I picked up the car last summer after searching for about 3 months for a clean NA Miata. I drove at least 5 cars, both 1.6L and 1.8L models but many of them either had rust, weren’t properly maintained or cared for, or the price just wasn’t right. There were an equal amount of cars I didn’t even get to see in person because the market for clean NAs these days is just…cut throat. If you don’t contact a seller within 15 minutes of their ad going up, the car is already sold!
Needless to say, the whole search was wearing on me, but this gem came up on Craigslist one morning when I was at work…I jumped on it within 5 minutes & I drove over two hours to pick it up a couple of days later. The car was with its original owner, had 49k miles on it & was completely stock. It lived its life as a beach car in Rehoboth, DE (as confirmed by the sand deep in the carpets), but it was obviously well-loved & cared for.
I drove it stock for a few months, as this is my first Miata & I really wanted to learn the platform & connect with the car before I started changing parts out. My previous car was an AP2 Honda S2000 which I miss dearly, and while the NA isn’t a replacement, it’s an entirely different experience. The Miata is fun & playful while being non threatening…my favorite drives in this car are just chill & effortless. Plus you can’t beat the style…and POPUPS! I honestly never thought I’d like driving or owning a Miata, but giving this car a chance has changed my mind completely. I’m not kidding when I say I’d love to buy another one…this car is such a joy to drive.
After I singled out a couple of the weaknesses in the driving experience for me, I decided on picking up some coilovers & a wheel/tire setup that would give me the grip & response I wanted, plus give the car a fresh look. The car was on stock 14″ wheels when I got it wrapped in 10 year old all seasons…so it was long overdue. After weeks of back & forth & research on offsets & sizing I decided to go with 15×8 +28
I have ALWAYS wanted a set of RPF1s…you really can’t beat the classic look, the lightweight & the price point. I wrapped them in 205/50R-15 Dunlop Direzza DZ102. For coilovers I went with Tein Flex-Z, I wanted something affordable yet adjustable so I could really dial in the look & have some control over how they rode on the street.
As soon as everything came in I slapped it all together & I have just over 2,000mi on the setup so far, I couldn’t be happier. The fitment is perfect, no rubbing…it just works. Another area that was lacking in my mind was the response from the engine, so I picked up a Racing Beat intake.
Now I know people call these “hot air intakes” but knowing I may get some heat soak or lose low-end power, I was more than willing to compromise for some much-needed induction noise…and when I’m wide open the induction sound is worth the investment. It sings! Other than that…I just have some Hawk HPS pads & Centric rotors for some extra brake bite.
At this stage, the car is the perfect cruiser & when I want to have some fun on back roads it’s a blast. I plan on picking up an exhaust system soon & I’m also looking into a higher-end coilover system for more adjust-ability & the ability to track the car. Will probably replace bushings & do sway bars.
I’m looking into an ITB setup for even more induction noise & throttle response. My entire plan for the build is clean old school club racer style. Something that looks great & I can really sync up with, whether it be cruising around town, attacking backroads, or even some track use. Written by Anthony Stone | Photos by AMSFOTO