At $26,995, Is This Custom 1990 V8 Mazda Miata A Total Work Of NART?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

With its Ferrari inspired looks and grumbly Ford engine under its hood, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Miata is one unique and wild beast. Let’s find out if its price could turn you into an animal tamer.

Ten grand is a lot of money to most folks. I know it is for me at least. If you had that kind of money just laying around, what would you do with it? Would you invest it in Bitcoin, that drain-circling virtual coinage? I’d hope not.


Maybe you’d put it into something more tangible, like say yesterday’s 1977 MGB with a Rover V8 under its bonnet. Might that investment pan out in the long term? Maybe, however according to 72-percent of you, it likely wouldn’t. That dropped the little Brit with the V8 and the ten grand price in a decisive Crack Pipe loss.

You know, I just realized that every candidate we’ve had thus far this week has been V8 powered. Interestingly however, none of them have been powered by the same model of V8. On Monday we had a Chevy-powered Mazda, Tuesday brought us a wonderful 302 HO under the hood of a Lincoln MK VII LSC, and yesterday’s MG sported a V8 that could trace its roots all the way back to Buick, by way of Rover.

I have to say, none of that was planned. Still, we’re going to keep that trend alive today, while at the same time mixing it up a bit. That’s via yet another Mazda but this time with Ford power under its hood. And oh what a hood it is.


This 1990 Mazda MX5 Miata has had things done to it—wonderful, magical things. However, those changes have taken much of what makes a Miata a Miata, and have thrown them right out the window, right along with the clock, the baby and the bathwater and the butter.

Now, the exemplar Mazda used for the initial development of the Miata was the ’62 through ’73 Lotus Elan—light weight, twee styling, excellent control and handling—and they pretty much stuck the landing with their very first try. In fact, the Miata has gone on to carve out its own niche in automotive love and lore, eclipsing that of the Elan in the minds of a few.


The Miata proved so popular in fact that lots of people decided that they could make it even better, and they did so by totally changing it up. That brings us to this ’90 edition that even from 100 feet in the dead of night lets on that it’s not your auntie Ethel’s MX5.


According to the ad, the bodywork here is by Simpson Design and replaces both front and rear clips with sexy curves that are supposed to evoke visions of the 1967 Ferrari 275 NART Spyder. The proportions are way off in the mid section, but then again so are mine these days.

It still looks pretty sweet and if you wish it real hard you can pretend that it’s one of the 10 NART cars Luigi Chinetti, Ferrari’s U.S. distributor at the time, had commissioned to be built. Today those cars go for multiple millions of dollars. This Miata, as we shall shortly see, goes for lots less.


A big question before we get to that however, is: does it “go” at all? Well very likely it does. That’s the other part of this Miata’s equation that adds up to a different kind of car from its factory roots. Under the hood is not the expected 1.6-litre four but a Ford 302, late of a Mustang Cobra. The seller claims that the engine has been dyno’d at 238 brake horsepower and the installation looks as tidy as your grandma’s visiting parlor.


That’s a big deal since you can’t just drop a 302 in a Miata and call it a day. There’s some little adjustments that need to be made in the engine bay to make it all fit, and this one seems to have had them professionally done. There’s a lot of polished alloy and billet in here too, so it looks as good as it gives.

Wrapped around that is the aforementioned fiberglass body kit in burnt orange with black stripes and complimenting cove in the Kamm. The paint and body both look flawless, as does the stock top. Down low the car rocks a set of XXR alloys—which are a brand that honestly doesn’t have the best rep in the business.


The interior seems like a totally sweet place to get business done, with mostly Miata bits accented by things like a nice Nardi wheel—no airbag for you!—and a Shelby branded shifter. Out back the already tiny trunk is further intruded upon by a custom cover for the battery.


So, this car has it going on. Not only is it a badass custom that will gather a crowd at every gas pump and car meet, but it also comes with just a little over 100K on the clock and a clean bill of health from AutoCheck.


The price? Well, that’s $26,995, apparently down from an arbitrary $32,995. Seeing as the car has been advertised on the Car Gurus site for over 96 days perhaps it need to come down a few Benjamins more before a deal can be struck.

What do you think, does this custom V8 Miata seem worth that $26,996 asking? Or, is that a price that has you saying nuts to this NART?


You decide!


Car Gurus out of Phoenix, AZ, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to The slammed, cambered, 2000 fart can Civic Type R-icer for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.