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News I bought my off-road Mazda Miata dream car

16:50  01 june  2020
16:50  01 june  2020 Source:   cnet.com

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Why did I buy my 1994 NA Mazda Miata MX-5? There are plenty of reasons, not to mention it's literally THE biggest bang-for-buck car I think I 've ever known. ➥ [SUBSCRIBE] for more videos on my Subaru WRX STi and Project Miata builds, reviews, tutorials, day in the life videos, vlogs and more!

a car parked on the side of a dirt field: Is this not the best thing you've ever seen? Emme Hall/Roadshow © Provided by Roadshow Is this not the best thing you've ever seen? Emme Hall/Roadshow

Most of you Roadshow readers probably know me as the truck gal. I'm the one who hits the dirt in Jeeps and tows huge trailers with dually trucks. I have an off-road race car, I've raced in the Baja 1000 and Mint 400, and I've won the seven-day, pavement-free Rebelle Rally. Twice. One of which was in a Rolls-Royce.

But I've never owned a truck. Instead, Miatas are my thing. And I'm happy to report that the latest addition to my stable combines the best of both worlds. Y'all, meet my off-road Miata.

I have a long history with Miatas. I got my first one in 1994 -- a little 1.6-liter used roadster with steel wheels, a five-speed manual (fancy!) and 116 horsepower. I sold it years later with over 250,000 miles on the clock as I headed off to grad school. I got my next Miata, a 2001 LS, after I graduated. Fast-forward to 2014 and I upgraded to a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata, which is currently my daily driver.

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My off-roadster is a 2001 MX-5 Miata with 130,000 miles on a stock engine and a five-speed manual transmission. An upgraded radiator helps with cooling as the factory radiators are pretty wimpy, but by and large the power plant is stock. A 3-inch lift gives around 8 inches of ground clearance, while a custom skid plate protects the undercarriage. The 27-inch General Grabber AT2 tires are wrapped around 14-inch BMW bottle-cap wheels, and I am here for them. The front clip is gone, replaced with a steel bumper and some giant rally lights, only two of which are wired up correctly. Around back, the trunk has been cut and fabricated to hold two spare tires, and the muffler has been eliminated because when you look this good, you want them to hear you coming.

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And the car didn't miss a beat for the entire drive, except for that fucking locked diff annoying me Anyway, this is a big one off my car bucket list and I wanted to share. Thanks for reading guys. [–] 12345tommyBMW Z4 3.0SI Roadster, several Mazdas 10 points11 points12 points 2 hours ago (0

My off-road Miata slays in the dirt

Inside, the door panels have been replaced with smooth sheetmetal -- ask me how hot they can get in the sun and I'll show you my elbow -- and the stock steering wheel has been swapped out for a DnD performance ring, nicely finished in suede for grip. Topping it off is a custom roll bar with gussets.

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Kevin tells VINwiki about the 8600 mile road trip he took in his Miata track car on. He set out on a 4 week adventure crossing off car -guy bucket list items

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When I bought the Miata over Memorial Day weekend, I immediately hit the trails. The first thing I did was drop into an uphill wash with plenty of soft sand that got progressively narrower the farther I went. With first gear engaged and the throttle pinned, revving almost to the 7,000-rpm limit, the Miata got through it, but it probably wasn't the best way to introduce myself to a vehicle I'd never driven off-road.

The car's suspension doesn't have any more travel than a stock Miata, despite the lift, so whoop-running is still pretty slow. It's very similar to the Class 11 Volkswagen I raced in the Baja 1000. I just have to find a rhythm and keep it steady.

A steep hill climb proved easy for my new best friend, especially when aided by a bit of momentum. When new, the motor only produced 142 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque, so you have to commit to throttle inputs or you'll be dead in the water.

a car parked on the side of a dirt road: Look closely and you'll see the Cheshire Cat grin on my face. Lyn Woodward © Provided by Roadshow Look closely and you'll see the Cheshire Cat grin on my face. Lyn Woodward

What will I upgrade first? Well, the 4.3 rear differential is still stock, so it's pretty slow off the line with those huge tires. I can get a 5.38 ring-and-pinion set from Paco Motorsports, but that might be too much for 27-inch tires. I may opt for a 4.5 or 4.7 differential, but I have some researching to do. The shocks aren't great, with the passenger-side rear having little to no compression, so those will be on the list, as well. The aftermarket steering wheel means I don't have a driver's side airbag, so a five-point harness is probably a good idea.

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Today I show you my new car : Reagan the Rally Miata and take her for her first off - road adventure!

Off - Road Mazda Miata Looks Like A Mad Max Prop | Carscoops. What is it about cars that have no business going off - road , wearing lift kits and mud tires, that's just so unreasonably awesome?

a car parked on the side of a dirt field: Is this not the best thing you've ever seen? © Emme Hall/Roadshow

Is this not the best thing you've ever seen?

At some point I'll need mounts to carry my Maxtrax recovery boards and DMOS shovel, since I imagine I'll be getting stuck a fair amount, and I'd also like to swap out the rally lights, which stick out over the tube bumper, for a smaller-profile LED bar. Then again, those rally lights look pretty dope, so maybe I'll leave them until I smash them. Speaking of lighting, she'll also need a dust light in the rear. A small winch would also be nice.

Components like control arms, shock mounts and ball joints will be upgraded as needed, but for now I have my very own Japanese Baja Bug. I couldn't be happier.

This was originally published on Roadshow.

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