Originally Posted by goixoye
I guess there is data that supports this?
I suspect the term "retromods" can't really apply to the MX5, unless you are trying to turn a 1997 MX5 NA into a 1989 MX5 NA. The differences between the two years is superficial.
The closest I would say are any of the cars owned by "madaboutmx5". He's been through a lot of NAs (25 I think), but has carefully curated rare aftermarket parts to create very sympathetically modified cars without imposing his own tastes.
eg Corns Roadster
Tuckin 99 N2 Roadster
and of course the Pitcrew S-Limited
If applying "restomod" to the MX5, the recipe would be:
Take 1 1989-90 car.
Fit 1.8, or factory NB-FL braking
Fit factory front and rear subframe braces (requires replacement of subframes for fitment of correct parts. Unsure if this will extend to NA8 longitudinal bracing.
Add NB cockpit gussets.
Fit VVT BP motor, with functioning VVT. Possibly fit 6-speed box and correct differential depending on how the car is used. Personally, I feel the personality of the MX5 is best preserved by using a 4.300 rear end.
Convert factory head unit to slave for bluetooth.
Fix rust holes, new NB-FL spec roof, paint as per original 1989 colour pallet.
Leave alone; thats a restomod. Taking a 1989 car, and giving it as many updates as possible to make it more suitable for the 21st century. Unfortunately, that means using 21st century parts.
Some will take it to mean to take a "restomod" to mean take a later model, and make it look like an iconic earlier car. For the NA, that might literally mean changing the wheels. Or you could change the wheels, add a GHO nose, proper console delete, and some tight buckets, to imitate Mazda's answer to the Guilia GTA, the M2-1001.
But the original M2-Inc pair, the M2-1001 and M2-1028 (lets not count the half-baked M2-1028) point to something the OP was probably thinking about when "retromod" slipped out. The M2-1001 was Mazda's idea for the clubman racer, except it wasn't a race car; later on, with the NRA-Limited, Mazda really did do a factory version built just for racing (for a NB 1.6 race series in Japan). The 1001 had the big chin spoiler, with Cibie lamps, a blue printed high compression engine, proper LSD, diff cooling ducting, race bucket seats, 4-point rollbar, proper gauges, superficially stripped interior. But it was a fantasy Clubman racer; the car would never have gotten through scrutineering (those seats were too low, and as it proved, the mounts were weak, the rollbar was alloy, not steel). The race interior was a bit fake; no power windows and no centre console, but it still had carpet. The M2-1002 was more imagineering; what would a MX5 be like if it was built in England, circa 1968, with 1989 technology. So no power steering or windows, but added was a beautifully stitched leather and alcantera (stand in for suede) interior.
I think those two cars set the formula for the fantasy retromod. It dips into the Japanese trend for flattery-by-imitation (ie. the superficial idea that the MX5 is a copy of the Lotus Elan). One of the very first Japanese modifications to the MX5, back in 1990, was a bugeye kit; to make the MX5 look, superficially, like a Austin Healey Sprite.
The Fantasy Retromod is to turn a MX5 into something that never existed; a MX5 built in the 1960s. That means imitating the technology of the time, the interior design of the period, and exterior modifications, but to result in something that could never be mistaken for the car owner's muse. ie. the Pitcrew imitates Ferrari style, but could never be mistaken for a Ferrari.
The Fantasy RetroMod would include Sharka. Its still clearly a MX5, but has styling touches suggesting a different era. But it is a paradox, because no 1960s MX5 actually existed.
But this distinguishes the MX5 Fantasy RetroMod from the MX5 Kitcar. The Simpson Design kits are more kitcar. The intention is to clearly disguise as much as possible the Japanese origins of the car, and to indulge the owner's fantasy that they are driving a Ferrari. Inevitably, there are now a litany of kits, which discard all or most of the MX5 exterior panels to more closely resemble a specific old and unaffordable classic sportscar.
The value of Fantasy RetroMod cars? Tricky. Clearly, there is a value to a car that uses carefully curated obsolete but commercially made aftermarket parts, as opposed to something something someone has put together in their garage using fiberglass and filler. The latter also takes effort, and can result in beautiful creations, but very individual. Then there is the fake fantasy retromod car; these use cheap copies of the carefully curated old aftermarket parts. The end result is more superficial, eg, the fake GV Vintage rear finisher panel, with some kind of weird round LED rear cluster botched in.
Then there is the "Fantasy RestroMod", where you've done all that stuff, scouring the world for genuine 1990-91 Japanese parts, but you've also done the mechanical updates.
Definition of a restomod: Mixing old and new technology to create the best of both worlds. Matching classic styling with modern comfort, reliability and performance.
BRG’s or also known as “British Racing Green” Miatas has risen in value significantly in the past few years. Some of the reasons are due to the collector value and other reasons are for the classic color combination. According to Jalopnik, there were 3,997 BRG’s built in 1991. And in 1997, a more muted and “dirtier” British Racing Green was available with 3,000 units built. So with over a million Miatas sold to date, having a BRG is quite rare indeed.
I’ve been following Steve’s build for a few years now. And in my opinion his Miata is the epitome of a restomodded BRG. If you follow his build on his Facebook page or on www.mazdaroadster.com, you will see how meticulous and detailed Steve is with his build. Styling cues are on point with the Gold faced RS Watanabe Type-A’s in a 14×6.5, +4.5 offset on each corner wrapped in Pirelli Cinturato P1 tires in 185/60/14. The car is lowered on highly rated Ohlins DFV coilovers. According to Steve, his car rides extremely smooth and comfortable through the streets and canyons in Sydney. Braking is addressed with Dixcel Type SD Slotted Rotors in front and back with Type B brake pads and Goodridge Steel braided lines. The exterior is super clean with an R-Package front lip, JDM Eunos fog lights, KG Works chrome washer nozzles, Runabout M2 mirrors, and Zoom Engineering amber side indicators, Lotus emblem and retro fuel lid.
The interior of his car is absolutely gorgeous and carries that distinguished gentlemen aura. The retro inspired interior is carried out with a slew of classy Nakamae quilted interior pieces. The gauge cluster was provided by RS Products Japan with custom Revlimiter Type RS gauge faces. Steering is handled by way of a Nardi Classico 360mm wooden steering wheel. And shifting is designated by a Joyfast super short chrome shift knob. Other bits worthy of mention include an Arrive mahogany wooden brake handle, Carbing foot rest pedal, Zeromotive M2-1002 style pedals, Zoom engine starter button and Retromodern knurled dimmer switch and trip reset stalk.
Besides the uber clean exterior and gorgeous interior, the engine bay is just as astounding. The mix of gold, black and green finishes contrasts and complements well with each other. The Mazdaspeed theme is well executed with the green ignition wires, uber rare air box, gold oil cap, and radiator cap. The custom satin black valve cover, intake manifold and intake pipe is a nice oem-plus touch. Steve tells me his future plans are to revamp the motor and build it up to a 1.9 or 2 liter with Jenvey ITB’s. To solidify his Miata as the world’s cleanest restomodded BRG, he’s going to continue this build and elevate it even further!
Now scroll down to check out the beautiful photos taken by his friends Daniel and Fatih, and also read about his journey with his roadster!
Photographer: Daniel Karjadi / Fatih Demir of Monday Made
Writer: Kevin Truong
Owner: Stephen Lee
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
1996 Mazda MX-5
Advanced Cam Timing +14 Degrees
Arrive Intake Pipe (Satin Black)
BeatRush Radiator Cooling Panel
Fujitsubo Legalis-R Catback Exhaust
GarageStar Lightweight Alternator Pulley
GarageStar Lightweight Water Pump Pulley
Gates Racing Performance Timing Belt
Koyorad 36mm Hyper-V Core Aluminium Radiator
Maxim Works 4-2-1 Headers
Mazdaspeed Ignition Leads
Mazdaspeed Induction Air Box
Mazdaspeed Oil Cap
Mazdaspeed Panel Air Filter
Mazdaspeed Radiator Cap
MiataRoadster Short Shifter
NGK Iridium Spark Plugs
OEM Mazda Intake Manifold (Satin Black)
OEM Mazda Rocker Cover (Satin Black)
Samco Silicone Coolant Hoses
SARD Sports High Flow Catalytic Converter
SARD Sports Racing Thermostat
Transmission and Differential mods:
Goodridge Braided Clutch Line
Toda Racing Sports Clutch
Toda Racing Lightweight Flywheel
Arrive Mahogany Wood Handbrake Handle
ArtWork Dewa Cluster Needle Caps
Carbing DASH Foot Rest Pedal
CocoMats Sisal Custom Floor Mats
Garage5 Brushed Aluminium Vent Rings
HKB Boss Kit
J-F Customs Tan Leather Gearshift Boot
J-F Customs Tan Leather Handbrake Boot
JASS Performance Sun Visor Plugs
JDM Eunos Sunglass Holder
JDM Eunos Chrome Door Sills
Joyfast Chrome Gear Knob (Super Short)
Joyfast Chrome Handbrake Button
MOMO Futura 350mm Wood Steering Wheel
Nakamae Aluminium Door Locks
Nakamae Tan Cup Holder
Nakamae Tan Quilt Mat Belt Line Trim
Nakamae Tan Quilt Mat Lower Package Tray Trim
Nakamae Tan Quilt Mat Side Step Trim
Nakamae Tan Quilt Mat Transmission Tunnel Trim
Nakamae Tan Quilt Mat Upper Package Tray Trim
Nakamichi CD-400 Headunit
Nardi Classico 360mm Wood Steering Wheel
Nardi Tokyo Horn Button
Pioneer JDM Eunos 2″ Tweeters
Polk Audio DB651 6.5″ Coaxial Speakers
RetroModern Knurled Dimmer Switch
RetroModern Knurled Trip Reset Stalk
RevLimiter Custom Gauge Faces (Type RS)
RevLimiter Custom HVAC Panel (Version Stirling)
RevLimiter Door Sill Inserts (Type MX-5, BRG)
RevLimiter Retro Power Window Switch
RS Products Classic A/C Fan Knob + Sliders
RS Products Classic A/C Trim Ring
RS Products Classic Retro Gauge Cluster
RS Products Classic Retro Hazard Switch
Vintage Mazda Chrome Cigarette Lighter
XTC 6.5” Foam Speaker Baffles
Zeromotive M2-1002 Style Pedals
Zoom Engine Start Push Button
B1 Hybrid Polarg Parkers + Tail Lamp Bulbs
Bosch Aerotwin Wiper Blades
Depo Clear Front Indicator Lamps
JDM Eunos Roadster Fog Lights
KG Works Chrome Washer Nozzles
Nielex Fuse Box Sticker
NoPro Washer Bottle Relocation
OEM Mazda Genuine Front Lip
Philips 4300K Crystal Vision Headlamp Bulbs
Raybrig Crystal Reflector Headlamps
Runabout M2 Mirrors
ZOOM Engineering Amber Side Indicators
ZOOM Engineering Eunos Lotus Emblem
ZOOM Engineering Retro Fuel Lid
BeatRush Rear Strut Brace
GarageStar Delrin Door Mounts
Mazdaspeed Engine Mounts
Mazdaspeed Front Strut Brace
Ohlins DFV Coilovers (7F, 4R)
RacingBeat Sway Bar End Links (F+R)
Dixcel Type M Brake Pads (F+R)
Dixcel Type SD Slotted Rotors (F+R)
Goodridge Braided Brake Lines
H&R TRAK+ 5mm Spacers (54.1 Hubcentric)
Pirelli Cinturato P1 Tyres (185/60/R14)
RS-Watanabe Type-A (14×6.5 +4.5 Final Offset)
RS-Watanabe Centre Caps
RS-Watanabe Lug Nuts
RS-Watanabe Valve Stems
How did you get in to Miatas?
A close friend of mine, Thomas, was the one who planted the seed of wanting an MX-5 into my head. At the time I had just sold my car to pay the tax on some land I had purchased. I wanted a fun car but I didn’t want to break the bank either. I flirted with the idea of a convertible, but I had told myself that if it were to be one, it would be only one car: a Honda S2000. Thomas had a friend, Dan, who owns an NA6 BRG which had been tastefully modified. He urged me to consider the MX-5 as it was the most bang for your buck car you could get, which was not only fun to drive given it was a rear wheel drive, 50/50 weight distribution and the fact that the car weighed next to nothing, but it also had huge aftermarket support. The plethora of mods you could do at a relatively cheap price was amazing, albeit this is a double edged sword in a way since most parts individually do not cost all that much but collectively you would have burned a hole in your wallet. I know this first hand. Anyway, after driving one, I was completely sold and I began to understand why these cars were so popular. I ended up getting the very first one that I saw. An unmodified, completely original 1996 BRG NA8C, which had always been under covers and never seen rain water.
How long have you owned the car?
I’ve had the car since December 15, 2015.
How long did it take you to build?
The car is always a work in progress (WIP) so I guess you can say it took as long as from the day I picked it up to now, which would be approximately 3.5 years. I have kept a detailed build log on mazdaroadster.com as well as my facebook page at www.facebook.com/96BRG where you can see the documented build.
What is your intent with the car?
Drive it as much as I can, keep playing with it by adding tasteful mods or refreshing parts with OEM where necessary, and to eventually hand it down to my not-yet-born son or daughter.
Is this your daily driver or weekend car?
What are your future plans/goals with the car?
Next on the list are the following in no specific order:
Built motor to either 1.9 or 2.0L with cams, etc
OS Giken 1.5 LSD
Take out the 4x pinhole dents on the car
Complete respray in BRG
Lizard Skin insulation in transmission tunnel and also underneath the carpets.
GV Rear Tail Lights moulded into the body, much like RevLimiter’s Sharka
Robbins tan soft top with glass rear window
Flyin’ Miata Frame Rails
Re-Upholster both seats with Nakamae with perforation on headrest to allow for speakers
Replace carpet with new OEM Mazda Tan carpet
Replace all rubber seals
Replace all four wheel hubs
Replace all fuel system parts with OEM Mazda parts
Refresh dashboard with new foam and insulation
Replace tan crashpad with OEM Mazda Tan crashpad
Replace heatercore with OEM Mazda NB heatercore
Refresh all suspension control arms, remove any surface rust and apply POR15 rust preventing paint
Replace all bushings with Mazdaspeed N1 bushings
Refresh subframe, remove any surface rust
Wire footwell lights and NA6 light assembly
Any special memories you’d like to share?
Taking the car home after paying the elderly gentleman and parting ways with my money, I distinctly remember playing with the pop-up headlights button as much as I could. I drove with the headlights up for most of the way home. Apart from driving the car which I love to do whenever I can, this car has enabled me to meet so many like-minded people and whom I have formed good friendships over. Every time I get behind the wheel and take it for a drive, quick or long, it never fails to leave a smile on my face. I’m sure I will have plenty more adventures to come.
Shoutout to Daniel (IG: dkarjadi) and Fatih (IG: fatihfilms) of Monday Made (IG: mondaymade) for always taking great videos and photos, David (IG: dbourne87) for also making my car look good in photos, Dan for initially showing me his BRG which instantly got me hooked into wanting one myself, Thomas for convincing me to get an MX-5 in the first place. Thanks to Dan, Nick, Victor, NK and Sari for always willing to lend a hand with anything, Josh and Ratana for being my go-to guys for anything mechanical, RevLimiter for providing amazing custom parts for my car and for answering my many questions about everything, RetroModernUSA for providing the intricate detailed pieces which make the car feel complete and of course, Spirit Road for providing me with this platform to share my pride and joy to the world.
Rocketeer Mazda MX-5 review: modified V6 roadster driven
Does it make you think Mazda should have done an MX-5 V6 itself?
Apparently they did build a V6 prototype, but decided it would tread on the toes of bigger sports cars in their range. Driving the Rocketeer, you can see why – it feels like a mini muscle car in some ways. Unlike four cylinder MX-5s you don’t need to rev it, you can just drive the torque. However, it’s not just about the mid-range. At about 4,800rpm the engine kicks, the note gets breathier and the car whips its way to 6,500rpm. It doesn’t cut out until 7,250rpm, but you don’t need to go there. For a V6 it’s snappy and punchy enough to feel right in the MX-5.
What do Rocketeer do to the rest of the car?
As standard, not a lot. The gearbox and rear differential are carried over. I was shocked to learn this, as the gearing feels like it’s been set-up specifically for the car. Third and fourth are ideal on B-roads, and at 70mph in sixth it pulls from 3,000rpm so no need to downshift for motorway acceleration.
They claim the clutch is strong enough to cope and the rear diff really helps get the power to the ground evenly. No traction control here, just ABS. This car also had uprated brakes and suspension. I suspect that’s a sensible option given the power. The brakes bite hard and although I’d personally like a bit more front end positivity from the chassis, that could easily be adjusted.
On the road it feels small, nimble and flows well. It’s not as accurate and locked down as most modern roadsters, and isn’t taut enough to slice through quick direction changes. But that’s maybe not the point. This is a period proposition. You’re not going to be considering this against a brand new MX-5. Probably.
What if you did?
The one thing you’d notice is the lack of chassis rigidity. There are tremors through the body – nothing to do with the V6 switch, just the fact that’s the way roadsters were 20 years ago.
Other issues? The throttle is slightly over-eager around town, there’s a bit of dive under braking and you sit too high in the car. Rocketeer is working on a fix for the latter and can already amend the former two. Apparently a roll cage would help the structural rigidity.
It’s nice to be in a simple car. Sure, this one has a Pioneer head unit with CarPlay, but aside from that you have clear black-on-white dials and easily understood switchgear. Mark II MX-5s such as this are reliable, cheap to run and deeply affordable to buy.
What about the upgrade costs?
Right, this is the challenge. If you take them your MX-5, either gen 1 or 2, it’ll cost around £10,500 for the engine upgrades you see here. Given the car is only likely to have cost you £3000 or less, that’s a big bill to swallow. Buy a £15,000 Porsche Boxster and in a few years time it’ll still be worth £10-12,000. Being an aftermarket fit, the Rocketeer kit, no matter how well resolved is never going to recoup its investment.
There’s a cheaper solution. For £6500 they’ll sell you a kit to do everything yourself at home, but you have to source your own V6 and it won’t have had the same care and attention lavished on it.
Either way, given the quality of the workmanship and installation, I don’t doubt it’s worth the outlay, but I do think the high price makes it naturally self-limiting in terms of how many Rocketeer can sell. You’d have to really love your MX-5 to want to put this much investment into it.
But people obviously do...
They do – Rocketeer have done 80 conversions so far, are working on V6 refits for the Mk3 MX-5, plus replacing the famously flakey rotary engine in the RX-8. All their work comes with a years warranty.
Restomod cars are going great guns at the moment, and that’s what this is when you get down to it. It’s just that the MX-5 isn’t such a desirable subject for modification as a Porsche 911 or Alfa Romeo GTA. Rocketeer obviously don’t go anything like so far, but seen in that light, the prices here are miniscule and the result is good, honest fun.
Sum it up for me.
How well do you know your British roadsters from the Sixties? Cars such as the MG B, Frogeye Sprite and Triumph Spitfire were the cars the MX-5 reimagined. Only with less leaking. In that light, think of this as the Healey 3000. Same size and philosophy, more meat and drama in the experience.
It’s got the power where you want it, a lovely tuneful engine and sweet gearbox. It’s not flawless, but look at it as a bit of weekend fun and ask yourself what would give you more fun for under £15,000? It’s not the only answer out there (Lotus Elise and E46 M3 are two that spring to mind), but ask yourself if an MX-5 was ever on your wishlist before you found out you could have one with the power to weight ratio of a current Porsche 718 Boxster S.
.1995 Miata M-Edition RestoMod / Rebuild (Part 2)
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