kazoospec UltraDork
10/20/18 10:04 p.m.

Given that I'm less mechanically inclined than the average GRM'r, this may be the eventual winner for "least epic build thread".  This is actually my third automotive "build".  The first was the SE-R in the avatar.  The second was a 94 M Edition Miata which started out as a rusty, $2000 rescue/project car.  This was after the rocker rust was cut out, new metal welded in and the back half was rattle canned.

This is the same car after a complete paint job, roll bar install, wheel swap, "tupperware" add on, and a host of maintenance and handling mods.  I was pretty happy with the car, and was gradually fixing some of the minor annoyances like slow windows and a stuck power antenna.  The only hitch was that it wasn't really a competitive autocross car and that it looked pretty crusty underneath from having spent a few Michigan winters on the road at the hands of a previous owner.  

So now the back story.  A few years ago, a friend of mine told me he was planning to purchase an ND when he retired.  He had an 03 Shinsen which I had always admired.  I told him to call me if they made him a crappy trade offer when he purchased the new car.  Fast forward about two years.  Out of the blue, he called me to let me know the stealership offered him $2000, yes $2000, for an 03 Shinsen with 52K on the clock.  We worked out a mutually agreeable price.  The NA left a few days later, leaving me enough to cover the purchase of the 03 and leave a few hundred bucks in my pocket to kick off the project.  Transition pic:

She came to me with a cracked bumper, top with a hole in it and riding on all season tires.  Why the trade?  VVT, Sport Brakes, better tire selection, great paint color, a nicely optioned and more modern interior and (heresy, I know) I actually like the looks of the NB better.  Most of all, though, the underside looks like this: 

You just don't see things like that in Michigan.  

kazoospec UltraDork
10/20/18 10:16 p.m.

Project 1 was taking apart the center console to fix the infamous NB Miata "floppy cupholder lid" issue.  No pics were taken.  At the same time, I started a literal nationwide search for a Titanium Gray NB bumper.  

Project 2:

Every Miata owner over 6' tall knows what this means: 

A Sunday afternoon took us from this:

To this:

I finally gave up on a color-matched bumper and found a decent red one:

While waiting for a local shop to respray it for me, we took it out for a little "work".  It was fast, and fun, even on all seasons.

That's Kazoo Jr. at the wheel.

kazoospec UltraDork
10/20/18 10:33 p.m.

Fast forward a few weeks, some other poor soul wrecked a mint Shinsen, netting me a color matched bumper, new shift knob (mine was trashed and smelled of cologne) and a rare blue boot cover. 

Boot cover looks great and really ads to the look of the car:

Old bumper:


And fixed:

Raced it again, taking second, even with all seasons.  This thing could be fast some day.

kazoospec UltraDork
11/14/18 5:40 p.m.

Pushed the "pause button" this week. 

Over the winter, I'm going to try to find a couple clean "twisted 5's" to replace the two that are curbed, research some tire options and keep my eyes open for a suspension upgrade.  


Stampie UberDork
11/14/18 6:04 p.m.

Was wondering how I missed this the first time then saw it was in my Challenge recovery period. I love that color. 

mr2s2000elise Reader
11/14/18 6:24 p.m.



i had two NB . A rare splash green LS and a MSM velocity red. Miss the msm 


your shinsen is nice. Local friend has one 


however I personally think the Tupperware and headlight covers are horrrendous 


at at least you don’t have taillight covers .....

kazoospec UltraDork
11/14/18 7:38 p.m.

Nope, hate the taillight covers.  I'm kind of on the fence about the headlight covers, so I may try removing them at some point.  I'm pretty much stuck with the tupperware, since removing it leaves holes in the body.  Thankfully it's kind of growing on me. 

Opinions of big tupperware on a Miata are kind of like Ted Nugent, nobody's neutral.  

HikerDan New Reader
11/14/18 8:07 p.m.

Nice car! I had a 2003 SE, did the FM sways/springs and Tokico shocks.... was pretty happy with the performance. Seems like there's a pretty big jump in $ to get to the next level in suspension (Fox/Ohlins etc).

kazoospec UltraDork
11/15/18 6:11 a.m.
HikerDan said:

Nice car! I had a 2003 SE, did the FM sways/springs and Tokico shocks.... was pretty happy with the performance. Seems like there's a pretty big jump in $ to get to the next level in suspension (Fox/Ohlins etc).

Thanks!  We currently autocross in ES, so I'm probably limited to a set of Koni's and a front sway bar/mount reinforcement as far as handling mods go. 

akylekoz Dork
11/15/18 9:49 a.m.

I may try autocross someday, where are you competing?  I'm in GR and willing to drive an hour or so.

NOHOME UltimaDork
11/15/18 9:59 a.m.

Took me most of this post to figure out what a "Shinsen" is. Still not clear, but I THINK it is some kind of Miata?

kazoospec UltraDork
11/15/18 10:49 a.m.

In reply to akylekoz :

I'll pretty much run with anyone who's hosting.  This season, I ran with the Furrin Group (GREAT group for a "casual autocrosser", super laid back about everything except safety), West Michigan SCCA, perhaps a little more serious and a bit more expensive, but they also have access to some pretty cool venues (including Grattan).  I also ran one "oddball" event with the PCA.  Between those 3, you could easily run 7-10 events per year without ever driving more than an hour from GR.

In reply to NOHOME:

A "Shinsen" is a one year only option package for the second gen (NB) Miata.  Similar to the "M Edition" Miatas in the first gen. 


kazoospec UltraDork
1/25/19 5:04 p.m.

Can't do much with it until the weather breaks, but this arrived today:

kazoospec UltraDork
4/4/19 7:58 p.m.

And we'll celebrate the end of winter with a nice crappy cell phone pic: Image may contain: car

About to start diving back in.  Top on the list is to get the new top installed.  I've also picked up a new Redline goods shift boot, which means I have to disassemble the center console.  While I'm in there, I'll probably do the upper and lower boots on the transmission and throw in a shifter rebuild kit.  Since I'll be in there anyway, I'll probably buy some trans fluid and refill the turret.  Since I'm buying trans fluid, I'll probably drain and refill the trans.  Since I'm doing that, I'll probably drain and refill the diff too.  This, my friends, is how "project creep" begins.  

kazoospec UltraDork
4/7/19 8:50 p.m.

Today, I picked up a second set of twisted 5's for "get these out of my garage" pricing on Craigslist.  Putting the two sets I have together, I should be able to assemble a pretty much perfect wheel set.  

kazoospec UltraDork
4/10/19 8:09 p.m.

Tonights fun project: Scraping tire slime off from one of the new wheels.  Thanks so much, P.O.  

kazoospec UltraDork
4/20/19 9:17 p.m.

Yes, its another crappy cell phone pic, because the day started a 7a and ended at 10p, but got the new top installed:

kazoospec UltraDork
5/22/19 8:49 p.m.

I was noticing a lot of wind noise lately.  A quick check revealed that the plastic "guides" on the latches were pretty much trashed, which was making the top alignment pretty crappy and scratching up the "receiver" portion of the latch since it was metal on metal.  No problem, I'll just order some new ones.  Except that they are NLA.  The good news is I was able to find some of the older versions.  The bad news is it look a lot of sanding to re-shape them to get them close.  On the left is the "new" part, the middle is the basic shape I had to mimic and the right is how bad one of the two caps had gotten.

After a fair amount of sanding/shaping, the fit on the top is much better and wind noise is down about 20%.  

I also installed a new Redline Goods shift boot, which was another nice addition.  


kazoospec UltraDork
7/14/19 4:29 p.m.

Today's project has at it's genesis, "one of those days".  I'll spare the details but it started with the unmistakable metallic "thud" of one of the kid's bikes getting dumped over in the garage.  It resulted in this little gem in the middle of the front bumper: 

At first, I tried to paint fill it.  I laid down several layers of paint over the space of a week, allowing it to dry between coats.  I started working on polishing it out and found that my "paint patch" just rolled out of the divot.  Back to the drawing board.  In the mean time, I found this little guy on the floor while working on running down a tire rub issue: 

Since the paint patch didn't work, I decided to see if I could glue it back in.  I picked up some JB Weld Plastic Bond (Product 50133) and set out to work.  First, I scuffed the back side of the chip and the inside of the divot with 600 grit paper to (hopefully) help with adhesion.  I also drilled a series of small holes in the divot both to help with adhesion and to give the extra glue someplace to squeeze into other than out the sides of the divot when the chip was pressed in.  I then outlined the divot in blue-tack tape to hopefully keep the bodywork clean.  Then I cleaned everything several times with alcohol, mixed up the epoxy and slowly worked the chip into the divot.  (In process pics) 

Here's then end result.  This is from about 3-4 feet away.  It actually looks this good in person.  I'm still going to see if I can blend the edges a bit better, but can live with this even if I can't improve it at all.  

Stampie PowerDork
7/14/19 4:35 p.m.

In reply to kazoospec :

I still like this car and glad the fix worked. Looks good. 

kazoospec UltraDork
7/31/19 9:14 p.m.

Today, we added some shiny and a little braaaaap thanks to our friends at Flyin' Miata:

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