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Old 10-17-2011, 03:41 PM   #1
lupinsea
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MX-5 Shopping

Now that the BMW has been sold I'm in the market again for a Miata.

I'm not too sure why I'm posting this in Perseverators Anonymous as I've largely figured out what I want.

It'll be an '06-'07 MX-5 with about 60-70k on the clock (in our price range, sort of).

Must haves:
- 6 spd manual
- 17" rims
- soft top

Wants worth waiting for:
- LSD

Lower priority wants:
- Canvas roof
- Bose stereo

Must NOT haves:
- no white or black

Prefer NOT to have:
- silver or gray


Prices right now are about $1500-2000 more than we want to spend. If push comes to shove we could buy the car cash now but we want to wait for prices to drop a little more. I'll be shopping in ernest January - March once the calendar year ticks over to 2012 but before decent spring weather mucks with prices. But if we stumble across a good deal we're ready to jump on it. Time is on our side.

Basically, I'm looking for a Sport or GT w/ the suspension package and preferably the GT to get the canvas roof. Anything else is gravy. There are a lot of complaints on the Miata forums at how crappy the Bose stereo is but it seemed fine to me. As long as it's "decent" to my ear I'll be good with it. I'm not a huge audio guy and long ago decided it's not worth dumping money into car audio. So, I'll live with the factory stereo.

As for the colors. . . The silver and gray cars are ok but we've had two silver cars for several years now. I'd prefer something more fun. But I'll pick up a silver or gray if it's the right car at the right price. Prefer the gray over the silver, though, again just because we've had silver cars for the last several years.

And I'll be looking for a car with the Suspension Package, which is a bit of a misnomer. Consensus on the Miata boards is that the Bilstein shocks are crap and there isn't much other suspension changes. . . but it comes with the LSD, and the Suspension Package is worth it for that.

Plans from the other thread haven't changed. I still won't be tracking or autocrossing this car. So I'm interested in just driving it as-is. Maybe with a swaybar upgrade, the RX-8 sways are said to work wonders. In any case, I've had a chance to take three MX-5's out on test drives so I've had some time to get a feel for the cars.

I know most here don't like the softness in the NCs but I liked the cars I test drove: A standard GT, a GT w/ Suspension Package, and a Sport with Suspension Package. They seemed to ride nice to me, handle good. The power seemed decent and the engine sounded good when on the throttle. The 6spd shifter felt great, especially after coming from the ZHP. And the rest of the car felt well put together. The soft tops were great to operate. Love the one-handed center latch. And it felt good sitting in the car. Never felt too snug or anything, a concern I had coming from the more spacious ZHP.

In short, all three seemed like good, solid, roadsters. And I was ok with the car as-is. I think they'll be fine for my anticipated uses: daily driver with the occasional (very occasional) in-state day trip through the mountains. No track days, no autocross.

Hmph, the next few months are going to go by slowly.

To help pass the time I'll be doing a few more home improvement projects. Look for the Kitchen v1.1 thread to start soon-ish.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:05 PM   #2
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I know you said you're not quite ready to buy yet, but this car has been for sale for a while. It's red, has the MS-R package (2007 only - slightly lowered suspension and additional bracing), and has a stiffer front sway bar and Koni shocks.

He autocrossed the car so he has some extras - you could probably negotiate a lower price without that stuff.

Probably not what you're looking for but the MS-R cars are definitely special and unique so I thought you might be interested. plus, it's in Washington state.
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Old 10-17-2011, 05:13 PM   #3
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The MS-R packages are supposedly phenomenal, but I'd really want the 6 spd.

In '06 it was the Sport and GT's that had the 6 spd manuals.

In '07 Mazda switched it so it was the Touring and GTs that had the 6 spd manuals.

Given that's a '07 and started out as a Sport it only has the 5 spd. Besides, we're targeting around mid-$12k's for TTL out-the-door acquisition costs. That means finding something in the $11k price range. I don't think the guy would drop his asking price by $6k.

Definitely a unique car, though.
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Last edited by lupinsea; 10-17-2011 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 10-17-2011, 06:31 PM   #4
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Once my several times reanimated Frankenmini is finally completely unfeasible as a reliable NYC commuter, I think I'll probably look at used Miatae for a potential replacement.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaz View Post
Once my several times reanimated Frankenmini is finally completely unfeasible as a reliable NYC commuter, I think I'll probably look at used Miatae for a potential replacement.
If I had my ways I'd be looking at th '09+ NC's, known as the NC2's.

A lot of little changes that added up. Mazda improved the suspension after a lot of complaints on the NC1's, firmed up the springs and damping, threw in a forged crankshaft and did some other tweaks to bump redline up another ~500 rpm (7200 rpm vs 6700 rpm). Changed some cosmetic stuff. Keith from Fly'n Miata spoke with some high-up muckety-muck in Mazda's engineering staff and they said that the NC2 is basically what the engineers wanted to do but couldn't. Some of the U.S. Mazda dealers wanted a softer car for some reason so that's what the U.S. market got. The '09+ cars fix that.

Oh, and according to the Mazda source, the '10 Miata w/ 5 spd manual is supposed to be "the" car.

But they're a little too new and too far out of our price range so I'm looking at the '06 NC1's.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:15 PM   #6
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The later cars (not sure when the crossover was) have the nicer front bumper as well.

The '09+ cars seem really, really nice. I've driven one (albeit not with stock suspension) and I liked it a lot.
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plaz View Post
Once my several times reanimated Frankenmini is finally completely unfeasible as a reliable NYC commuter, I think I'll probably look at used Miatae for a potential replacement.
Did I hear correctly? Plaz might be getting a convertible?

This is special.

BTW, I bet the M1 coupe is "entertaining" on wet leaves
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
Did I hear correctly? Plaz might be getting a convertible?

This is special.

BTW, I bet the M1 coupe is "entertaining" on wet leaves
Not anytime soon. And it would be despite its roofiness, not because of it. I'm sure it would stay up 99.9% of the time. No one needs the top down through Newark on the NJTP or through the Lincoln Tunnel. It would be for a small fun affordable point-and-shoot two seater.

And yeah, the 1M likes to dance.
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Old 10-20-2011, 04:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John V View Post
The later cars (not sure when the crossover was) have the nicer front bumper as well.

The '09+ cars seem really, really nice. I've driven one (albeit not with stock suspension) and I liked it a lot.
Yup...

NC1 = 2006-2008 model years
- '06 was the first production year
- Lots of complaints about a too-soft under sprung / under dampened susp.
- GT cars have a canvas roof which is more durable
- Sport and GT are the trim lines with the 6 spd, the other have 5 spd manual
- "Suspension Package" is horrible misnomer, really only worth it for the LSD
- '07+ GT's have heated leather seats
- '07+ are the cars with optional PRHT (Power Retractable Hard Top)
- '07+ the Sport and Touring trim levels were flipped, Touring or GT = 6 spd
- '08 added adjustable height seats, this mechanism reduces headroom

NC2 = 2009+ model years
- Forged crank + other engine internals = 500 rpm higher redline
- Revised front suspension geometry for 1" lower roll center
- Revised shock / spring tuning
- 6 spd manual gets lower friction thingies for smoother shifting
- 6 spd manuals have "sound pipe" from engine to base of windshield
- Revised interior with improved door panels, no more bump for bottle holder
- Revised front and rear bumpers plus new rocker panel improves looks

There may be other changes but these are the biggies off the top of my head. The handling and suspension revisions on the NC2 are definitely an improvement. IIRC, when Evo reviewed the NC1 they hated it. . . but when the NC2 came out they give it a great rating saying the suspension changes made a significant difference.

I talked to a few NC owners who have 140,000+ miles on their NC's and they report excellent reliability. All reported only needing to change fluids, filter, brakes, and tires. One is getting ready to replace the soft top, though, after 5-6 years. So the cars are proving to be as reliable as previous generation Miatae.

Personally, if we had the budget I'd love to get an NC2 but they are several thousand out of our price range. So.... I'm looking at the NC1, and high-ish milage ones at that.

I'm hoping that in a few months prices will be down low enough that we'd only be looking at about a $1k price difference between what we sold the BMW for and what the cost of acquisition will be on the NC.
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:25 PM   #10
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Lup, I've noticed that you know the nc2 updates by heart, especially the engine internals. I know when I get to that stage there's no stopping my update fever. Clearly you're going to stick to your budget, hopefully it won't be a point to obsess on. Perhaps you'll get lucky in the winter with an 09? Do you have mileage/price limit? I'll keep an eye out (on the wrong coast).

The other side of this argument is that, in the real world, the 09 updates might not matter that much. NC vs. NB is much more important.
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