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icaneat50eggs
icaneat50eggs Dork
3/29/18 4:56 p.m.

What could be considered the classic version of the miata?  

 

Main things I’m looking for

light

nimble crisp handling

good aftermarket support

well sorted suspension

RoddyMac17
RoddyMac17 Reader
3/29/18 5:02 p.m.

Lotus Elan, though I wouldn't dare say it's the classic version of the Miata.  It's the other way around, the Miata is the modern Elan (albeit bigger and heavier).

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
3/29/18 5:10 p.m.

While I wouldn't disagree with the Elan, I'd say the Spitfire is more the classic version of the Miata. Cheap. Light. Nimble. Good aftermarket support (even today). Commonly raced by amateurs during its time.  Is it perfect? Hell no. But in many ways the Miata is a Spitfire with modern engineering and a better development budget.

BoxheadCougarTim
BoxheadCougarTim MegaDork
3/29/18 5:12 p.m.

Spitfire or MGB were my first two thoughts, followed by the (classic) Alfa Spider.

enginenerd
enginenerd Reader
3/29/18 5:13 p.m.

MGB? My answer cause it's the only classic I've owned that seemed to share a little character with my Miatas. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
3/29/18 5:25 p.m.

Having driven both a Spitfire and MGB, the latter is a noticeably more solid and comfortable car.  Jumping from seat to seat, a B might feel more like a Miata, but a Spitfire will feel more like the "Miata of its era".  That said, don't expect it to feel like a Miata. It'll feel like the 60 year old design it is.  While it can be improved and made better, it'll never be a Miata. If you want a Miata, get a Miata.

icaneat50eggs
icaneat50eggs Dork
3/29/18 6:11 p.m.

Thanks for the input 

a little more info about what I’m looking for:  I’ve had two fun cars.  The first was a 67 fiat 850 that I got “free” as a roller and spent two years shoving a Porsche transaxle and Subaru twin turbo engine into.  I loved the retro looks, the attention it got and how fast a car with 240 ho can be when it weighed about 1550 with me in it.  What I hated was the suspension setup.  I realized I could easily make power but getting the suspension sort d was beyond me.  I also got tired of having to solve every problem from scratch

i trades it for a miata.  Loved the handling and feel.  Loved that any problem I had could be fixed by calling flyin miata and a box of professionally designed and fabricated parts would show up a few days later.

 

what I hated - the looks.  Just kind of yawn inducing.

 

im trying to see if there is an option that takes most of what I love from both and combines it

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
3/29/18 6:17 p.m.

MGB, especially if you look at production numbers.

But if your problem is yawn inducing looks, then you need to find a car that doesn't make you yawn and work from there. Or you can choose another of the four generations of Miata on the market, they don't all look the same.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/29/18 6:35 p.m.

If you look in the right places, any of the cars mentioned have good aftermarket support.  I know one of the best Alfa places is in Colorado....

But my point is which 2 seat roadster that is classic do you like?  

That's the car you should get.

For me, it's an Alfa, others MGB, Sprite, Spitfire, Fiat, Lotus etc.

Any of them can be great, and even reliable.  All of them have something fun to the driving, all of them have classic feel to the driving feel.

IMHO, if you are looking for a classic, you have to have an emotional attachment to it.  None of them is really as good of a car as a Miata, and you have to accept that.  And STILL love the car.

 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
3/29/18 7:30 p.m.

In reply to icaneat50eggs :

Boom! Problem solved. 

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy SuperDork
3/29/18 8:08 p.m.

I came in here to say TR6.

LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
3/29/18 8:26 p.m.

I would have said 2nd generation Spridget. Tiny. Light. Simple. Reliable. Handles well. No fussy styling details. 

Apexcarver
Apexcarver PowerDork
3/30/18 4:52 a.m.

I have a miata, a bugeye sprite, and a spitfire.    

 

My answer to you depends wildly on intended use.   For instance, the bugeye doesnt have exterior door handles and there is no way to lock the car. Makes it hard if you want to daily it.   If you want to go to autocrosses , the spits rear suspension has evils. If you want to track day, the spit can be truly evil as an axle break in the rear can put you on your roof. (why mine is getting miata parts grafted for total racecar build).

Autocrossed a later (1275, NOT 1500) Spridget (my bugeye doesnt run just yet... soon).  Had some mods and was a LOT of fun. Not really fast, but amazing what lines you could take on a tight course due to its size.  Much better handling and more predictable than the B-GT.  The later ones weigh more, but you do get locking doors.  I would suggest sticking to the BMC A-series cars (again, 1275, not 1500) for sporting aspirations though.  Challenges: non-overdrive trans (highway is a stretch) and challenges finding decent 13" tires.  Good: parts are pretty cheap and go from mild to wild.  I would suggest market positioning wise, this is what Miata was back then. Entry level. That said, non-entry level stands the test of time better. 

I have autox'd a not too wildly modified B-GT before. A miata it isnt in the handling department. Very numb at the limit and just didnt seem to get a set in a turn. 

 

Driven a modified TR6 that was a delight, but that may be a whole different bracket than a miata. Engine in this was was pretty built and MS EFI'd. Had torque for DAYS and a great I6 howl. 

 

Havent driven, but Jensen Healey?   (more obscure, less support)

 

My vintage answer was a bugeye deal falling into my lap. It will never be more than a play car though. 

 

Fun cheap and not so much a daily:

pres589
pres589 PowerDork
3/30/18 5:47 a.m.

Triumph TR4/5/6?  

Fiat 124 Spyder?

MGA's seem quite cool but I imagine they're not at all cheap anymore.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
3/30/18 6:15 a.m.

I agree with Keith - find a car you like the looks of and then research whether or not you an make it do what you want within your budget.  

icaneat50eggs
icaneat50eggs Dork
3/30/18 6:19 a.m.

Thanks guys.  I’m going to dig into all the cars mentioned here 

BillBall
BillBall New Reader
3/30/18 7:06 a.m.

In reply to icaneat50eggs:

LIke wedges? Remember the 80/90s fondly?: TR8 coupe? Mr2 Supercharged? 944 S2 coupe? (the last a bit big and heavy compared to the others but suitable for modern track days).

Would not reccomend Jensen Healey, good engine albeit low torque. Chassis quite unispired and rusty from the factory. Fun for an afternoon drive but not sharp enough for the track.

NermalSnert
NermalSnert New Reader
3/30/18 9:09 a.m.

I grew up with Triumphs. From my 2nd car on. My first car was a 1972 MG Midget. 3 Spitfires and 3 TR6's mixed over the years. All were my only cars. In fact, I sold my first NA Miata because it lacked any kind of real personality. It just cranked and ran flawlessly every time I got in it. I've since gotten over needing all that character, etc. and have a Miata again. Spitfires are fun, simple, and pretty. I say Spitfire-Find one with a factory hard top, lift the bonnet, sit on the tire, put your beer on the firewall, and set those points :) I'll have another, I hope.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
3/30/18 9:39 a.m.

This is what the new Alfa Spider was going to look like: 

Had they stuck with that, your problems would have been solved!  But I would say an Alfa Giulia GTV is still your best bet.

 

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
4/1/18 11:19 a.m.

You guys are hitting it right on... Sprite, Spitfire, Triumph TR or Spitfire and Alfa.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
4/1/18 11:35 a.m.
icaneat50eggs said:

What could be considered the classic version of the miata?  

 

Main things I’m looking for

light

nimble crisp handling

good aftermarket support

well sorted suspension

Easier than making a classic meet your requirements would be to do cosmetics on a Miata. There are body kits that will make the Miata look like a 60s classic. 

dherr
dherr Reader
4/1/18 5:13 p.m.

Or do what I am doing and put a Miata  drive train into a Spitfire. Agree that all the choices are the "spirit" of the Miata and what impressed me the most when I finally caved in  to "the answer" was how much of it they got right. I have a TR4A, NA and NC Miatas and now am building up my Turbo Miata powered Spitfire. Hoping to keep all the fun of the Spitfire , but with a more modern drivetrain, power and reliability. 

The only issue with most of the original cars is that they are slow in comparison to modern vehicles. They handle great, are fun to drive and even feel "fast", but if you get on a highway, you can be pressing it to keep up with traffic. A Spitfire or TR4 without overdrive is reving pretty high at 70, verse a modern car.  I have a Rover V8 in my TR4A and that makes it a totally different car on the highway as you can imagine. With a 5 speed, it is relaxed and can keep up with any modern car with ease. That is why I am now building something similar in the Spitfire chassis. While I could just turbo an NA Miata, I prefer the looks and feel of the Spitfire, but want the more modern engine and drivetrain.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
4/2/18 6:59 a.m.

dherr
dherr Reader
4/2/18 7:21 a.m.

That also works for me!

Indy-Barely Functional-Guy
Indy-Barely Functional-Guy SuperDork
4/2/18 7:39 a.m.
dherr said:

Or do what I am doing and put a Miata  drive train into a Spitfire. Agree that all the choices are the "spirit" of the Miata and what impressed me the most when I finally caved in  to "the answer" was how much of it they got right. I have a TR4A, NA and NC Miatas and now am building up my Turbo Miata powered Spitfire. Hoping to keep all the fun of the Spitfire , but with a more modern drivetrain, power and reliability. 

The only issue with most of the original cars is that they are slow in comparison to modern vehicles. They handle great, are fun to drive and even feel "fast", but if you get on a highway, you can be pressing it to keep up with traffic. A Spitfire or TR4 without overdrive is reving pretty high at 70, verse a modern car.  I have a Rover V8 in my TR4A and that makes it a totally different car on the highway as you can imagine. With a 5 speed, it is relaxed and can keep up with any modern car with ease. That is why I am now building something similar in the Spitfire chassis. While I could just turbo an NA Miata, I prefer the looks and feel of the Spitfire, but want the more modern engine and drivetrain.

I've heard you mention the V8 TR4 a couple of times here on the forum. I'm very interested to hear more.... Do you have a build thread? 

I'm gearing up to build mine with a 5.0

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