I'm interested in finding a gas saver car that CAN be more fun than the run of the mill 4-banger that gets zero attention and can't be made fun.
I race SCCA with my Camaro Z28 and there are A LOT of fast and fun Miata's at the events. I talk to the people to find out they average 22-24 mpg even on race days and 30+ highway mileage.
I've been thinking of finding a dull little SOHC 5-speed car and selling my SL2 w/ the MPG thrashing automatic trans. I think I'd rather find a fun little sporty 4-banger like the Miata.
While saying all this, I'm 6'1" and 200 lbs so I'm not even sure I'll fit into the Miata's. But I can see a 30mpg OEM Miata being transferred easily into obtaining 40+ MPG w/ the use of aero mods and maybe a regeared 5th gear and axel ratio.
Then I'll have another toy for SCCA incase the Camaro ever pukes on me.
Thoughts on the Miata?
Also considering the Chrysler Conquest TSi which is a turbo 2.6L 4-cyl SOHC RWD 5-speed car.
If you want fun to drive, get a civic SI 92-00, that gets 35mpg+ highway. They weight less than 2300 pounds and got about 125 hp at high rpm. They are cheap to, just add 1k$ on suspension and you got yourself a go kart.
The Miata is under 2300 lbs and has 130 hp. That, and I find FWD impossible to be "fun". I've owned 4 Camaro's, all with posi traction. After that, there is no such thing as FWD fun.
Perhaps there are no regears for Miata's, but that rear diff should have some aftermarket support. I was thinking of picking one up with high miles (purchase price of $2,500 or less) and just hypermile it until it fails (if ever) and at that point, rebuild w/ turbo/supercharger and make it an autocross or track car and find a new gas miser.
Since I rarely carry anything in the trunk of my vehicles, and I'm single w/ no children and a dim social life, I carry no passengers other than my g/f from time to time.
I think the little Miata is right up my alley. I was hoping to hear a response here from someone trying to hypermile one to see what is possible.
I raced for MAZDA and also was involved with Spec Miatas...5'11" and 210#. There is a lot of room in a stock Miata. I did have to design a special rollcage for racing and deactivate the parking brake (leg was pulling it up slowly). Very tuff little car!
2006 Jeep Liberty CRD...Founder of L.O.S.T.
OME 2.25" Lift w/ Toyo Open Country HTs 235/75/16s
ASFIR Alum Eng/Tranny/Transfercase/Fuel Skids
2002 Air Box Mod...Air Tabs (5) on Roof...(3)each behind rear windows
Partial Grill Block with Custom Air Scoop and 3" Open Catback Exhaust
Lambretta UNO150cc 4 Stroke Scooter
If you want a fun FWD, infiniti G20. 1991 is lightest/best. corner like a mofo: floored in 2nd gear @7krpm/60mph 90 degree turn wheel at the lock and no understeer
There's enough support for miatas, you oughta be able to find a nice 3.5 or so rear end easy from someone looking for more torque of a 4.1 rearend. remember, non-turbo power comes from sheer efficiency. good headers, good 2" exhaust, etc etc.
1991 Toyota Pickup 22R-E 2.4 I4/5 speed
1990 Toyota Cressida 7M-GE 3.0 I6/5-speed manual
mechanic, carpenter, stagehand, rigger, and know-it-all smartass
"You don't get to judge me for how I fix what you break"
I went and looked at a Conquest TSi for sale a week ago and was surprised to find upon arrival there was body damage that was never discussed over the phone.
I was so upset I sent the guy a nasty email w/ a low ball offer and he responded asking only a few $100 more.... now I'm intrigued.
Conquest TSI - 2.5L 4-cyl turbo at 8psi stock, 5-speed manual and RWD.
So.... which do I pursue? Miata will cost more initially, and being N/A at 130 hp its far behind in power. The Conquest needs some work, but I could have a total investment of $2,000 and be driving it. Being turbo, it gets good mileage anyway and the tunability is endless, not to mention there is already a boost controller and upgraded turbo on it.
PS: I drove the Conquest... it's a DRIFT machine. I had to smile after hitting boost and getting loose.