If your a car enthusiast, you must have seen or at least heard of the movie Cars. And if not, while yes it’s a cartoon the movie is worth the watch. When the movie was first introduced, my son Isaac was obsessed with it! I can’t even imagine how many times he’s watched it. In the movie there’s a scene where two extremely passionate fans of Lightning McQueen, Mia and Tia (get it, Miata lol), celebrate with Lightning after a race win.

On our ’94 Miata race car, we had a Flyin’ Miata decal on it which at some point the “ta” came off and Isaac would call the car Flyin’ Mia. It only seems appropriate when thinking of what to name the ’97 Miata street car, it be Tia.

Our Miata’s Backstory

A common theme for most vehicles that come to Z2 Motorsports is they have a unique backstory which makes them even more special to their owners. This Miata is no different.

A little over 20 years ago, I was an Assistant Manager at a retail bank branch. My boss, Claudia, asked me to help find the next fun car for her and her husband – a Mazda Miata, of course. I found them a nice blue Miata they loved, and over the years I’d hear stories of how they’d take it out for fun drives, and how her husband Donald just loved to hear the exhaust notes, especially driving through tunnels.

Through the subsequent years, Claudia and I remained in contact with each other. One day she called asking if I knew anyone who might be interested in buying their Miata. They were not using it like they used to, and they wanted it to be enjoyed by someone who would appreciate it. Initially I answered that I didn’t know of anyone, except myself of course. But already owning three street vehicles plus a racecar with a small driveway and a one-car garage, I knew my wife wouldn’t be that forgiving.

As many of us car enthusiasts’ brains are wired, we just must try pushing our boundaries, right? So, there was that minor problem of us only having a single car garage, a fairly small driveway, and already storing a racecar and trailer on the side of the house. There was simply no way my wife would say yes. Yet I just couldn’t resist asking how much they wanted for it.

Claudia said, “For you or someone else?” Donald, knowing I would love and appreciate the car, had a generous offer if I were to buy it. After hearing their extremely gracious price, I of course went into car-enthusiast-math, which reasoned I wouldn’t need to buy snow tires for the BMW 135i, so buying this would actually save the family money! Yes, that’s it!!  When I called my wife, explained it only had 60k miles on it, came with a hard top, and it was being sold by Claudia, and explained how it was logical…she shocked me and said yes, and that she would stop at the bank to get the money on her way home from work so we could pick it up that evening.

When we arrived at their house, Claudia asked if I remembered the car. It was yellow and knew the car they had was blue. Well, it turns out they had it painted, and this is the car I found for them twenty plus years ago. Who knew the car I helped pick out long ago would eventually come back to me? After learning that and driving it on the streets where it was much more fun than I had anticipated, it was no longer a backup for the race car.

The Mission for the Car

Dave’s soon-to-be 16-year-old son Isaac also shares a passion for cars and this Miata. Together we want to build it into something that shows well, becomes even more fun, isn’t terribly expensive, and enjoy the project with the Z2 Motorsports team.

We will lower the car by installing a coilover suspension, get new wheels and tires, update the interior, and most importantly – give it a kick butt paint job. Hope you’ll follow along with our build articles and videos!

To read additional parts of the build, in the Categories widget on the right select Miata Project Car.