When I purchased the V8 Miata it was in horrible shape. I knew I didn't want to drive it in that condition (forever) but I was confused on how I wanted to make it better. I could 1) Fix what was wrong with the current interior/exterior 2) Buy a nice M1 as a donor 3) Buy a nice M2 as a donor. I really like the lines on the M2 but for some reason I have never enjoyed driving it as much as an M1. To me, everything feels like it is in the right place on an M1 so that is what I decided to buy:
I think it would cost too much to fix the exterior of the original car. Also, there is not a single thing in the interior that looks good:
On January 20th I found a really nice 1997 Automatic with 65,000 miles on the clock. It was next to perfect with the exception of a few scratches in the paint. I got an incredible deal and it was everything I was looking for. WOW, what a nice car:
Over the next week all I could do was think about the upcoming swap and how I was going to do it. At the end of the week I was prepping the car for a trip to the dyno and I noticed that the front pax fender had cut into the tire a bit. Even though the car was going to be raised an inch for better clearance this one moment changed everything about the project and what I thought was going to happen with it. If I was going to cut the fenders (and add fender flares) the car was going to have to be repainted. Even though my donor car had great seats I still wanted to wrap them in a soft faux-leather cover like Red had so it didn't matter if there were rips in them. The donor car I was getting ready to cut/cover/paint was worth $5,000 and I was thinking it was far too nice to "destroy". The next day I made a call to a guy in Myrtle Beach, SC (two hours away) to talk to him about his 92 Automatic with a hard top. He wanted $2,000 so I told him I would be there at noon and my wife and I dropped the top on the Lava Orange MSM and started down the road. When we got about half way there we saw another red Miata with a hard top sitting in someone's front yard. We slammed on the brakes, did a u-turn and we went back to look at it. It was extremely filthy and you could tell it hadn't been moved out of the yard for quite a while. There was a sign in the window that said $4,000 (WAY too much for that car) but I thought I would knock on the door anyway. The lady came out and told me she would take $2,000. I told her we were on the way to buy a nicer one for $2,000 and I offered her $1,200. We struck a deal and drove off to look at the Miata in Myrtle Beach since I had given my word that we would be there. That car was not what the guy said it was (a good thing because I didn't want to buy three Miatas in two weeks) so we drove the "dirty" 1990 Miata home:
It isn't every day that you have a chance to take pictures of your three red Miatas so here's another one:
A rear shot of them in the driveway:
What a contrast to what my driveway looked like just four months before when I was still doing my Geo Metro project:
I buy a ton of used cars and I am always amazed at what I find under the seats. The donor car treasure was a can of snuff and a 20 GA shotgun shell:
Why is it that the PO always strips the head off at least one of the seat mounting bolts. For the 10th time I found myself grinding the head down and welding another bolt on top of it. It turns a 10 minute job into an hour.
I was waiting on a friend to bring my engine hoist back. He showed up with it in his pickup truck (oh, that's not a truck - that's a Miata!):
After filming some video of the engine running, the car driving around, and some photos of the compression on each cylinder (keeping a record of it for potential buyers) we started tearing the donor car down. After 7 hours we had the dash and carpet out as well as most of the engine harness, tranny, and cooling system disassembled. We quit for the day and will actually pull the drive train out tomorrow.