I traded my 1994 Suzuki GSXF for this 92 miata. I plan to drive it for the summer and this winter/spring tear it apart to build a locost 7, Lotus 7 replica for those that do not know what a locost is.
It has a 1.6l DOHC 4 cyl, 5 spd and 98k on the clock. The previous owner did a crappy job putting the body kit on it and hacking up the wiring harness. The turn signals were put on with wood screws and numerous wiring connections were done by twisting the wire together without wirenuts, solder, crimp connectors or even electrical tape. The only wiring still to be fixed is the back up lights and one horn button does not work. I have already performed a foamectomy on the drivers seat to gain headroom and leg room. The Fiero will get a break this summer and I will take the opportunity to pull the engine and do some clean up and repair work.
The biggest thing to get used to is the lack of space. I thought the fiero was tight, but the miata is even smaller, but with the seat mods even my 6'4" 240lb blob can fit inside. Its amazing how this car handles differently than the fiero. The fiero has much more power, but in the corners it will either push or spin. There is not much forgiveness. The miata will slide nicely through the corners and when the rear does step out, it is easy to control and drift through the corners.
As I dig into the seven build I will either link to my build log at www.locostusa.com or do a mini build log here in this forum section.
Originally posted by FieroReinke: ...Its amazing how this car handles differently than the fiero. The fiero has much more power, but in the corners it will either push or spin. There is not much forgiveness. The miata will slide nicely through the corners and when the rear does step out, it is easy to control and drift through the corners.
I've said essentially the same thing about our Miata. It's much easier to drive hard than a Fiero. We have the 1.8 ('97) engine. I find it to be almost as quick as, if not quicker than, a healthy stock V6 Fiero.
Good luck with your project.
[This message has been edited by Raydar (edited 04-20-2013).]
I got such crap for owning it as a guy, but didn't care. It never broke, was amazingly agile, and aside from having to remove the visors to see out the windshield (i'm 6'4") I never had to do ANYTHING to it other than change fluids.
Here is one I did up last year. As it looked when I bought it with the typical peeling white paint and a filthy interior, faded rear window and all the good bits. I had to strip the boot lid, left door and left quarter panel back to bare metal.
During the respray. I wasn't going to respray it but the touch ups and repairs would have ended up blending together.
After I had finished it. A lot of work done. Including a respray, making new door cards and totally revamping the interior. All the silver bits are painted including the gauge rings as I was keeping it low cost. Also put a style bar on it and found low cost different wheels.
Well I am one step closer. I have finished the build table to build the frame on. It has a 3/8 steel top, 3x3 box tubing frame and 6" casters. I put an outlet on each side for power. There is a 1/2" plywood mid shelf for holding tools, parts, and supplies. You can also see the hoist in the background that will be used for putting the drivetrain in and picking the finished car off the build table.
The Fiero doesnt like all my attention going to a different car.
Made some progress. First I bought some steel including 1x1 box, 2x2 box,, 1.5x1.5 box, 1 round, 3/4 round, 3/4x3/4 box, 1x2 rect, 1" DOM for control arms and 1.5" DOM for roll bar
Then I Built the basic bottom frame out of 1x1 16ga steel tubing
Built the front frame, which has some compund angles making it difficult to get right. I use a scribe to mark all the angles prior to cutting.
Next I will build the rest of the uprights and the top pieces for the frame. After that will be the backrest for the passenger compartment. Once all that is tacked together, I will begin the triangulation.
In the second photo you can see the wooden prototype frame up on the wall. I built this to get the basic dimensions of the passenger compartment prior to building in steel. I wanted to verify the car is built to fit me.
There are specific plans for the basic frame using the miata donor, known in the seven world as Vodou or Saturn plans. These are just the basic frame, everything else from suspension to bodywork to brakelines has be designed into the car. I am going one step further and changing the saturn plans to better fit my goals for the car. I prefer the shorter cockpit opening on the side of the original sevens and caterams than the traditional locost. I will also be designing in a bolt on roll cage.
The wife will be out of the house this weekend so I hope to get alot done on the frame. I have tacked on the front frame and 4 of the uprights, but need to square everything up before I add the top rails.
Well I picked up a second Miata tonight. This one is a 1996 1.8 5spd car with the Torsen Type 2 LSD. I will pull the engine/trans/lsd out of this car to use in the seven and swap the engine/trans/diff out of my 92 Miata and put in the 96 and sell it off as a good running car. The 96 was dirt cheap because the battery is bad and the clutch is on its way out. The battery and clutch in the 92 are fine so I wont have to put much cash into it only labor and incidentals. Hopefully I can make a few bucks on the deal and come out out with a better drive train for the seven.
Not much to show on the frame as I have been spending my time playing with the little one. Hopefully i will get a few hours in the shop this weekend and can show some progress.
Havent worked on this much until recently now that the weather is warmer as my shop is unheated. The frame is all tacked together awaiting final weld. Once that is complete it will be cut loose from the build table and final engine mounts, transmission tunnel and floor bracing will be fabbed and installed. I will also begin fabrication of the control arms, which will be double wishbone front and rear. I did order and test fit the drivers seat, a kirkey intermediate layback 18" wide aluminum seat. Fits me and the car perfectly. With it test fitted, the shifter on the tranny was located exactly where I wanted it.
Lots of progress on the car. I won't list everything done here, you can read the full writeup on the LocostUSA site.
The frame is nearly done. I finish welded as much as I could, then cut it loose from the frame, flipped it over and closed up all the joints on the bottom sides of the tubes. It is much easier welding down onto a tube than trying to weld upside down.
Once the frame was welded, I put it back on the build table, but on blocks. I put the engine back in the frame and located it exactly where I wanted it. Once in place I built engine mounts using the Dodge 318 mounts that I also used on the tranny mounts in the Fiero with the 3.4 DOHC. The tranny mount for the se7en still needs to be made. I think I have a plan using a Jag XKE motor mount. My dad has an old one he is going to give me to play around with.
I also received my quick release steering wheel and attached it to the Miata steering column. Its an OMP Trecento 300mm wheel with a NRG 2.5 quick release and short hub.
My kirkey aluminum racing seat is also now secured in the frame. I used 3/8" bolts in four locations using simple anlge iron brackets. I still need to make the back rest supports, but those are easy to make. The seat is not adjustable so anyone shorter than me wont be able to drive the car. Tough Luck.
It wont be long and I will start working on the suspension. I have all the dimensions I need, just need to pull the car back off the table so I can use it to set up my jigs.