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December 6, 2003:
I started off by building a model.
It's a Tamiya, model 10202. 1:12 scale, rare and extremely detailed. It gave me a great appreciation of how the real thing goes together. Call it a reference!
A view of the model from behind.
You can see the frame as well as the functional DeDion suspension.
The model is finished.
It's great for inspiration.
Enough with the little stuff.
Now it's time for the full-size version.
I started by modifying an extra steering rack.
This is a power rack from a Miata, but in order to avoid bump-steer it needs to be shortened. I sectioned the rack and the housing and shortened it by 5.5". I also converted the rack to manual operation instead of power.
The donor car.
This poor thing's had a hard life! It was wrecked in 1998 in a pretty bad accident judging by the damage. The cockpit is untouched, so it's likely that nobody was hurt. It's been serving as a parts car for several people for the past 5 years so it's pretty stripped out. It actually has everything that I need except an engine, and I have an extra one of those already. The car was donated to me for this project and I had AAA tow it over to Flyin' Miata for me to disassemble.
The rear suspension subframe came out quickly.
The mounting arm for the differential was broken in the accident. No problem, I have another. Seriously!
The car sat in the intense desert sun too long.
Many of the plastic parts underhood are brittle, such as the clutch reservoir. That's too bad for this part, but I can deal with it in the others.
The bulk of a Miata wiring harness.
This is the main harness behind the dash that runs up each front fender as well. I'll be using it primarily as a donor for connectors.
Front subframe, rear subframe, dashboard, wiring - pretty much everything in front of the doors is now gone from the car.
There's not much in the back of a Miata when you remove the gas tank and subframe!
Disassembly is complete.
The shell will be cut up and scrapped. There's not a single useable part left. This is one day's work. I've taken apart a few Miatas in the past!
CMC sent me this photo of my frame.
I should have it in the next couple of weeks.
December 7, 2003:
Now that I'm done with the carcass of the donor, it's time to take it to the dump.
An interesting cross-section of the Miata frame and bodywork.
The front frame arms come off.
The donor's in six pieces now.
RIP Miata. But it will live again, faster and stronger!
December 12, 2003:
Yes, another photo of the carcass.
It's going off to the dump - almost all of it in one load! Meanwhile, I've asked CMC not to ship my frame until the new year so that I'll be able to go get it from the depot in Denver. My vacation over Christmas would make it difficult to arrange before then.
December 15, 2003:
I was supposed to take delivery of the frame today, but a problem with the CNC plasma cutter that is used to cut the aluminum panels raised some questions as to whether it would ship in time or not.
I've asked CMC to hang on to the kit and ship it to me on January 5th, after I get back from holidays. This way, there's no chance of the frame sitting around a shipping depot in Denver for three weeks. It turns out the cutter was fixed in time and I could have taken delivery, but that's the way it goes.
The garage is getting into shape for the build.
No, really it is! Consider that besides the Miata parts, there are also 4 extra Cadillac heads, a Land Rover head, differentials, steering boxes, random other parts and even a Cadillac 429 stashed around (or in the middle of the floor). Doesn't everyone have spare engines all over?
The spring/shock assembly for the kit.
It's a 9" spring, and I'm thinking that a shorter spring could easily do the trick while saving some weight.
The rear end for the Seven is ready.
It's a viscous LSD - not held in high regard by much of the Miata community, but it's what was in my donor. It's also 13 lbs lighter than the favoured Torsen setup and this one appears to be working nicely. I had a spare rear housing for the diff to replace the broken one off the donor.
A trick for a little more stiffness in the diff bushings.
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