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Author Topic: Buy existing or build my 2002?
Hqen2000
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Region: Southwest (California)
Year : 1993
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I'm trying to figure out if it's going to be better to build up the 2002 Miata I have, or to just buy an existing one. I have around $10,000 to spend.

I was initially thinking I'd just build mine but I'm looking and it seems I can just buy one for around the same cost as it'll be to build my 02 as a spec. Then I'll still be able to sell my 02 for additional monies.

My 2002 is bone stock, and I'm located in Southern California.

I'm not a mechanic, but I can do mechanical things to a certain point. I wouldn't install or weld up a cage myself, but doing things like brakes, hubs, etc I'm fine with. I'm really struggling with this trying to figure out what's the better option but I have no idea.

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Hqen2000
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Year : 1993
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I'm not sure how it plays into this buy I'm 6'2" 215lbs. I don't fit in the 02' very well really. I can drive it around but I can't really do much past that. I've heard the interior in the older ones is larger (or at least longer), which sounds good. If I'll have a hard time fitting in the 02 with a cage and a racing seat then I'd rather go with something I can actually use.

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: NWR / Oregon
Car #: 88
Year : 95
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You'd be in a small minority of cars with a 2002. As you build and develop it you might be hard pressed to find SM specific information to help you along the way. There are plenty of drivers bigger and broader than you who can fit into the NAs.

--------------------
Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

Mark de Regt Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: NWR/Oregon; ICSCC
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Year : 1991
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In the short term, buying used generally is significantly cheaper than building, if you do your homework and don't buy a lousy car. I suspect that over the longer term, it evens out, as you have to replace worn out parts earlier on the car that's already seen plenty of action.

Either way, this is an expensive game, and you should be sure that you will have the dollars to enjoy your car once you have it ready to go, before buying/building.

Hqen2000
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Region: Southwest (California)
Year : 1993
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Do you have an estimate of what it costs? I know it's pretty dynamic but I'm just curious? I've been a drag race for a while, I had a 240sx that was in the 9s. But I generally didn't break parts in that. So it wasn't a high ongoing cost.

But I've learned that sometimes it's better to just be in the majority so I can get parts and everything more easily (and most likely less expensive). But would my 02 have any advantages over an older one? If not there is no point.

Looking at a used spec, what sorts of things should I lookout for?

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Mark de Regt Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: NWR/Oregon; ICSCC
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Year : 1991
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Here's my son's build sheet, for his 1.6:
http://akilla.net/pics/smbuild.xls

Note that it only includes relatively minor motor work, rather than a new motor.

He spent a lot more than I did, initially, but I suspect I've caught up with him.

I bought my car from a known good guy and excellent driver. The car had never been wrecked and wired back together. That was my biggest concern. Buy locally has several advantages, notably some level of support from the seller if he's a decent person, and the car is known in the community, meaning that people can warn you off.

Otherwise, the obvious: How old is the motor?; look at the logbook to see if there are any red flags; look at suspension and brake parts to see if there's anything obviously amiss. This month's SCCA rag has an article on buying a used car.

I have a 1.6, so I know nothing of the newer cars.

SparePartsRacing
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Region: Houston
Car #: 34
Year : 1994
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I would first ask for log books. That will tell you if it has been wrecked badly at the track. Result sheets would also be good to look at. That can also be found on mylaps.com in most cases. Also if your looking at one particular car, jump on here ask about it. there is always someone on here that knows about the car and driver and can give insight on it.

just my [twocents]

Good luck

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100 X Nothing killed the donkey

Mike Colangelo Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I recommend buying used. It'll get you on the track much sooner and should be cheaper.

Read through the SCCA (or NASA) GCR rules so you have an idea on what's legal or not. Pay close attention to the rollcage design. It is a really, really good idea to bring along an experienced SM racer when checking out a car or having a shop that knows SMs to inspect the car for you. 7's Only at Buttonwillow and Rush Motorsports in the San Diego area are two good shops for that.

Hqen2000
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Region: Southwest (California)
Year : 1993
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http://classifieds.specmiata.com/detail.php?id=2745

http://classifieds.specmiata.com/detail.php?id=2742


I'm in Southern California, I can tow a vehicle from nearly anywhere in the US (with enough time) but I'd prefer to be able to look at it. But there isn't much for sale locally.

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Tvance13
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Sent you a PM

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http://TylerVanceRacing.com

Eric Richter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: So Cal
Car #: #29
Year : 1993
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Come on out to AAA Speedway march 12-14 and talk to some of us SMers. Sit in a few cars, ask questions.

Eric

--------------------
2009 SoCal SCCA SM Champion
"Only boring people get bored"

davew Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Region: chicago
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Year : 90 and 90
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I am looking for a late model street car. I have several SMs for sale from slightly used to fresh builds. I would be willing to make a trade.

Let me know at the email below
Dave

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Advanced Autosports, The Midwests leader in Spec Miata Service, Parts and Rentals
608-313-1230
Authorised Spec Miata service center
www.advanced-autosports.com

TR6
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Car #: 500
Year : 2002
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I'm tracking a 2002 spec miata and I'm 6'3" and 235lbs. I fit fine with the seat bolted to the floor. But in general, it is usually cheaper to buy vs. build. And one other thing to consider with the 2002 is that when something is not working right on the car, no one seems to know much about the new cars compared to the expertise available at the track for the earlier cars.

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Greg H.
2002 red Miata #500
Denton, Texas

Viking Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by TR6:
no one seems to know much about the new cars compared to the expertise available at the track for the earlier cars.

Hey ! I remember someone helping you out a couple times now.

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Viking Sjovall
Viking Motorsports

Hqen2000
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Year : 1993
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I sort of like the idea of building the car myself. I don't know a lot of the components and how to adjust, install, etc. So being able to work on all of that sort of stuff myself seems nice. But I have no idea how much it would cost really in terms of the difference in price. I see it can cost around $15k to build mine. But maybe about the same to buy one. but will the one I buy be as good?

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Hqen2000
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Ok, I sent you an email. Thanks for the help everyone. I'll definitely go to AAA Speedways in March to check that out.

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Mark de Regt Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Hqen2000:
I sort of like the idea of building the car myself. I don't know a lot of the components and how to adjust, install, etc. So being able to work on all of that sort of stuff myself seems nice.

That, to me, is the single most compelling reason to build your own. It takes time and money, but (if you do it right) you'll know your car thoroughly.

quote:
Originally posted by Hqen2000:
But I have no idea how much it would cost really in terms of the difference in price. I see it can cost around $15k to build mine. But maybe about the same to buy one. but will the one I buy be as good?

Look in the classifieds, and you'll see that asking prices are all over the lot for used race cars. Much of that spread has to do with prep level of the car (one made to win national races is typically a lot more expensive than one made for regional racing). Also, keep in mind that a data system can be quite expensive, and can affect the price of a car (whether you're building your own, or buying used).

Also, in comparing costs, keep in mind that building your own, using your car as a donor, will be a different computation than buying used, which would leave you your present Miata to use as a street car or sell.

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Hqen2000:
I sort of like the idea of building the car myself. I don't know a lot of the components and how to adjust, install, etc. So being able to work on all of that sort of stuff myself seems nice.

That was the main reason I built mine. They break sometimes. I may not be the best wrench in the paddock but I know how to fix most stuff when it does.

You may want to factor in another few hundred $ for tools though. There aren't a lot of specialty tools you really need but there are certain tight spots where having the magic wrench or pair of pliers will save you knuckle skin and frustration. Plus a couple of the right power tools will save a lot of time and prevent repetitive stress injuries.

--------------------
Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

Hqen2000
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Year : 1993
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It scares me to build a newer car where there isn't much support. I'm looking at buying this car. What do you think?


http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/cto/1617676145.html

http://hartzelautomotive.com/sub_page.asp?sSection=auto_sales

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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You'd need to weld the cage, strip more out of it to make weight, I don't think that short shifter is legal, and it doesn't come with spares. You're probably looking at another couple of thousand on top of that price, and you don't know it's history. While it doesn't look like a bad price, I've seen some for the same price that come with a STRONG motor, lots of spares, and a fully welded in cage.

When bad things happen to good people, race cars get cheap.

--------------------
Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

JD Morris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Hqen2000:
I'm not sure how it plays into this buy I'm 6'2" 215lbs. I don't fit in the 02' very well really. I can drive it around but I can't really do much past that. I've heard the interior in the older ones is larger (or at least longer), which sounds good.

I went through the measurements with a buddy who is 6'4" and the firewall to rear bulkhead on the NB (99 and later) is 1" longer than on the NA ('89-97). I didn't believe him and made him show me. Other tall guys may want to chime in. Otherwise I seem to remember the interior dimensions between model years are the same.

JD

Hqen2000
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Year : 1993
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quote:
Originally posted by JD Morris:
quote:
Originally posted by Hqen2000:
I'm not sure how it plays into this buy I'm 6'2" 215lbs. I don't fit in the 02' very well really. I can drive it around but I can't really do much past that. I've heard the interior in the older ones is larger (or at least longer), which sounds good.

I went through the measurements with a buddy who is 6'4" and the firewall to rear bulkhead on the NB (99 and later) is 1" longer than on the NA ('89-97). I didn't believe him and made him show me. Other tall guys may want to chime in. Otherwise I seem to remember the interior dimensions between model years are the same.

JD

I can hardly fit in my 02' I know I've sat in older ones and I seem to fit fine. Maybe it's the position of the seat mount, or maybe it's the thickness of the seat, or position of the pedals or steering wheel, but there is something that makes the newer ones more difficult for taller drivers. Not the newest one, just the one till 2005.

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Hqen2000
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Year : 1993
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quote:
Originally posted by Keith in WA:
You'd need to weld the cage, strip more out of it to make weight, I don't think that short shifter is legal, and it doesn't come with spares. You're probably looking at another couple of thousand on top of that price, and you don't know it's history. While it doesn't look like a bad price, I've seen some for the same price that come with a STRONG motor, lots of spares, and a fully welded in cage.

When bad things happen to good people, race cars get cheap.

Can't the cage just be welded? What's the big deal with spares? Spare wheels I assume? I see a lot of them and I have to admit I'm unsure why. You are only allowed to run one type of tire. I suppose you can have some shaved and some not? For qualifying or what not?

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1993 Spec Miata #94

CP Verified Driver
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Spares = wheels, control arms, tie rods, rear ends, transmissions, misc suspension bolts, radiators, alternators, MAFs, subframes and the list goes on. It's bascally the stuff that can keep you racing at the track should something unexpected put you on the sidelines.

I'd imagine the layback of the seat would make a big difference for tall people too. I'm 6' and have the seat mounted on the floor, laid back a bit with the front on the factory mount piece of metal, pushed as far back as my cage will allow. I've got a ton of room and have to use a 3" steering wheel extension so I can reach it with bent arms. I've found these cars to be rather roomy when they're gutted.

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-Cy
Supported by LTD Racing & Speed Shack - New England's Premier Auto Accessory Store
Rt1 AutoMile - Norwood, MA
http://www.speedshackonline.com

Keith in WA Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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You'll want rain tires unless you opt not to race in the rain, and probably 2 sets of dry tires. There are a couple practical reasons for 2 sets of drys other than different shaves. One being if you get sideways and flat spot a tire or 4, maybe go off sideways and get rocks in your tire bead, bend a rim, you have a backup set. Not critical when you start out but you'll want them eventually.

For other spares...we don't call it quits when something breaks. I don't carry everything and I've borrowed or bought spares off of others when something broke. Likewise if someone needs a spare I brought, it's theirs. I wouldn't even think twice. I bring a box of assorted gaskets, pads and rotors, and various things I've accumulated that are "spares prone".

I didn't realize how much the SM community banded together when a car needs help until my first race. It sprang a nasty water leak right before quals and was about to go back on the trailer. That wasn't going to happen. People banded together, brought me parts, drove me to the parts store to get what wasn't available, and replaced my water pump and a couple other things for me in 1.5 hours because I probably couldn't do it in less than 4. I've seen frames straightened in the parking lot, major suspension replacements between sessions, transmissions swapped in an afternoon, and that's front runners to back markers.

That's one key reason you might want the car everyone else has in your region. When it breaks, someone else has the spares you need, and the knowledge to install them.

And yeah, you can weld up that cage but it's not free. Plus you might want to add or beef up the door bars so you can gut the doors to help drop the car weight, it may not work for your height...

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Keith Novak
(Will work for tires)

NER88 Verified Driver
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I'm building a 2002 car for SSB.
Build a SM car, put the interior back, run oem wheels, no restrictor, 45lbs less weight, on Hoosiers. Locally run ITS with no changes and if it all doesn't workout it's still SM legal with only a few changes.

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Jerry

Frank Todaro
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If 10,000 is the budget it will be close, I built a 1999 and have done a complete build and replacement of most of the parts, caliper, bushing, rear end and so on. pros to buying used, saves money, cons, may be buying someones headache. I like the building process was part of the fun for me.

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Frank
Member: No Pain Racing

TR6
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking:
quote:
Originally posted by TR6:
no one seems to know much about the new cars compared to the expertise available at the track for the earlier cars.

Hey ! I remember someone helping you out a couple times now.
Yeah, but you aren't always around to bail me out! [Smile]

--------------------
Greg H.
2002 red Miata #500
Denton, Texas

Hqen2000
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Ok i'm going to buy this car:

http://hartzelautomotive.com/sub_page.asp?sSection=auto_sales&sPage=default


So beside the door bar for the passenger which I will have completed right away, what else do I need?

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1993 Spec Miata #94

CP Verified Driver
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So much for that $10K budget...

--------------------
-Cy
Supported by LTD Racing & Speed Shack - New England's Premier Auto Accessory Store
Rt1 AutoMile - Norwood, MA
http://www.speedshackonline.com

Johnny D Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Have them take a look, and get a annual.
http://www.calclub.com/html/headerpages/roadracing/resources.htm

School starts March 11th.
Hurry.
J~

Johnny D Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by CP:
So much for that $10K budget...

I think it's the same car as above but was dropped way down on price Craigslist.
J~

Tvance13
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Who says the 99 is the car to have. Good luck, hope to see you out at the SCCA event in March

--------------------
http://TylerVanceRacing.com

G. Davis Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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What made you decide on a a $17k car?

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--------------------

Glenn Davis

Hqen2000
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It wasn't 17k, plus I worked out a deal for my 02 for a partial trade. So I'm getting it for around 8k.

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Hqen2000
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Ok, I picked it up...

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Hqen2000
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1993 Spec Miata #94

Hqen2000
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Year : 1993
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I'm going to be moving in 2 weeks (buying a new house), so then it'll be in a garage. My garage is too messy for a car right now [Frown]

What else do I need now that I have the car? I want to get a removable steering wheel. Then I'm not sure what else. I need to adjust the seat too as I can hardly fit inside it.

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Eric Richter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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I would adjust the seat, then check all the maintenance items, brakes,fluids,hoses, etc, then take the car to the track and drive it. Get used to it, talk to other SMers and go from there. Are you coming to the NASA event next weekend? Sign up for one of the HPDE events and get some seat time in the car.

Eric

--------------------
2009 SoCal SCCA SM Champion
"Only boring people get bored"

Tvance13
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I would take it to a NASA or SCCA race and see if you can get an annual. They will point out any of the issues you may have. Looks like you may need to update the cage. Padding does not look legal. Need to get a right side net, check all the dates on your belts/seat/net for expiration.

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http://TylerVanceRacing.com

Hqen2000
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I have a net for the drivers side. I know it needs a door bar for the passenger side. I'm not sure how much bar it needs if it's just the single or more. But I'm going to take it to my local race shop to have them fix it up. But till then I can do HPDE I suppose.

I can't race at NASA events till the cage fixed right?

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1993 Spec Miata #94

Eric Richter Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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If you don't have a license you can't race with SCCA or NASA but you can still do HPDE events with NASA or time trials with SCCA,in which case your car is fine.

--------------------
2009 SoCal SCCA SM Champion
"Only boring people get bored"

Tvance13
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The car needs to pass tech prior to racing, but you could run it in HPDE. You can download the rules on the NASA site for info on the bar, padding, seat/belt position and all the other stuff they check. Good luck and have fun!

--------------------
http://TylerVanceRacing.com

wheel Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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You need one more bar, connecting the main hoop and the front hoop, on the passenger side. A horizontal bar will be fine. The foam padding is NFG. You need some high density stuff. See Saferacer.com or you local speed shop.
You can do SCCA PCX or time trials the way the car is, if you have a current (2000 Snell) helmet.
wheel

Also, I would question the angle of the right side front hoop. It seems to go down at a weird angle. That hoop should be vertical, down to the floorboards. I think that side would fold flat in a rollover. Can't tell on the driver's side. Go to the GCR and look at the roll cage specs. You might get away with it in tech and wish you hadn't, when you get on your roof.

Hqen2000
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I'm going to get the door bar installed.. Probably next week. I'm doing a HPDE event at Willow Springs this Saturday (March 13, 2010). This will be my first time on a track so we'll see how I do.

What is GCR where I can look at the cage specs?

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1993 Spec Miata #94

wheel Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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The GCR is here http://cms.scca.com/documents/Club%20Forms/20...orms/sporting.%20JAN-.pdf

The roll bar stuff starts on about page 80.

Weekend Warrior Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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WOW!

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Johnny D Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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You can get into the GCR and try to explain it to a welder but it may not come out correct.

I would just take it to one of your local SM cage builders and have them bring it up to spec.

Ask someone like Eric Richter (SoCal)on this site were he gets his done, he's out were your at.

J~ [twocents]

Mitch Taylor
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Your cage looks to be a harddog boltin, alot of the earlier sm cars seem to have them. It will be fine, have a good race shop, welded it up, add nascar bars to passenger side, tie the front backing plates into the front sills for shear strenght with vertical plates, weld the rear main tube to the tub were they sit and reinforce those mounting plates, and the rear down tubes in the trunk weld those plates too. Leave the bolts in according to Harddog. I am not a raceshop or welder but my car had this type of cage and I recently upgraded it with the nascar bars,etc, by one of the top HSR shops in the country and that is what they did to it. Good starter car.

Hqen2000
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Do you know of a shop in So Cal that can do this? I'm picking up a trailer today so I can tow the car wherever I need it to go. Where is Eric Richter?

quote:
Originally posted by Mitch Taylor:
Your cage looks to be a harddog boltin, alot of the earlier sm cars seem to have them. It will be fine, have a good race shop, welded it up, add nascar bars to passenger side, tie the front backing plates into the front sills for shear strenght with vertical plates, weld the rear main tube to the tub were they sit and reinforce those mounting plates, and the rear down tubes in the trunk weld those plates too. Leave the bolts in according to Harddog. I am not a raceshop or welder but my car had this type of cage and I recently upgraded it with the nascar bars,etc, by one of the top HSR shops in the country and that is what they did to it. Good starter car.


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1993 Spec Miata #94

 
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