Sunday, May 31, 2009

Miata Mods Round One

I do not consider myself to be anything like a good driver, but a car like the Miata encourages and rewards right driving behaviors, so you tend to get better just by dint of driving the thing.

The problem with my previous sports car (a bone stock 1994 Mazda Miata) was that I eventually got to be a good enough driver (and brave enough) to sometimes get beyond the car's limitations, leading to some sliding through corners if I came in too hot. Not good.

I decided to do some modifications to this new one, a 95 M edition. They only made 3000 M editions in 95, so I think it's worth preserving one of them by restoring it to pristine condition. Madness, I know.

Since it needed new shocks when I bought it, I went for the Flyin' Miata stage one kit. The kit replaces the stock springs with set with a rate of 318 lb/in front, and 233 lb/in rear. This makes for harsher ride on bad roads than stock, but with the Tokico Illumna shocks set to their softest setting the ride is tolerable with no loss in handling. The kit lowers the car about an inch and a half. Now my limitations kick in before the car's limitations, and that's a much safer situation than stock.

Here's a picture of the lowered Miata, parked on a repo job in a blighted neighborhood in East Baltimore.

The chevrons are another performance modification said by some to add 8-10 horsepower. I also added a Team Voodoo shift knob (spun aluminum, clearcoated) and an Oris windstopper, which is really necessary for top down highway driving, especially in cool weather.

Next: New top; new paint; new wheels or new clearcoat on wheels. After that a repower.
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