Some Basic Miata Info

So I subscribe to Road And Track and they did this article on DIY sports cars....kinda like the Caterham(sp?) 7. Check 'em out They sell frame kits to be based off of a lot of Miata parts and I am really thinking about getting one and starting to build one of these Locost cars. I was just wondering if someone could give me some basic Miata buying info...the 'what to look for' stuff. I found a local 91 with 173k. I'd say its in fair condition. It runs & drives good and is freshly inspected but it will need some minor bodywork in the near future. Now the bodywork really doesn't matter to me but what should I expect to pay for this thing. KBB is $1,200 and the lady was asking $2k. So I was going to offer 800 but be willing to pay $1K. Is this reasonable? Which engine should I look for, 1.6 or 1.8? What are the pros and cons of each? Where do they stamp the engine codes on these things? Let me know some info or point me to some good sites or sources and I'll be sure to keep everyone posted. Thanks in advance.

There's not a stamped engine code, per se, the 1.6 comes in 90-93 and the 1.8 is in the 94-05. In 99 the 1.8 got a variable length IM (like GSRs have) and in 01 they added variable intake cam timing (like the "i" in iVTEC).

Things to look for are usually clutch slave cylinder, window regulators, and condition of the top. Since you're only after it for the mechanicals, the clutch slave is your only concern. Those are the most common things.

For resources, check out: - great garage, classifieds, forums, etc. - a wealth of info plus they make nice parts.

some more sites

Excellent choice in donor car, let us know how it's going!


Almost forgot, in case you need more info about which engine one is, the 1.6 has the coils on the driver's side and the 1.8 has them on the passenger side.

I've driven both, of course, and the 1.8 felt more like a truck engine to me, all torque down low and letdown in high RPMs. The 1.6 was docile until about 3.5 and then comes alive and sings to redline, so I bought a 1.6.

For FI both engines are stout (12 psi is the norm for DD w/ stock internals) but the 1.8 spools faster with a turbo, even more so with headwork. If your pockets are deep, Flyin' Miata (commonly called just "FM") sells the best turbo kit on the market and also builds engines and offers a 2L stroker. The orange-and-metal colored Locost is owned by Keith Tanner, one of the FM gurus. He also wrote the book "Miata Performance Projects".
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