Doc Brown may have made a time machine out of a DeLorean, but the seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Miata has taken on an even greater challenge, turning a roadster into an off-roader. Let’s decide if that was a good idea, and what the result might be worth.
Once you get something down pat, you tend to stick to the plan. I mean, I have worked up a pretty solid lasagna game and so I just keep making the same tasty dish over and over again. The Morgan Motor Company seemed to get its cars down pat sometime right before WWII and stuck with that general plan all the way to 2018 with the discontinuation of the 4/4 model.
We looked at a 1958 Morgan 4/4 Series II yesterday, and it wasn’t all that much different in form from its 21st Century descendants. Our candidate was a bit less shiny and did have a flat battery and other issues endemic of five years of sitting. Being so simple a car, though, those issues could easily be overcome. A $19,900 asking price, however, couldn’t. When the car’s condition and kit were weighed, that earned the Morgan a hefty 68 percent No Dice loss.
One thing you would probably never do with yesterday’s Morgan (maybe) is to take it far off the macadam. The forte of most small two-seat roadsters is on-road fun, not backroad bushwhacking. However…
This 1993 Mazda Miata is set up for, if not tackling the Rubicon Trail, at least kicking up some rocks and getting things dusty. Enabling both the prowess and the unique look is a three-inch lift and some big-ass fender flares. Those wrap around a set of way bigger than stock knobby tires mounted on aftermarket alloy wheels.
In addition to those updates, there is what appears to be a six-point roll bar, trunk-popping spare tire, and lots of lights. The cage seemingly serves as both a safety measure and a place to store bags and the traction boards when out on jaunts. More stuff can be jammed behind the seats since it looks like the original top has gone bye-bye. This is a car that will require copious amounts of sunscreen and an up-to-date weather report.
Power for this wild beast comes from the expected 1.6 DOHC four, but for added oomph, that has been given a 12 psi turbo and an ECU tune. The stock Mazda five-speed backs that up.
According to the ad, this Miata went through its off-roader transformation about 5,000 miles ago and the seller claims that all the work that went into the car used “quality parts.” Since then, it’s said to have completed a number of on- and off-road adventures and now sits at 150,000 miles. It still carries a clean title after all the years, the work, and those miles.
Despite the wacky appearance, the seller claims the car to have “thoughtful upgrades,” and says it will “turn heads everywhere.” Maybe it’s the stance or perhaps it’s the fact that it’s intended to hit the rough stuff with just four lugs per wheel that garners that attention.
Regardless, it’s getting our attention and it’s now time for that attention to turn to the car’s $8,500 asking price. That’s pretty good for a pretty good Miata, but this is obviously a special case. What do you say, is this unique MX-5 worth that $8,500 asking as it sits on its three-inch lift? Or, is that price just too jacked up?
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