Home » This Lifted Mazda Miata With A Ferrari Body Kit Is The Perfect Silly Off-Roader

This Lifted Mazda Miata With A Ferrari Body Kit Is The Perfect Silly Off-Roader

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Many car enthusiasts will happily tell you that a Mazda Miata is always the answer to every question (Miata Is Always The Answer). Want a superb roadster? Miata. Need a cute convertible? Miata. Running from the IRS? Miata! Logically, this means the answer to your off-roading desires also requires you to purchase a Miata. Look, those are the rules, I don’t make them! I’ve seen a lot of off-road Miatas over the years, but I think I’ve found my favorite. This Japanese Domestic Market Eunos Roadster import was at one point a sporty car with a Ferrari 250 GTO-like body kit, then someone took it, slapped on a lift kit and chunky tires, then took the doors off. It’s silly and impractical and I’m here for it.

Doing a lot of Gambler 500 runs teaches you a lot of things. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that a lot of folks actually have more fun modifying and off-roading a road vehicle than something that was actually built for the task. Why buy a Jeep or a side-by-side when a $500 Toyota Corolla, an angle grinder, and used mud tires will do the trick? So, I’m enamored by this 1992 Mazda Eunos Roadster for sale on Cars & Bids that’s been turned into a battle car. I just want to put on a pair of aviators and then hit the desert in this bad boy.

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The Miata isn’t just an excellent roadster, but a cultural phenomenon. Car enthusiasts from multiple generations love the Miata and its overall excellent package. There are not many cars that offer top-down fun, sharp handling, a compact size, and affordability in one attractive package. The MX-5 Miata is so good that there have been many competitors over the years, all of them trying to capture the magic of nearly everyone’s favorite Mazda. Mazda’s brilliant roadster is so famed that as we learned earlier this year from the CEO of Mazda’s European arm, Martijn ten Brink, the Miata is basically eternal.

That’s great! Even I’ve been bitten by the Miata bug after taking an early ND for a spin. Part of what makes the Miata so awesome is how versatile it is as a platform. There have been barchetta-style Miatas, like the Gorgona Cars NM Concept:

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Gorgona Cars

There have been exoskeletal kit cars based on Miatas, like an Exomotive Exocet:

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Exomotive

Someone even turned a Miata into a pickup truck!

This Mazda Miata Pickup Truck Is
Craigslist via Autoevolution

That’s barely scratching the surface! There’s also at least one Miata four-seater rolling around out there:

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Craigslist via Autoweek

In other words, if you can dream it, some builder with a Miata could probably create it. One of my favorite genres of Miata is the MX-5 off-roadster. Contributor and all-around badass Emme Hall has an epic off-road Miata and I’ve seen a ton of them in the Gambler 500. A friend of mine, Austin, used to have a Franken-Miata build of his own before the poor car got wrecked.

Yet, none of the off-road Miatas I’ve seen looked like the one up for grabs on Cars & Bids. This car started off life as a 1992 Mazda Eunos Roadster. Indeed, this car is not a North American market special, but a car originally sold in Japan with a name for that market. You’ve probably read the Miata’s story numerous times, but here’s how Mazda describes how the car came to be in Japan:

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Mazda revived the lightweight sports car that was popular in the 1960’s in Europe and called it the first-generation Roadster. The car was launched in 1989 in its home country bearing Mazda’s new sales channel name, Eunos. Priced at 1,700,000 yen, pre-sale order taking events at venues across Japan attracted enthusiastic buyers. The enthusiasm soon spread around the world with the Roadster’s “fun to drive” coming out of Mazda’s pursuit of Jinba-ittai, a refreshing driving experience in an open-top sports car and emotional, cute design. The Eunos Roadster opened up new ways for people to enjoy driving through one make races and spawned a community of the Roadster fans and owners to share their passion.

Anyway, this 1992 Eunos Roadster is a first-generation vehicle that was sold in Japan and was imported into America just last year. This is what it looked like back then:

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At some point in the car’s life, it got a Monocraft body kit. Monocraft is a custom parts subsidiary of Japan parts and accessories chain Autobacs. Think of Autobacs as Japan’s equivalent of O’Reilly Auto Parts. But that’s maybe a bad comparison because Autobacs is more than just a parts chain. Back in 2001, Autobacs bought out tuner and manufacturer Tommy Kaira to create Autobacs SportsCar Laboratory.

A body kit for a Miata isn’t unusual, as a number of companies have sold all sorts of kits to turn your Miata into other cars. Ever wanted your Miata to look like a Chevy Corvette? Pick up the Mitsuoka Rock Star kit. Maybe your speed is more Aston Martin, in which case the AMX07 is your kit.

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In this case, this Eunos Roadster sports an apparently rare Monocraft kit that makes the car look like a Ferrari 250 GTO. When this car arrived in America and was sold on Cars & Bids back in March, the car sported TEIN coilovers, a Bride Low Max driver seat, a Nardi steering wheel, and a list of other options. The buyer paid $15,800 for this car and then turned it into something even more wild.

The car had a set of newer Miata wheels on it, but those were tossed out for Bassett Racing Wheel 15-inch wheels. On them, you get 235/70R15 Forceum ATZ tires. The Tcoilovers remain but the car is now raised with a Paco Motorsports lift kit. The buyer, now seller, added other bits here and there such as RaceQuip safety nets, tow bar attachment points, headlight covers, sweet rally lights, wheel arches, and more. Sadly, the air-conditioning has been removed, but you do get vinyl flooring and the original doors should you decide to tame the beast.

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Power comes from a 1.6-liter four making 118 horsepower and 101 lb-ft torque. Those beans reach the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission and a 1.5-way limited-slip differential. Even with the lower output and the big tires, I bet this thing is a blast in the dirt or on trails. The car has just the equivalent of 47,800 miles, too. Having an off-road Miata that looks like a Ferrari is bound to get you so many questions and comments.

If you’re looking to join the ranks of people with silly Miatas, this 1992 Eunos Roadster is currently bidding at $5,800 with two days to go at Cars & Bids. The car’s located in Florida, which might make it one of the coolest things in the state right now. Please do buy it, then let me take it for a spin on a Gambler 500. I promise I won’t break its suspension.

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Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
9 months ago

Many car enthusiasts will happily tell you that a Mazda Miata is always the answer to every question (Miata Is Always The Answer).

I CALL THESE PEOPLE WRONG!

(This car is funny as hell, though.)

Last edited 9 months ago by Stef Schrader
Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
9 months ago

Lotus badges?

Black Peter
Black Peter
9 months ago

So let me see if I have this right; someone took a $15k Miata, at some point added a body kit, and it sold as a 30 year old car for $15k (rather than 5k for a stock one). Then someone bought it 6 months ago, and turned it back into a $5k Miata, without any of the attributes of a stock Miata, or attributes becoming an off roader, ruining what made it a $15K Miata, and I guess yay?
No, not getting it.
Who buys this and immediate thinks, “You know what, this car would be better with less structural integrity, dangerous handling and trailer park appearance.”

10001010
10001010
9 months ago

Everybody complaining about how flexy it will be, don’t worry about that and try to focus on the bucket of monkeys it will be to drive until it folds in half!

JDE
JDE
9 months ago
Reply to  10001010

the question is, since one of the goals of Gambler rally’s is to clean up trash, does this thing qualify as trash? Or a monument to the rally when it fails and cannot be removed by conventional means.

10001010
10001010
9 months ago
Reply to  JDE

Oh, it can be removed, by both conventional and unconventional means.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-2htytR2Ag

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
9 months ago

I don’t understand off-road Miatas.

I understand Miatas, I own a stock original 1.6 NA and I love it, it’s such a wonderfully fun car right out of the box that I just don’t get why you would want to ruin one by lifting it and putting big off-road tires on it. All this does is ruin the joyfully precise handling that gives a Miata its character. And since you have to cut the fenders to pull it off, it’s not like this is an easily reversible modification either, you’re just cutting up and depriving the world of perfectly good Miatas. I have to imagine you can get the same experience with any number of less special cars, you don’t have to butcher Miatas to do it.

And this particular one was already super charming before being butchered! It’s the same vibe as one of the Nissan Pike cars, but with the inspiration being “Old Ferrari, but adorable!” But no, we can’t have purely wholesome adorable things, so better cut up the cute old baby Ferrari with brodozer trash for clout…

JDE
JDE
9 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

You may never understand Brony. The thought of taking something that is really only good for parking lot rally courses off road for a decent length of time is more of a “Hold my Beer” challenge.

In reverse, perhaps you need to buy a lifted on blocks Denali and road course it. See what you can do to make it hideous to the Brodozer guys but perhaps attractive to your group.

OptionXIII
OptionXIII
9 months ago
Reply to  JDE

I’m pretty sure most people can understand the appeal of going to the limit of your vehicles capabilities, or having fun in ways not intended. That’s a great use for a hooptie with one foot in the grave.

When you start by spending 5 times the going rate of a cheapish example to get a very clean RHD Miata with a body kit on it, you’re just struggling to be different and substituting cash for creativity. It’s a build meant to show off on Instagram, not to actually be driven as it’s modifications would imply.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
9 months ago
Reply to  JDE

This cost WAY too much to be a “hold my beer” challenge. This is someone chasing a stupid trend for clout and losing a lot of money over it. Clapped-out Miatas with crappy lifts are slightly more understandable, but still strike me as people who don’t understand/appreciate Miatas trying to turn them into a crappy version of something they’re not for no reason. You can still have fun with a clapped-out stock Miata on its own merits.

Also, Miatas are good for a lot more than parking lot rally courses. Have you actually driven one? They make any road fun. Even bumpy roads around here mysteriously don’t bother me in the Miata. It’s made my commute 10 times more enjoyable despite having fewer creature comforts than what I was used to previously. You can have more fun than anyone else on the road without even breaking any laws. My point is that it’s such a well-executed car from the factory that turning it into a crappy version of something it isn’t seems incredibly stupid to me.

But hey, at least if I end up selling mine ten years from now, the number of Miatas destroyed from dumb off-road shenanigans will have raised the value of clean stock examples…

JDE
JDE
9 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

I tried to drive a few first gens, but they were uncomfortable and slow. I did kind of dig a Miata with a 5.0 Mustang motor in it, but again it was barely above a motorcycle in the space it offered. I did kind of dig the Fiata styling and drove one to see if they were better than the early ones, it was better. Seemed a bunch faster, but I still would rather ride a motorcycle.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
9 months ago
Reply to  JDE

The slowness is half the fun though. It means you can drive it like a race car constantly without getting in trouble. Plus they do have decent power when you rev them enough, they’re not motorcycle-level but these engines like revs. It’s a little small yes, but the seat can actually go back really far so even though I’m fairly tall I fit just fine. You get used to the small size eventually, and then it feels cozy, like you’re part of the car itself, that whole “horse and rider as one” thing.

I can understand a motorcycle as some people’s preferred alternative, I’ve thought about getting a motorcycle/scooter at some point since they strike me as being fun no matter what speed you’re going, though I’d argue the Miata does have the advantage in storage space, weather protection, and safety due to having at least one airbag.

That said, I am somewhat skinny, so I could see how someone larger might feel cramped/claustrophobic, but even my dad who is much larger than me seems to fit in it well enough to enjoy driving it even though he feels it is very small.

It also may be worth mentioning that before I bought the Miata, my daily was a 1966 Thunderbird, and compared to that old slow boat the Miata feels like a rocket ship that corners like it’s on rails lol.

OptionXIII
OptionXIII
9 months ago

If this is the answer, what was the question?

“Can you combine all the least cohesive elements of wildly different car niches into a single car, while making it bad at all of them?”

I’d like my off roader to be a RWD unibody convertible with notoriously limited rear suspension travel. Also put a hardtop on it so I can’t use it as a convertible, I just want the floppy chassis please. Can I get it with carpet and no doors as well? Oh, and a fragile Ferrari body kit while I cosplay as a Jeep!

Well, at least it appears the seller will be punished financially for this ill planned fever dream.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
9 months ago
Reply to  OptionXIII

Yeah I hate off-road Miatas. All this accomplishes is ruining an increasingly sought-after car that’s getting harder to find in decent shape for no good reason beyond instagram clout.

There are plenty of less desirable cars you can do this too to get the same experience, leave the Miatas alone.

Sturzer
Sturzer
9 months ago

Miatas are already pretty flexible with doors, I can’t imagine how much this will want to twist over uneven terrain without doors.

This needs some kind of half cage to be capable off-road.

MEK
MEK
9 months ago

As much as I hate to admit this in public, I’m really kinda diggin this thing. I’ve been considering building a Miata offroader for a while now to park beside my beloved NB, (especially after I started following Emme Hall on Instagram). The combination of pre-runner-esque and psudo Ferrari body kit is awesome.

But can someone explain why the Birde racing seat is on the passenger side and the driver is stuck with the OEM seat? This seems a little backwards. Did the builder forget is the a RHD car while he was installing it?

Xpumpx
Xpumpx
9 months ago
Reply to  MEK

Don’t let Austin Vail catch wind of this

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
9 months ago

Hmm…

I have a Greddy turbo kit for a 1.6 Miata in my loft…

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
9 months ago

Unibody cars make horrible off-roaders. Every time you take it to the desert more spot welds are going to pop.

Toecutter
Toecutter
9 months ago

I once considered what it would be like to build something similar as an apocalypse vehicle. See my comment in the following topic:

https://www.theautopian.com/you-have-survived-a-sci-fi-apocalypse-what-modern-car-do-you-choose-to-wander-the-wasteland-and-how-will-you-mod-it/

I’m happy to see that someone had a similar idea, for a lifted Miata with classic Ferrari-like looks. That thing is totally bitchin’. It’s like a lighter version of the Rally Fighter. I’m a bit disappointed at the rear, as it has the right fastback proportion for drag reduction, BUT it is all for looks and non-functional since there is a straight cutoff at the rear window. That front would be delicious with some lexan headlamp covers. And it needs doors.

My comment in the above topic was as follows:

“Here’s what I have in mind:

Miata
Is
Always
The
Answer

Seriously. I’d have a Miata NB platform with a tuned 4BT Cummins swap, transmission and transfer case and other bits installed from a Mazda B2200 to convert to 4WD, custom gearing that is extra tall, a fastback kit to help with aero, Miata Italia front end, side skirts, wheel disc covers, partial grille block, lifted an extra 2.5″ on slightly larger wheels and tires for some degree of offroadability, roof and hood covered in about 300W of solar panels, and with a dual-shafted HPEVS AC motor built into the driveshaft tunnel area and 10 kWh of LiFePO4 batteries to assist the Cummins, a 50 gallon fuel tank in back taking up most of the trunk space, the chassis and suspension reworked to accommodate the increased weight this will all bring.

It’s going to weigh around 2,800 lbs, BUT I’ll have a vehicle that makes a combined 400 horsepower when all systems are in use, but can run on either the Cummins or the EV system independently, can be fueled with any combination of grid electricity, solar power, diesel, kerosene, biodiesel, CNG, brake/transmission fluid, waste vegetable oil, and whatever other crap I can find that the Cummins can run on, parts are reasonably common for both the platform and the 4BT, and with the aero work, it would have a CdA value around 0.45 m^2 in spite of being slightly lifted for offroad use. On petroleum diesel, this arrangement should exceed 50 mpg at 70 mph, top out at over 200 mph, do 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds, and out-corner practically anything. At 120 mph, fuel economy should still be around 20 mpg, allowing this vehicle the ability to out-distance anything with that huge fuel tank.

Using the EV drive system by itself, it would still make around 100 horsepower and have about 50 miles of range at 70 mph, 100 miles range at 30 mph, and 15 miles of range at 120 mph. So if no liquid fuels can be obtained, the solar panels will give at least this basic functionality, providing about 5 miles range a day at 70 mph and 30 miles of range a day at 25 mph, which is still better than a horse because you don’t have to feed it(although the only downside vs a horse is that you can eat the horse, but not the car).

The HPEVS AC motor and inverter would likely outlast even the Cummins, and the Cummins could last a 7-digit amount of miles. That LiFePO4 battery would also last 20+ years.

The idea is that this is a car that will stay running even if the apocalypse gets as bad as that depicted in “The Road”, which is basically a worst case scenario besides outright human extinction.”

TheWombatQueen
TheWombatQueen
9 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Hell yeah acknowledgement of the existence of the rally fighter

Ricki
Ricki
9 months ago

*reading, scrolling, nodding*

*sees Florida plates*

“Ah, yes, that explains it.”

Sklooner
Sklooner
9 months ago

So it looks like they spent a lot of money so sell if for less than they started at, sounds about right for car mods

Isis
Isis
9 months ago

I’m quite tempted. . .

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
9 months ago

I had a delicious Bucatini all’Amatriciana at the Autobacs Bar in Roppongi. They have a wide portfolio.

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