Saturday, July 17, 2021

A Drive on the Foothills Parkway in the Miata

Just a few photos I took yesterday from a drive out in the mountains. With everything we've had going on all spring this was the first time I've gotten this car out for a real drive since I finished the suspension work and got the new wheels and tires, which was already most of a year ago. It sat in storage for six months. I know that's a crime, and I won't let it happen again. The car felt great! The new Flyin' Miata VMAXX suspension works perfectly on these mountain roads, and the Conti tires on the Enkei RPF-1 wheels give prodigious grip.

I did have to sort of get used to this car again. Most of my driving in the last 18 months has been in our 2019 CX-5 Signature, which, while an SUV, has a TON more horsepower and torque than the Miata, and in a real testament to where Mazda is today, refinement you'd expect in a Porsche or Mercedes. When I wasn't driving the CX-5 I was driving my Cayman, which is also incredibly faster than the Miata, and bolted together like a German tank. So, at first the Miata felt slow. And loud. And unrefined. And, well... kinda dopey. Once I hit those mountain roads, though, and retrained myself to keep the engine in the power band, and the car got a few miles under its belt, it started to come alive and open up to me. I started to feel that magic again. I haven't felt it in this car in several years, but the work I put into it last year has really paid off. The magic is still there. Those old familiar sensations were still there. This car has been a part of me for almost 25 years.

On this particular drive the odometer flipped over 180,000 miles. It had been in the 179,000 range for at least the last four years! Here's to putting some more miles on this chassis, now that I have some time and inclination again. Please enjoy the photos.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Miata is complete! Complete refurb including interior and paint.

I finally got the Miata out for a photo, just before I stuffed it into my storage facility. The most significant change of note here is the new set of 15x7 Enkei RPF-1 wheels with Continental Extremecontact Sport tires in 205/50-15 size. I considered 8-inch wide wheels but that pretty much limited me to 225 width tires and I couldn't get the ones I wanted. Plus I think the 15x8 and wider wheels look a little funny on a Miata. It looks a bit clumsy to me. Just my personal impression, of course, and if I were autocrossing or tracking the car I'd want as much width as I could get. Also of note: you don't get center caps with RPF-1's so I had to order some separately. I found a company called Flatout Graphics that sells them with nice Enkei logos which you can choose in any color. I chose red.

I've yet to drive more than a few miles on these new ties, but they're the same tires I use on my Cayman S, and I like them.

So, for all intents and purposes, this project of restoring this Miata is complete. There's really not much else that it needs, and I've certainly spent far too much money relative to the car's actual worth. My goal now is to actually drive it, and of course I want to drive the Cayman, too! It's tough when you don't have to go anywhere for work, to put miles on cars.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Coming soon to Miata-land... new wheels and tires.

Just a teaser for now. Coming in at 9.9lbs per wheel, and accompanied by new Continental Extremecontact Sport tires, these should be a quantum improvement for the Miata. Did I use the word quantum correctly here? Probably not but it sounded good in my head.