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  1. #1
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    Sharka

    In April of 2000, I had no interest in Miatas. Or getting a new car at all. I was happy with what I was driving. I was about to get married. A new car was far from my mind.


    And then I drove a Miata for the first time.


    One test drive was all it took. I was hooked. I was impressed. I was moved. It was so simple. So small. So light. It fit me perfectly. It was not the fastest thing I’d ever driven by a long shot, but it was FUN. One test drive.


    On July 14th, 2000, I bought Sharka. A 97 popular equipment package with 51,000 miles on the clock. He was the first Miata I test drove while looking for one to buy (though not the car in the story above.) I drove Sharka, then went to Maui and got married in May. A month passed with a few other test drives. The salesman at the first dealership called me in July saying they still had the car. I went in, made an offer, and drove out with my beloved roadster.


    I had no clue what the next 10 years would bring.




    Sharka in 2000, months after I bought him.



    The interior. I bought the Voodoo shift knob BEFORE buying Sharka. I bought the rollbar a few weeks after.



    Miatas were once in B-Stock.



    I put the stripes on in 2002. This was the first stripe photo.



    My first set of gauges.



    I got the hardtop in 2004. It was emerald green. I had it painted when I got an autocross-related dent fixed that winter.



    The ill-fated coldside supercharger. The thing was horrible. I nearly sold Sharka that year. (2005)



    2006 - back killing cones with a 99 engine and Link ECU.







    2007-8 - I started taking time off cars and Miatas to learn how to take a photo. It was my all-consuming hobby for a good 2 years. Sharka was often my subject.



    $1.94. I could not believe the price, so I stopped for a snap. Not the best picture. And it's only significant because of what happened the very next morning.



    This was the next morning.
    Last edited by revlimiter; 12-24-2011 at 11:58 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Sponsor revlimiter's Avatar
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    I always wondered what I'd do if I lost Sharka in a wreck. My plan was actually to build a Miata-based Lotus 7 or something similar. Take the drivetrain and make it into a tiny race car.

    So there I was in the hospital with a concussion. The rollbar smacked my head pretty hard in that rear ender. If not for the padding, I would be dead or a vegetable. I had a minor concussion and couldn't think straight. But the only thought in my head was of rebuilding Sharka. It was my all consuming thought. My wife was sitting next to me and I drove her insane talking about it. Getting a new Sharka body. Rebuilding. Doing everything again, but correctly.

    I apparently spent 2 hours saying the same 5 or 6 sentences to her. My wife is a saint. All I remember her saying is "yes, of course you can get a new Sharka."

    So...


    Sharka the 95



    The first night in Ohio.

    I scoured the internet for a month and found this 31,000 mile 95 in Ohio. I bought a one-way plane ticket and drove an unknown car back to New Mexico. 1800 miles. No failures. No problems. Well, other than being stranded in Chicago for 3 days while waiting out a blizzard.


    Stuck. With horrible tires.


    About 200 miles from home.


    A new HDHCDDM2 waiting for me. I told Hard Dog my crash story and they sent me a new rollbar for CHEAP cheap.



    The first thing I installed - my Moss headlights. Those stock sealed beam things are the devil. And yeah, these are the same lights from the first car. They lived through the wreck just fine.



    Wax. I spent a day cleaning off the Ohio-to-NM road salt.


    I saved the MX-5 badge from the first car and added this vintage M to the rear finish panel.



    This took me like 3 hours.

    I had a 97 for 8 years. 97s have a double-DIN center console. 90-96.5s do not. I didn't realize this. So I spent hours trying to fit my radio and DIN gauge panel into my 95. Then I figured out the problem. I harvested the tombstone from my 97 and turned the radio install into a 10 minute affair.


    The Office.

  3. #3
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    The teardown continues.

    Sharka had to park outside the whole time while I picked bones off the dead car. This was the middle of winter. I worked every spare minute saving every piece of value from that 97. I have a good 90% of it in my parts shed in the back.


    Starting on the interior.


    On the flatbed.

    The only things I didn't save: The windshield, the front subframe, the wiring harness, the horrible 97 carpet, the fuel pump. That was about it.


    The last ride of the 97


    In the garage at last!



    Rollbar installed!



    FM Frame Rails installed. Notice the fuel/brake line clip. I modified it to hang as close to the body as possible.



    Bolts in the virgin floorpan.


    Padded rollbar.


    My 95's carpet is BEAUTIFUL. So perfect.

  4. #4
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    I sent my TEIN HA suspension back to the mothership for a rebuild. It's the HA meant for NBs. Works awesome on NAs.








    Only bolt you can't use air tools on...



    Long bolt!



    Long bolt method FTW!





    Stripe #1!


    The hardest stripe to get perfect.


    Laying stripe. Notice the lack of contact paper? I do it free hand.


    The easiest panel to stripe


    Done!


    (yes, it's a real polaroid, not a hipstamatic abortion)

    Here’s my top 5 stripe tips.

    • It’s WAY easier to lay out stripes individually rather than all together with a backing.
    • There’s no need to mark the center line for the entire car. Just measure at both ends of each panel. I like to use post-its to mark those places.
    • A big spray bottle with 2 drops of Dawn is just the thing for keeping vinyl from sticking right away.
    • Don’t set your heat gun too close to your spray bottle and accidentally melt it.
    • Measure. Often. Many times.

  5. #5
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    Boomslang made me a custom harness to put a 97 ECU into my 95.


    It may be old and yesterday's news, but I like my Link. I'm very good at tuning it.


    This abandoned gas station burned down a month later. I really wanted to go back for a huge photoshoot.




    Tein gold tophat vs dp6061 AWESOME tophat.


    Contact with the frame...


    Stock NB bump rubber to replace the Tein bumpstops. This did the trick. No more frame hits.




    The gold tophats went up to the front a few weeks later.


    BIG thick washer required.


    Never forget the little teflon squeak stopper!


    Low


    Well, low for me.


    This used to qualify as moderately slammed.

  6. #6
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    Then I got these...


    Probax!


    My living room is left hand drive.


    And I had these made up to fit.


    The seat gets all its strength from the rear mount. I used 1/8" steel back there. The front bolts are really just for locating the seat.








    (ignore the door panels! I'm posting out of the timeline)


  7. #7
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    I always love alignment pix.


    "Greased Lightning" - the first shot of my "fully rebuilt" Sharka. In other words, Sharka was pretty much back to where he was before the big wreck.

    Yes. The rebuild was "done" at this point.

    hahaha! *snort*




    Boring.


    juuuuuuuuuuust enough material...




    Meta Sharka working on Sharka shot.




    KG Works and Aerodramatic door handles next to each other.







    I used my 97 door tops. I love the little bolster at the back. I think I'm the only person in the world that does.





  8. #8
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    Then I got THIS!!! The KG Works Vintage Gift Set. I've lusted after it all my roadstering life.



    Unopened. Each item was sealed.























    (this 15 photo per post limit is bumming me out)

  9. #9
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    Zoom vintage side winkers!
















  10. #10
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    What are these ghetto rattle cans doing here?


    Sharka had some bad paint on the driver's side rockguard section. It was bubbling up like mad.


    The texture stuff was still gummy under the glue. It never cured. The previous owner had this section repainted for some reason.


    Under the gummy rock guard was shiny montego blue paint!!!! ARGH!!!!



    The front had problems too. Only the door bottom seemed unbubbled.



    It's a tarp.


    I painted the black bottom on the passenger side as well.






    DONE! A good paint match.

  11. #11
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    This is Danbo + Joyfast =



    Standard Voodoo vs short Joyfast vs OEM Mazda NA.



    And here's the Voodoo with the optional collar. It sits a bit taller with it.



    The Joyfast in Sharka's interior with my Cobra replica shift ring. Looks right at home.



    Danbo loves the Joyfast.
    Last edited by revlimiter; 12-24-2011 at 02:17 PM.

  12. #12
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    The steering wheel uberpost -



    My wife got me a new steering wheel for my birthday (the Prototipo), so I took the opportunity to put them all in my lightbox for some decent photos.

    And play with my toys.




    Starscream makes faces in my Nardi.



    Megatron seems to like my F1.



    Ravage: Eject! Operation: turn signal.



    Megs and Soundwave optimize my horn button choice for me.



    I think Starscream is planning to keep it for himself.



    The Prototipo installed.

    I've only been lusting after a Prototipo for like three years. Finally having one is great. The rim could be a little thicker, but I'm happy with it. I am considering polishing the spokes though...

    .
    .
    .
    .

    I couldn't leave well enough alone. I polished that dull silver paint right off my Prototipo. Five hours of polishing joy. The only casualty was the [PROTOTIPO] stamp. It was apparently a tampo label and not an actual stamp in the metal. Oh well. Looks more vintage without that label anyway.






  13. #13
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    My TSI project - part 1.


    I got these crappy, burned out TSIs on ebay. $55 shipped from Puerto Rico. They never knew what was coming...



    This is not my shot. These are the Zest TSIs. I bet you can see where this is going...



    It's amazing the things you can use allergy pills for...



    A little work with my dremel turned that sad little half moon hole into a nice, sorta sad roundish one.



    I tipped my hand too early here, I think. But yeah, this is where I'm going. I got these little indicators from a Google shopping search. $9 and shipping from China.



    My pill bottle got hacked.



    All filled up with bondo. It was fun doing this and trying to keep the camera clean.



    Bondo smoothed down with my fancy smoothing tool.



    Sanding! I had to build the bondo back up two more times and then re-sand. But it got pretty smooth and flat.



    Here are three of my four blinkers. The bottom is unmodified and just for reference. I wanted something with a dual filament bulb, so I sourced some bulbs and sockets that would fit. The middle one is drilled for the new socket. The top one is drilled and has a spiffy bracket on top to mount the indicator on the TSI. The top two got some clear silicon to seal up the holes after I shot this.



    The nifty brackets allow the little screw holes to be side-side rather than up-down. It's picky but it was important to me.






    The one thing I don't like about the Zest is how far back they recess the blinkers. I made mine stick out nice and far on mine. They match my retro Zoom side markers a little nicer this way.



    The test fitting.

  14. #14
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    TSI project part 2.


    Primered...



    and painted! Er, in the middle of painting.



    How could I not throw them in the lightbox?



    The secret of my shiny paint - MO.

    And finally...
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .


    Done!!!!!!







    I'm very happy with how these turned out. They look just how I wanted, gave me a couple weekends of garage work, and didn't break the bank. I just hope those pill bottles hold up...




    Outtakes-


    The Uglydolls got their hands on them too.




    Gurren and Lagann say HELL YEAH!!!

  15. #15
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    I waited nearly 9 months for these wheels.

    If you wanna see the unboxing, hit my blog. Otherwise, I'll just put the good shots here.



    Last I'll see of those Rotas for a good while. Maybe forever.



    The wheel just barely fit in my lightbox.




    It's not an iphone or a benjamin worth of lip, but it IS a G1 Bumblebee worth.



    Masterpiece Megatron claimed this photoshoot for his own.



    I somehow missed the memo that Enkei was including spiffy blue valve stems.



    1 happy shark.










    offset comparison.






    The widescreen version of a shot above.

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