You Can Turn A Mazda MX-5 Into A Classic Alfa Romeo 158 For Less Than $11,000

Illustration for article titled You Can Turn A Mazda MX-5 Into A Classic Alfa Romeo 158 For Less Than $11,000
Photo: Tipo 184 (Getty Images)

If you, like me, have ever wanted an old Grand Prix machine but do not have the money or the motivation required to maintain a classic car, then I’ve got some good news for you. A new Tipo 184 kit can turn an old Mazda MX-5 Miata into an Alfa Romeo 158, a late-1930s vehicle that won the first official Formula One race at Silverstone in 1950.


If you’ve watched Ant Anstead’s MotorTrend show Wheeler Dealers, then you might know what’s up. This is Anstead’s latest project, and I have to admit: I’m a fan.

Anstead’s site lists very few details about this kit (you have to send in a deposit to learn more), but in an interview with F1 Geeks, Anstead revealed that Tipo 184 will be offering both a kit and a fully assembled car. That way, you can decide if you want to get down and dirty to craft your own Alfa—or if you just want the experience of driving one.

And... there is a caveat. The kit includes everything you need to make the Alfa, minus the Miata. You have to bring that along to do it yourself—but that’s still going to be a hell of a lot cheaper than buying an old Alfa outright. And, considering it’s a kit car, it’s not a perfect replica.

The kit in all its glory.
The kit in all its glory.
Photo: Tipo 184

The kit is advertised as £7,499, which is $10,192 over here in the United States. There’s a 10-kit limited run of these starter packs, so if you want one, you’re going to want to chuck your name into the running with either a 75 or 50 percent down payment. If you’re one of the first to purchase, you’ll also have the chance to build the car in Tipo 184's workshop—with Anstead’s helping hand.

If that doesn’t happen for you, then no worries: the instructions are well-organized into several distinct “chapters” that will guide you through one element of the car at a time. You’ll also be able to purchase those kits separately in 2021, so you can build and budget at your own pace.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.


Half-track El Camino

So, the thing I never really understand about these body-swap kits (of which there are several different ones for the NA) is why? Why would you spend several thousand dollars to make your NA look like something it isn’t? Non-car-people won’t care, and car-people will see right through the disguise. So if you buy one of these you’re doing it for yourself, right?

What does the owner get out of it? I can understand something like the Exocet—that has a purpose, it turns a Miata into a track toy and sheds a ton of weight in the process. But this 184 kit, or that Italia one… what does the owner get out of it that’s worth all that money? Why not just buy a different car, if that’s what you want? They look kinda cool in a novelty sort of way, but just a little bit “off” because they have to be built around the constraints of the original car. And, you know, a Miata is not a bad-looking car! It’s very ‘90s Japan to be sure, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

I dunno, I just don’t understand. Maybe if you’re on your fifth Miata and want to try something a bit different?