back where a SUV had hit the back and pushed in a small section of the trunk about an inch. The trunk still closed and locked though. With this in mind, and cash in hand, I negotiated the price down to $1500! My friend was shocked when I made the offer and the seller said "yes"! So, thus the story begins.....
3/24/2000
Removed the seats and all the carpeting in the passenger compartment. To my relief, there was no rust on the floor of the car. I had to cut the carpet to remove it from the area under the dash, but I think it's still salvageable after it's dried out and cleaned. This car looks like it's been lived in, judging from all the empty gum wrappers and loose change there is on the floor. Since the car had studded snow tires mounted on the stock alloy rims, I decided to see if my 1998 Acura Integra GSR wheels would fit, in preparation of getting this car roadworthy as well as an experiment in viusal asthetics... They fit... and look GOOD...
3/26/2000
Unbolted the trunklid and the rear bumper cover and managed to bend out the rear turnk wall so the trunk lid closes much easier now. I heated up the rear bumper cover with a propane torch and reshaped the rear plastic cover back to something resembling the original shape. It's not 100% like new, but it's alot closer than it was before. While the trunk lid was off, I managed to push out the dent (caused by the SUV collision) to something that resembled the original shape. Like the bumper, it's not 100% good, but it's alot closer to the original shape, and if you stand 20 feet away and squint, you can hardly see it (hehe). The last item that needs to be fixed/repaired is the rear finish panel which is a plastic peice that fits between the tail-lights (and has a spot to place the license plate). I'm currently trying to find a used part in Mariner blue so I don't have to repaint this peice. In any case, I'm still debating whether or not to bondo up all the various dings and dents and have the car repainted. While I was under the car, I noticed some rust attacking the various crossmembers that give the floorpan rigidity. It's just surface rust right now. Nothing that's structually compromising. Decisions decisions....
3/29/2000
Went to Home Depot and got some foam rubber carpet padding. I cut the padding to sit flat inthe passenger compartment. I then removed the damp ape-hair padding on the factory carpeting and vaccuumed off all the junk on the top of the carpet and re-installed it. I'm hoping that the new foam rubber padding will have 2 effects. the first is to replace the damp apehair factory padding, and the second is have some sound damping effect to the car. It's much more dense than the original padding and has alot better coverage too..
4/5/2000
OK, ordered at new convertable top from Duetto Motors LLC and it arrived via FedEx. My friend Ray and I put it on and for the most part, it went on with no difficulties. It's pretty nice and doesn't have any mildew spots like the old replacement top did. The car is shaping up nicely.. It' almost ready to be registered...
8/17/2000
I've registered the car, I've installed a Hard Dog Hardcore Dual Diagonal Roll bar, Installed Hella H4 Euro-spec headlights, replaced the stock exhaust with a Borla Stainless steel exhaust, and found out that the catalytic convertor on the car was hollow! I managed to find a used convertor from a fellow miata owner on the web for $30, and put it on. New Bosch Wiper blades, some generic floor mats and a New Clarion CD-Deck and some door speakers which I pulled from the stereo system from my long gone Honda Civic help round out this great car. So far I've put 2000 Fun Filled miles on the car and it's only beginning. I've finding it hard to get time to fix all the little rust spots and dents on the car, since it's so tempting to just jump into the car and take it for a drive. : ) The next item on the list: New shocks.. I've discovered that the shocks in the car are the original units, and have a date code tracing them back to the early part of 1989! Oh, I managed to get my dad hooked on my car, so.. He went out and got one of his own! a red 1990 B-package with a Hardtop. Since he got it, I convinced him that Safety was a very important factor, so I help install a Hard Dog Hardcore Hardtop Dual Diagonal roll bar in his car, in the even that his car should ever do battle with a unattentive SUV plowing into the back of his car, it's nice to know that there's some structural member between you and the SUV which will probably ramp-up the back end of a miata and attempt to decapitate you if there wasn't anything there.. Scarey thought.. but it COULD happen.
4/5/2001
Been a while since my last entry.. Here's the short story: Installed new 8-way KYB AGX shocks. last week the car passed the 160K mile mark and it's still running strong. This weekend I'll be dynoing the car. Lets see what this 11 year old car makes for HP... :-)
4/7/2001
Dynoed the Miata. The results weren't too bad considering this car has a lot of miles on it. 96.7 RWHP @ 6300 RPM, 85.9 ft-lbs @ 5600 RPM

Hot Links

Ray's Miata Page
Miata.net
Search for your own used car on autotrader.com

If you have comments or suggestions, email me at cyee@ccs.neu.edu