A man at Harris Hill Raceway gently told me I should learn to drive in an MX-5 aka Miata to the septics. He seemed to think they were a fun, cheap car to learn about corners and what not in, so here I am looking through craigslist and various eRepairable sites. In addition to looking for a fire truck, natch.
I just found one. More specifically I found someone who seems to know, A. about racing (he’s a racing instructor) and B. about Miatas, and C. about a race program at Harris Hill for old Miatas. Also known as cheap Miatas. He’s selling a car, and he’s selling a dream.
Of course, the dream would have to be trailered, as the engine is not in the best of working orders (it starts, but ran out of oil recently in the hands of his daughter). He showed me a container which he’d collected the remaining oil from, and suggested crankshaft bearings and seals may be all that is needed, and a bit of crankshaft polishing.
Never one to miss the chance to polish my own crankshaft, I am moving forward as long as the vehicle history check turns out OK on the VIN.
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Now part of me wants a turbo nutter monster Miata. Part of me wants to rebuild an engine – it’s the next thing on my horizon in terms of personal growth (or maybe just having another non-running vehicle sitting in my garage for the next six months). Part of me wants to learn to drive.
So what tipped me towards the 1990 NA Miata – older enough to drink in the US, and with the 1.6l engine rather than the 1.8 or 2.0? It’s cheap. And there’s a class that races stock Miatas in San Marcos. Wheel-to-wheel racing for as cheap as you can get. It seems that racing of any sort requires some kind of bottomless pit into which money should be thrown. With the underpowered 22 year old cars hopefully it’s safer (if my family is reading) and cheaper (if my family is reading) so that you only throw $10 bills into the pit, not Benjamins. Sure, you have to add a fire extinguisher, racing seat, a roll cage and perhaps some furry dice, but you can basically race with less money than it costs to buy a 1967 Austin FX4. Which is convenient.
And then if I get bored of corners, I can always add a Jackson supercharger and some kind of nitrous kit and have fun on the straight lines too. Of course, there’s the issue of the 2004 hail damaged Miata that I’m the winning bidder on in an online auction, but I’m sure that will sort itself out.