We’ve started the original SEMA car’s transition from show car to track car. At SEMA we not only wanted to debut the Catfish, but also show what could be done with an $800 donor car. It’s amazing what kind of transformation we made to a 1990 short nose Miata with 177,000 miles on the clock.
Now that the show is over, so to speak, we wanted to build the car so that it could be taken to the “Miatas at Mazda Raceway” event, and serve as a baseline for more modifications. So far this is what we have planned:
- Swap 1.6 for 1999 1.8 engine with new custom 4-2-1 exhaust
- Swap stock ECU for MegaSquirt MSPNP2 for easy tuning and easy setup for future mods
- Swap our prototype 5 bolt hubs for stock 4 bolt setup–tests will continue after Laguna Seca
- Add Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.3 17″ x 9″ rims. British rims for our Brit-inspired car.
- Swap the 5 speed for a newer close ratio 6 speed transmission
- Completely re-wire the car for the new engine package
- Swap AWR Racing NA engine mounts for NB engine mounts
- Add four point Roll Hoops
- Add five point Safety Harnesses
- New paint and interior
- Turn our fire-breathing exhaust into something that can pass Laguna Seca’s strict noise limits
- Corner weight suspension, align
- Tune the new engine package
- Complete about 100 small details
- Have fun!
This new engine package will serve as a good, solid baseline. The car will probably have as much horsepower as half the cars that show up at the track, but will weigh about 600lbs less. As usual, all of this is taking place within a short time, so we’ll see just how many items are properly finished before time runs out. Assuming the best, we’ll have plenty of in-car videos of the event and even hope to take some prospective owners for a ride around the track. Ron Cortez of AIM Tires and his customer Catfish will be at the event as well, so two running Catfish in one place will be a first!