Targa Miata

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Just finished reading, and thirsty for more!

I just finished reading through the build diary from start to current, and It's already had an effect on my appreciation for my own Miata -and it's potential!

I don't plan to build my own Targa Miata or anything, but it's good to see that some research, DIY, community effort, and general tinkering do so well to make a little roadster into a world class beast. I'm aiming for more "state class", but I'll check back here often for inspiration and motivation as the Targa Miata continues to evolve into the champ it's sure to remain.

Thanks for the effort you put into the Diary, and your contribution to the community as a whole. Happy Racing!
David, October 6, 2012
Reply: Glad you enjoyed it, David, and good luck with your own car!

running with the targa miata

I must say It's quite humbling to race in the same run group as this car. One lap your a full straight behind me and the next I cant even see the front spoiler in the rear view mirror! lol Hope to see you break that minute mark this october.
Also, watching racing the rock this morning I was thinking, what a great recipe for the Ultimate Track Car Challenge... just sayin.
Jay, September 28, 2012
Reply: The weak point for the UTCC is the driver! It would be interesting to see what the car could do - throw some Hoosiers on there and give it a run. Maybe someday...

Thanks for the Peltor wiring info


Just wanted to say a big thanks for publishing details of the Peltor pinout. I traced through the wires and came out with the same setup that you did, it's re-assuring to see that they're the same.

All the Best,

James Cohen, June 12, 2012
Reply: I'm glad that was useful!


Go Miata Go. Go Keith & Janel Go, Go Targa Go. Your blog entries are fabulous, it's like being there with you guys.
We look forward to your Sept. 23rd visit to our Ottawa Miata group. Bring a few more Targa T's if you can.
Rolly Beaulne, September 15, 2011

Targa Miata Livery on Forza 3

I just found the livery for the Targa Miata on Forza 3. Just thought you should know. You just have to search for Flyin' Miata.
Roy Hill, June 17, 2011
Reply: It's been done a couple of times, I think. It's a great compliment to have fan versions of the car out there!

Nicaraguan Miata

hi keith

loving the car and all the write ups i am trying to get the best out of my miata currently living in nicaragua and i am really intrested in your suspension tests etc. as there are no paved roads in the town where i am currently living but and info you could give me would be great. i am here as a volunteer so buying expensive system is out of the question but if you have any sugestion about what works best of modifications please let me know.

all the best for 2011 keep it up if you need to practice i can recomend nicaragua HA HA
john , May 29, 2011
Reply: If the roads are that bad and you have a small budget, I'd stick with a stock suspension in good shape. The stock shocks may need to be replaced, and you could go with a decent aftermarket option such as the KYB GR2.
For performance upgrades, put on a set of sway bars. They'll help make the car react faster but shouldn't cause too much of a problem on the rough roads. Thanks for the note!

Engine inlet location


Just wanted to let you know, I put my intake in roughly the same position as FM does in their LS3 installs. I know that y’all are seeing your best dyno runs there vs other locations, but my IATs are running very high; 120+ in normal cruise mode at 75 mph. I’d be really concerned about that location in a race car.

I’m going to relocate my intake forward right behind the headlight; we’ll see how that works out.

Have a good one,
Mike Bridges (Vettedrmr), March 5, 2011
Reply: Yes, I've seen your postings to that effect. I'm planning on looking around a bit to see what I can do. Since it is a racer, I can count on a lot more airflow on the front of the car than a dyno shop can so I might be able to do something with ducting.
First, get the car running...

Nice Blog


Thanks for the great blog. I'm converting my 91 to a V8 in the coming months and your write up has been a great inspiration. Thanks again, looking forward to updates.

Dylan, February 10, 2011
Reply: Thanks Dylan! Good luck with the project.

Miata MX-5

Hi Keith,
I'm a retired South African now living in Australia. My cars included modified Ford Anglia 105E and Alfa Guilia with 80mm pistons. Then a series of (serious) bikes including a Honda RC30 (VFR750) like Joey Dunlop's, ending with a 2002 Honda Fireblade 954 which I sold before moving to Australia.I am now 67 years old and have just bought a 93LE Miata with only a genuine 98000km on the clock.Before buying the car I bought your three excellent books and I am now ready to start work changing the cam belt.Thereafter many projects will follow! I suspect a turbo kit lies in the future
All your books are superb. Just the right mix of technical stuff and practical instruction. I will continue watching your career with interest.
PS:I am a retired BSc.Mechanical Engineer who remained a petrol head mechanic at heart, always working on and modifying engines.
Henk Delen, January 18, 2011
Reply: Thanks for the kind words, Henk! Enjoy that 93LE, they're a pretty car.

New Motor for the Seven

You can always put that motor in the seven. Can wait to read about the build up of the Targa Miata. Good luck with everything.
Roy, January 15, 2011
Reply: Oh trust me, that's crossed my mind! But the money raised from the sale of the motor will help us go to Newfoundland, so it has to go.

Great to hear your going back.

Its exciting to see your making the effort to return to competition! Best of luck both in fund raising and preparations. Ill be following along closely.
Mike Jenkins, January 12, 2011
Reply: Thank you Mike! The response has been very good so far. I'm getting obsessed with designing the car, as I want to have it up and running for testing all summer!

My favorite Miata project

While I haven't been following every detail of the project since the beginning, I do love it. I think it shows just how much hardcore potential the Miata has. I think I love it because it's like a Spec Miata meant for the road, but way more built up. The n/a stroker engine must be amazing to drive. The chassis is awesome, the handling from the AFCO's is how I want my car to handle on beat up California roads. Plus the car looks so damn cool! It seems totally tough and almost indestructible. Built to thrash. If I could have a project car I would do the same thing and do a road rally.

I'll be this car totally kicks ass at the next Targa.

What would be really interesting to see would be a similar build done so that it could be a road car, a daily driver.
Alex LaJeunesse, September 1, 2010
Reply: Well, this car can be a road car and a daily driver. You just have to be a bit hard core to do it, and not need a heater! Of course you could stuff some of the same components into a more luxurious shell, but you'd give up some of the weight loss - and more important to me, it wouldn't be legal to run in the Targa because of the likely lack of safety gear. If you want to do it, go for it!
A lot of people do think it's a Spec Miata. I think that's because it's a Miata built for the track, and so's a Spec. But there probably isn't a single part that's Spec legal on the car other than the wheels...

Targa RElived in GRM

Keith, the Martini stripes are instantly recognizable in the GRM article...I said out loud, "I know that car!" Great write-up. It was like I was following the Rally all over again. When is the next one?

Hope all is well.

Robin Danek, May 6, 2010
Reply: Thanks Robin! GRM was kind to us.
The next Targa Newfoundland is in September. Barring the discovery of a pirate chest full of gold coins in the back yard, it will run without us. I'm hoping we can put together a 2011 visit, though. Who knows?

Targa Newfoundland - Grassroots Motorsports

Just read the Targa Miata coverage in the latest issue of Grassroots Motorsports yesterday.

Sarah Young is the author, and her account of the Tanner's adventure was authentic and lively. However, in the summary paragraph, Sarah states that: "Keith and Janel finished 16th overall - not bad for first-time participants".

What an understatement! Finishing 16th overall was WAY BETTER than "not bad".

Again: congratulations Keith and Janel. It's good to learn that you're planning to return to Newfoundland and run the Targa again.
Mark Blusiewicz, April 29, 2010
Reply: Thanks for the kind words, Mark! We've been waiting for that article to appear for a while now. And yes, we were very happy with our finishing position. The goal was to stay out of the Atlantic and get our Targa plate - and we did just that.

Sweet builds

Read all of your builds ups. Love the mall now if i had a garage and a lot of money i"d be set. I can't get the Targa Miata RSS feed to load. Just noticed it a couple of days ago. Just wanted to let you know.
Roy, April 2, 2010
Reply: Thanks for letting me know, Roy. I'll look into it.

Thank you

I need to say thank you. I'm 24 years old and drove a Miata for the first time 3 years ago, fell in love, and bought one a month and a half later. From the day of that first drive, I started looking for all things Miata related online, and not surprisingly I found your name attached to a lot of the higher quality material out there. No one in my family ever worked on cars or even kept fun cars around, so when the bug bit me and I wanted to start tinkering/fixing/modifying, I had to start at square one. At least 3/4 of what I know about working on cars is directly attributable to your websites and presence in various forums. BTW, I'm calling FM tonight to order all your books (if you could sign one that'd be pretty cool : ) as I think I've taken quite enough "free" knowledge from you!

I've been following this build diary since the beginning and love that you still add to it currently. Targa has to be the best example of your online work, all of which I think is one of the best examples of quality online material in the first place. If you ever wonder whether all the time you put into taking pictures and posting and adding comments and updates is worthwhile, I have to tell you YES A THOUSAND TIMES and again, thank you.

Mark Stenner, March 29, 2010
Reply: Wow, Mark. I'm flattered. It's great to hear that you've found the various information useful.

Good luck with your car!

Keith Tanner alignment spec 2004 Miata

What is the correct street alignment for caster setting (2004 Miata)? Your 1st book (Performance Projects) stated caster as NEGATIVE 5.0 degrees. Your (Find it Fix it Trick it)book gave the caster setting as POSITIVE 5.0 degrees.
larry merrill, March 25, 2010
Reply: If you stop by the website for Performance Projects, you'll find the correction for that typo. The first printing of the book had the caster as a negative setting, which is very wrong. It was fixed in later printings. Find It Fix It Trick It did not have the typo.


Good to see that I'm not the only one making a PELTOR INTERCOM with military left-overs. I got the 2 headsets with shiping on E-bay for $128 Cnd and the TP-120 for $26. Total $154! All I needed to complete was the wires colour codes. Your todays' hero, VOILA. Thanks'
notaneon, January 28, 2010
Reply: Glad to hear that helped out!

4 hours later......

I've just lost 4 hours? I haven't a clue where they went?
I just started reading the build diary and looking at all the great pictures them "BAM"!!! 4 hours have disappeared !

Has this happened to anyone else?
Scotty dog, November 30, 2009
Reply: You think YOU lost a lot of time, I lost two years!

Next Race

I just want to say good luck on the next Targa and remember to have fun. I'm saving money to go see the Targa the next year personally. Hopefully the Miata will be there next year too. Also planning to buy a new digital camera just for the Targa.

Soros151 / Eddie, July 17, 2009
Reply: Having fun is not a problem! Getting to the Targa again, that's a bit more difficult...

Pure Entertainment

I would like to say "thank you" for bringing back a small dream of building my Miata. Like a lot of the other comments, I read the entire diary over the course of a few days. I would have read it faster, but our internet here in Afghanistan is not up to Targa speed. Pending a return to the states and a new duty station other than Alaska, I will be building my baby. Thank you for stoking up my motivation. You're videos brought ear-to-ear smiles (very hard to do out here). Best of luck. I didn't see you on the roster for this year's attendence, are you going to try again? Maybe with an Elvis impersonator?
Derek, July 6, 2009
Reply: Both Janel and I would love to go back, but we simply can't afford it. We always knew that it was probably a one-time-only deal so we approached it that way. With enough sponsorship, who knows. We might be able to do it again.
Get home safe, and good luck with your build.

Great Website

I have raced an MX5 (Miata) in the UK for the last few years and am looking to build a new car for next season. Your website has been very helpful and has given me the motivation I needed. Thanks.
, May 19, 2009
Reply: I'm glad to hear it was useful! Good luck with the racing next year.

OK, how fast?

How fast *did* you get Elvis around the kart track?
Zandr, May 10, 2009
Reply: 1:02.889. The previous record for a Miata in that track configuration was 1:03.713, and my fastest time in the Targa car was 1:04.747.

Yet another great read!


I read the site over the last 2-3 days, and it was very entertaining. I have previously read the build site and own your book on the Seven build. You are a great inspiration to the car community!
Rich, April 15, 2009
Reply: Glad you enjoyed it, Rich! I have to admit my motivations are selfish - I like to go back and relive the experience myself by reading the buildup and race. This site is my souvenir.

fellow Miata.net user - saw you on TV.


Saw you guys on SPEED's coverage. Great to see a Miata out there.

Robert Ulery, March 30, 2009
Reply: Thanks Robert!

Hi from Ottawa

I'm new at your dad's church and he told me all about your racing adventures, pointing me to this website. Your video clips are fantastic, especially speeding along one-lane roads in Nfld and hitting bumps etc!
Dan Trumpler, March 28, 2009
Reply: Thanks for the note, Dan. I'm glad you enjoyed it!


Love your car... really a modern classic with a great attention too all details! this sar is really the ultimate street all round perfomer! Greatings form Portugal!
Joel Almeida, January 26, 2009
Reply: Thanks Joel! All that work resulted in a very fun car, there's no doubt about that.


Any chance of you bringing the Targa Miata to the Mitty this year? Maybe on the track??? Would love to see this in person.
Andrew, January 18, 2009
Reply: I'd love to. It's a long way from here (1600 miles each way), so I'm not sure it's going to happen. I'd probably need some sort of sponsor to help cover the costs.

Found your new tow car

Topgear.com has a story of a Martini-ish Geiger tuned Hummer H3.
Michael Neisius, January 8, 2009
Reply: Eek!

Janel and Keith,
I wish you a merry Christmas and all the best for 2009. Hope that will be a great year for all of us.

Andre, December 24, 2008
Reply: Thanks Andre! The same to you.


Hi Janel and Keith,

after spending hours of reading + watching the story of you, the Targa-Miata + the race here, I have to say: GREAT JOB + I'm proud to have "your" banner on my windshield!! :-)
Hope, I'll see the Targa Newfoundland (and you of course)as a spectator next year!
Greetings + Merry Xmas from Seattle

Gerhard, WA; USA + Rheinland/Pfalz; Germany
White NA 1993
Gerhard.SR, December 11, 2008
Reply: Thanks Gerhard!

Hi Keith,

why did you give away the SSR wheels? If you ask me, the SSR looking better than the Team Dynamic. But you're rigth, they've got to be white.
How are you? Best regards to Janel.

Andre, December 1, 2008
Reply: The SSRs were on loan to me, so I'm simply returning them to the original owner.
We're doing well, and I'm making good progress on Janel's V8 powered MGB. Which would make a pretty fun Targa car when it's done, actually...


I assume you can't do that with a stock ECU.
Derek, November 21, 2008
Reply: Correct. Well, not without some hassle, anyhow. By the time you got it up and running, you might be just as far ahead to get an aftermarket ECU.

Air Flow Meter

Did you run a stock AFM? I can't see one in any of the pics.How would that work if you didn't?
Derek, November 19, 2008
Reply: The Hydra ECU I was running uses a manifold pressure (MAP) sensor instead of an AFM. All I had to do was run a vacuum line through the firewall to the ECU.

Thanks for the video

Just finished re-living the Targa through your video...thanks for posting it.Hope you enjoyed your stay on our Rock and can make it back some time.
Paul,car 1030.
Paul Abbott, November 5, 2008
Reply: We loved it Paul, thanks. We'll be back at some point, with or without a race car.

Congratulations ;)

A dream in white.
Respect and all the best!!!!
Olli, October 24, 2008
Reply: Thanks Olli!

Wonderful Job!

I had a great time following the race through this and other blogs and I have to say I am very jealous. I have a 20x30 poster on order of the picture linked to below from Gordon Sleigh and can't wait to get it hung on my office wall.

Todd, October 9, 2008
Reply: That is a gorgeous picture. He has a few others that are worth checking out as well that didn't make it up on his webste - I'll be printing out a poster of this one.
A dirty secret about that shot on the bridge. We're probably only doing about 30 mph. It was right after the Nissan/Porsche crash on the last day and we're just pulling out to drive home!

Well Done

Thanks for sharing the adventure with us . It's been a most entertaining read , but I have a horrible feeling the vicarious thrills I've been enjoying are not enough and I may have to now go through with a notion I've had for some time ie; entering in our ( next year ) Targa with our 89 NA . So a lazy weekend cruising the interweb looks like costing me a heap of dough , thanks a lot !! ( Just gotta persuede the money monster now ! ) Only problem is every time I have taken out the trouble and strife in the race car she's lost her lunch , ( actually I can induce that with normal zoom zoom driving anyway ) so shes no good for ballast , any chance I could borrow Janel ?
Chris ( Griz ) Mclean Auckland NZ, October 4, 2008
Reply: You know, I'm pretty sure Janel wouldn't complain too much about being shipped off to New Zealand. I think the problem would be getting her to leave.

Flyin' Miata & Targa Miata

Janel and Keith: Congratulations!! Just finished reading your whole web page info... took a looooonnnngggg time to read -- don't know how you managed to do it all.... what an exciting event and what a great job you two did!! Wow. You know you ruined me forever. I never knew I was a closet-cat-nut before reading about what you've done -- starting with the 7 and on to ALL your other projects... all I can say is my wife now thinks I've really lost it in my old age. Being a senior citizen allows one some lattitude to try new things don't you think? She says if I spend any more time looking at your web pages she's going to tell the whole world I've gone senile... well, I always wondered what that was like. Guess I'll find out. I think the crew at Flyin' Miata is lucky to have you around, and you are lucky to find a company that is first class with extraordinary people to work with. And you both are lucky to have found each other. If you can survive the Newfie Targa (I'm a Canadian, so I can say that!) together and finish in as great shape as you did, and you didn't end up killing each other in the process, then it looks like you have both made excellent choices in each other. One suggestion is to personalize your posts more since there are non-gear heads out here that enjoy the story of the people behind all that machinery too. And you guys are exceptional. Hope you make another book out of all that Targa material/photos. Include more about both of you, as well as costs and estimated time involved. Best wishes to you both.
Jonathan Jenkins, October 3, 2008
Reply: Thanks for the support, Jonathan.

I don't know if there will be a book about the Targa effort, or if it will simply get rolled into the next Miata book. We'll see what the publisher says!

Targa video online

Janel and Keith.

Your customers and acquaintances might like to check out the Targa video posted on flatovercrest.com. It gives a real sense of the event and you guys are in it.

Mark Ockwell, September 30, 2008
Reply: Actually, I posted it a couple of days ago. I've been putting new posts back in the build diary for a lack of better places to put them. Unless there's another Flatovercrest.com video that I don't know about...

Congratulations! and Thank You!

Keith and Janel,

Congratulations on your fantastic work preparing for and running the Targa. And thanks for taking the time during such a grueling event to post the vivid accounts of your experience. I really enjoyed "driving vicariously" through your race updates. Congratulations again on your great week!

Jim Daniels (not the Miata racing legend Jim Daniels, just regular old Miata-driving Jim from NJ.)
Jim Daniels (no, not THAT Jim Daniels), September 27, 2008
Reply: Thanks Jim! I'm glad you appreciated it.



Congratulations to you and Janel on the Targa win. Any finish there should be looked as a win, and the Targa plate / class win are mere icing on the cake.

I kept up with progress as best as I could while on vacation on Vancouver Island and your progress didn't surprise me one bit, quite frankly! I knew so long as you kept it on the road, you'd do fine.

Of course, as the two rules of rallying go (1: Always lead with the co-driver's door; and 2: If you win, it's the Driver's doing, if you loose, it's the Co-Driver's fault), do keep crediting Janel (like a good husband wouldn't anyway!) with her efforts... :-)

Talk to you more when you're back at FM.
Richard Dekker, September 24, 2008
Reply: Thanks Richard!


Keith and Janel

My son was co-driving in the Lexus hybrid. He has commented to me how great you folks were and we would like to extend to you our congratulation on a terrific finish.

We sincerely hope that you find that the long tow to Newfoundland was worthwhile. It is a magical part of Canada.

Mark Ockwell
Mark, September 23, 2008
Reply: Thanks for the kind words, Mark.
That Lexus was fast! Your son's obviously very good.


Hi guys I hope all is well and the trip home is going OK. I just got back in my office and wanted to drop a quick note to say congrats on a job well done!!! It was very nice to meet you both and I hope you will come back next year...

Steve Q
Steve Quigley #807 Subaru STI, September 23, 2008
Reply: Sorry I didn't get to see you before we left, Steve. It was great to meet you. Good luck with the Subaru!


Hey awesome, you guys did something I have always dreamed of doing. Thank you for the photos and updates. Can't wait until next year, maybe i will join you...........
Nathan, September 22, 2008

Congratulations guys!

After keeping up with your build diary for this for so long, I kind of can't believe the race is over! It was great to hear about you both working so well together throughout. Congrats again on doing so well!
Josh (bluej), September 22, 2008


Janel, Keith, congratulations, that was an awesome rally, even more for a novice team.
For me it was a real pleasure to read your race blog. Every morning in the office, the first activity was to open your website and see what happened. A lot of things you wrote remind me of our trip to the Mille Miglia last year. It must have been a really exciting experience.

If I have a look at your guestbook, you found a lot of fans all over the world and everyone is happy for you. Great! In our German mx-5 forum we launched the "Targa Miata Fan Club Germany West" ;-)

So, I wish you a relaxing time at St John's and have a save journey home.


Andre, September 22, 2008
Reply: Thanks Andre! It was definitely exciting, and the race is still pretty much all Janel and I can talk about.


Janel! Keith! You did a tremendous job. First time participants on 16th overall! Wow!
It felt special reading your daily notes, knowing you for over 10 years now and having driven the TargaMiata just 3 months ago. I cheered for you sitting in front of the Computer and reading. Looking for youtube videos with you. Watching the pictures on the web.
It was a great experience, even beeing some thousand kilometers away. It must have been an unbelievable special experience for both of you.
I feel great saying: "If you're from Canada, you must be Keith Tanner!" :)
Axel, September 20, 2008
Reply: For those who don't know, that's how Axel greeted me the first time we met.
Thanks for the support, Axel! It was a great experience.


So you also got your Targa plate, congratulations!
Lying ill in bed for the last days, I really enjoyed following your blog ... Regards from Germany,
Pip, September 20, 2008
Reply: Thanks Pip! Get well soon.


Keith and Janel,
Thank you for taking me along for the ride. Keith, did you use the Red Guarded switch on the dash? :)
Mark Henley, September 20, 2008
Reply: That was there for Janel. She never felt it necessary, thank goodness!


Awesome guys. You deserve R&R now. I won't lie. I still wish I could have been the official photographer, or waterboy or whatever, but I am thrilled and awed by you guys. I knew you both had the ability and the teamwork and the desire. What I wasn't sure about was how The Rock would fight back. You met the challenge. Now chill, and hopefully I will see 1 or both of you soon (I forget if Janel will get to hit Ottawa, but I think no. BOOOOO!). Travel safe. We're really REALLY proud of you both.
Doccomoli et al, September 19, 2008
Reply: Thanks Doc!

In my mind I'm rocking & rolling with you guys all the way. I am absolutely fascinated reading your daily blogs.What a thrill.
You get there safely.
See you in Ottawa.
Rolly Beaulne
Rolly Beaulne, September 19, 2008

You guys rock!

Don't know if you remember me but I helped you get the intercooler lined up straight at road Atlanta, you trusted my eyes you must be crazy.
Anyway it sounds like you guys are having a blast so far. Good luck and rock on!!
Andrew Jacobson, September 18, 2008
Reply: Thanks Andrew!

Good Luck

I'm a flagger / marshal in eastern Canada. Someone posted your link on the Atlantic Region Motorspots Discussion board in the Rallysport section. Gotta tell ya, it's one compelling read. Hope the " rock " doesn't break you or Janel or the car. Have fun, play safe and if you got screeched in already, my sympathies:)
Kevin N, September 18, 2008
Reply: So far so good Kevin. Thanks for the note!

May the force be withyou

Hi Janel and Keith.
I am sure that this is a great experience for you guys. I hope you are enjoying it.
As a former racer, I envy you Keith. What a great event.
After I quit racing, my wife and I used to rally together and started winning once I figured out that we were not competing in speed events and let her do the driving.
In any case, I will pass on some advice we got from experts at the time:
First; Stay on the road.
Second; Stay on route.
Third; Be on time.
and I should add; have fun!

Good luck!
Claude Gelinas
Claude Gelinas, September 17, 2008

Wow - I just spent about 10 hours reading about your build and how the race has gone so far... Sounds like fun!
Good luck on the remaining segments and hopefully I will get to see you in Ottawa someday soon.

Jon Sword, September 17, 2008

Best of luck

Keith and Janel,
All the best with the race. I'm sure you'll do really well and I'll be checking every day for your updates.
Kev Hamilton, September 12, 2008
Reply: Thanks!

Remember "Toronto Trillium Miata Club"

Hi Kieth
This is George from both the Toronto Trillium and Ottawa Miata Clubs , remember you from many of the Miata International meets -- I too am in Newfoundand for the Targa but am on the other side on the fence -- this is my 5th year volunteering as a timing marshell --- so I will see you on the stages.
Great is see the Miata back in the race -- his is a great place for this little car -- drove the BRG here last year and was able to drive several of the stage at a bit higher that posted speeds -- I believe the last time a Miata as in the Targa was in 2003 with a crew from the Quebec club.
See you on the Stages
P.S. I still have both of my Miata's --1990 white all tricked out and a 91 BRG
George Freeman, September 9, 2008
Reply: That's the only other Miata to ever compete in the event as far as I know. Eric and I actually ended up using their helmets!
We'll see you there, make sure you say hi.

Welcome to Newfoundland and Labrador

I hope you have a safe trip and don't run into any issues with the ferry schedule. Look forward to seeing you and the Miata in the race. Best of Luck!

Jeff "Bayman" Chipman, September 9, 2008
Reply: Thanks!

Have a great race!

Keith & Janel,
We're pulling for you guys, have a good race and above all have fun.
Rob Nash, September 8, 2008
Reply: Thank you!

Good Luck

Janel, Keith!
I wishing you all the best and crossing my fingers for you. You could blame it on Axel when you are slow, but I say: Keep pushing hard, but stay save!
You did so much work over the last years and now its time to harvest the fruits of your labor. Everthing will be fine and last thing to say is: HAVE FUN!
Best regards from Germany,
Andre, September 8, 2008
Reply: The first day of the event is a prologue, three stages to let us get used to everything. I'll have a much better idea of what to expect then!

Congrats, and Good Luck!!

I've checked in now and then ever since I heard of the project. Saw you made Miata if the Month on Miatalinks.net; do us proud, and have a blast!
Screaming J Hyde, September 7, 2008
Reply: Thanks!

Race Time

Hey man, I've been tracking the progress of the car and I can't wait to see how you guys perform over there! GOOD LUCK!
Wesley Knight, September 6, 2008
Reply: Thanks Wesley. It's time to find out how all this prep worked out...

And your off...

I spent the last 2 1/2 hrs re-reading all 530 entries. I commend you both for what you are about to do after sooo much prep. "keep the shiny side up", "pedal to the metal", "drive it like you stole it"...etc tec. God speed to you.. Miata.net guys wishing you the best. DriveHard!!!!!!!!
Alejandro, September 6, 2008
Reply: Thank you!

Have FUN - Great MX5 - Be SAFE

Just read every slide in the build-530 some- (3-1/4 hours of enjoyment). You both deserve an enjoyable trip, a safe return, and a lifetime of good memories. Make the most out of this adventure. TM may be the best NA of all-time!
Callaway, September 6, 2008
Reply: We'll just settle for an NA that doesn't have salt water damage at the end of the race.

Hals- und Beinbruch!

...which means: Keep the right side up!

(And if Janel and you not finish amoung the 10 fastest
teams, I will use the targashirt for the next oil filter
change... ,-) )

Good luck, Michael
Michael, September 5, 2008
Reply: Thanks Michael!


We are soooo pumped for you guys. I love that this has become a family thing. Makes me wish that we (your extended family...meaning that we have no direct relation to you both except that we know and love you) could be there to assist even more than before. For cryin' out loud get home safe, you both first, car second. And Janel, do NOT get Screeched in. Run, don't walk from the Screech (Keith will explain).
doccomoli, September 4, 2008
Reply: I think Janel will avoid the Screeching as soon as she sees the cod. But nobody tell her!

Good luck from Germany

Janel! Keith!
Have fun and stay safe. We'll be thinking of you guys while you're out there battling for the fame of all Miatae.
And don't forget the words of your Grandma. Lots of corners! Watchout for them and slow down! :)
Axel, September 4, 2008
Reply: Thanks Axel! Slow in the twisty bits, gotcha. This way, if we're exceptionally slow, I can blame it on you and Grandma.

See you at Targa

Here’s to a great Targa experience, exciting but hopefully not too exciting. You don’t need to worry about anything as I will be there to do that for you. See you next week.
Grandma at age 95 has some words of advice for you: Newfoundland roads have a lot of curves so remember to slow down for the corners.

, September 2, 2008
Reply: I don't think Grandma's going to want to see the way we'll be driving...

Holy Carp!

Wow, I'm getting excited! I can't imagine how you guys feel! I'm glad you got to go out and test it in the rain like that for safety's sake. Thanks for the race updates section as well, I was not looking forward to knowing that you were out there racing and we were just going to have to wait to see how it all turned out.
Josh (bluej), September 2, 2008
Reply: We'll do our best to have some good updates posted every day.


I just want to wish you the best of the best on the Targa. I will be wearing my Targa Miata shirt at September 13 in support to your race. Hopefully we will see great things to come from those days at the Targa. Go for it!
Eddie Vega / soros151, September 1, 2008
Reply: Thanks Eddie! We'll try to do you proud.

All the best from New Zealand

From the other side of the planet, "stitch em up mate" :)
I have followed this build and have realized two things, I know diddly squat, and I am still inspired!
All the very best of luck to the team, just keep it shinny side up, and remember the faster you go the bigger the grin.
Biff, September 1, 2008
Reply: The faster you go, the further offshore you land :) Thanks Biff, we're planning to have fun no matter what. That's the whole point, isn't it?

Go get 'em!

Best wishes and luck, Keith! Can't wait to see the updates. Make sure you bring Janel and the Miata home shaken, not stirred.........

Robin Danek, August 31, 2008
Reply: Will do Robin, thanks.

May The Force Be With You

Good Luck Keith. I will be following you daily via your website.
Jay Weaver Sr, August 30, 2008
Reply: Thanks Jay! We'll do our best to get regular updates on the site.

Good luck

Just wanna wish you the best of luck.

Poul Svendsen, August 29, 2008
Reply: Thanks Poul!

Good Luck

Keith & Janel,

Best of luck on the Targa 2008. I look forward to keeping up to date via the website and catching it on local TV later on...may you hit the tube.

Have a great time, enjoy yourselves (always) and finish. Remember, to finish first, first you must finish. Good luck in your class.
Richard Dekker, August 28, 2008
Reply: The stated goal for the race is "stay out of the Atlantic". Anything beyond that is gravy!
Thanks for the well wishes, Richard, and thanks for your help in getting us this far.

Rock On!

Hey Keith and Janel. Needless to say, I'm backing you guys 100% and if I could I would be there to assist, but alas no. Rock The Rock with the Martini car. We'll be here to see you on the other end of your Return to Canadiana.
Doccomoli, August 25, 2008
Reply: The Rock will be rocked on your command, Doc.

Thanks and Good Luck


I'm planning to build up my own dedicated track Miata, and I'm using the Targa Miata as my inspiration. Your very informative build blog is going to come in very handy.

Good luck in the Targa.

Michael, known on the internet as Skeeler, August 24, 2008
Reply: Thanks Michael! Good luck with the buildup.

good luck for the race

Hey Keith, just want to whish you good luck for the event, keep rocking it's a truly amazing project!!!
Konrad, August 18, 2008
Reply: Thanks Konrad!

Speed channel ??


Perchance will the SPEED channel (Comcast 408) be carrying the Targa? Seeing the "Martini Special" on the tube would be great!

Also, remember during the Seven build all the thought & consideration given to the PPF? For those not familiar, that last entry (505) is a great shot of a factory one from the rear, as the diff would bolt up to it.

Keep up the great work!

Robin Danek, August 2, 2008
Reply: SPEED has shown the Targa in past years, so I'd expect to see it show up again. Hopefully we'll do something dramatic but not damaging in front of the cameras and get some screen time.
As for the PPF, the problem with the Seven was the original design of the differential mount. Once the nose of the differential was properly secured, there were no more concerns. There's nothing wrong with the Mazda design at all - although painting the PPF red does add at least 10 hp.

Great project

Hi Keith,
Really enjoying reading about your project - it's a real source of inspiration and I'm sure I'll pinch some of your ideas for my sprint racer.
Not long now..............
Kev Hamilton, July 28, 2008
Reply: I steal ideas wherever I can find them, so it only seems fair! Thanks for the note, good luck with the racing.

Team Shirts

Will you have any shirts to sell during Targa Week?
Derek, July 9, 2008
Reply: I'm hoping to have a few on hand.

Safety Triangles

Hi Keith,

Interesting that you couldn't find any other triangles than the heavy ones, because I'm looking for those exact sand-filled ones here in Ontario and can't find them!

I've been doing some TSD rally with the intent of running GT class at the Targa some year - the rally veterans have recommended the heavy triangles to me, as the light ones will tend to blow over or away on a windy day. Which is definitely possible in Newfoundland. It's something to consider, although hopefully you won't need to use them at all.

Maybe a couple of holes in the bases and a couple of tent pegs to drive them into the ground? (although that won't work on pavement)
Craig Nowak, June 20, 2008
Reply: NAPA definitely carries the heavy ones in the US, and given the other places I've seen them I'd also expect to see them in Canadian Tire or Princess Auto. I have a set I can ship to you if you really want!
I can certainly see how the heavy ones would stay in place better, and if I was driving a truck then they'd be my choice.

2-5 Shift

And I thought it was just my poor driving! Now I can blame it on the stock 16 year old differential mounts!
Eric Vance, June 9, 2008
Reply: You honestly can. That and the motor mounts.

First Rally under the belt

Kudos on doing what some couples can't...finishing a TSD rally as a couple. It's a little like wall-papering together. ;-)

I'm glad though that you did take my advice to run a rally together as a team-shakedown (and car for that matter), as it sounds like you've gained a lot out of it. Sucking exhaust isn't nice either...still no roof-vent eh?

Best of luck on the continuing efforts.
Richard Dekker, June 9, 2008
Reply: We've been looking for a rally to run together for some time. I think we took part in the only TSD in Colorado! Most of the events in the area are dirt hillclimbs, which would be fun for me but not really what we're looking to do.
No roof vent - I'm thinking dust-free cold air will not be at a shortage at the Targa! But holes in the chassis aren't really a clever thing, so that's been sorted.

Can I have the shifter knob????

So what will become of the car after Targa? Will you keep it or is it destined for eBay?
Derek Churchill, June 3, 2008
Reply: I'm planning to keep it. After putting this much time and effort (and money!) into the car, I never want it to leave.

Right Rear

Have you tried any other bracing to try to get the right rear planted. I'm thinking it may be chasis flex. I know you used the braces from 03 but it would be interesting to see if the FM butterfly would help. May even be interesting to get it on a frame rack to make sure everything is straight.
Andrew, June 3, 2008
Reply: Between the '03 braces, the seam welding, the frame rails and the roll cage, I think it's fair to say the chassis is not flexing. The car hasn't been cornerweighted for a while, which could be a problem.
It's interesting to note that Grassroots Motorsports reported that a professional Spec Miata had the same problem. I'm going to try another couple of things, but it's not a problem in more open areas as opposed to the tight confines of an autocross course.


What was the reason for not going turbo? Was it rules regulated or a decision? I am hoping to start my build soon. Just looking for a second Miata to drive while I Frankenstein this one. Would love to join you in a few years if you make this an annual event.
nate, June 1, 2008
Reply: I stayed away from a turbo for a number of reasons. First, I'd have to run Unlimited. That puts me in a much faster class. Much faster. I'd be up against things like factory Subaru rally cars - and factory Subaru rally drivers! In my Modified class, I'll be more competitive.
Second, the lower horsepower car will be easier to deal with on rough, gravel-covered roads that I've never seen before.
Third, I like the feel of a naturally aspirated engine and this gave me the chance to build a really good one!
This will be a one-shot deal. We can't afford the money or time to do it ever year, unfortunately.

New to miata

I happened upon a 1992 miata for free a month or so ago. Needless to say it needs a great amount of work. The site has given me a great inspiration to get it fixed as soon as possible, not that I'm doing anything past header and exhaust, its just really gotten me fired up about the car. And it keeps me going at work, makes the time go by faster. Can't wait to read about the seven. Thanks for it all!
Wesley Knight, May 31, 2008
Reply: Glad to hear it, Wesley! They're fun cars, no matter how much or how little you modify them.

The "Look"

The car's looking fantastic...now that it's nearly 99% complete. All the world needs is a shot of the two of you in the car (helmets on) to start a good press kit. Keep us the good work.
Richard Dekker, May 25, 2008
Reply: We'll try to get a shot at the autocross next weekend!

Love The Car

I really enjoyed reading about the build up for this car. It inspires me to continue working on my miata to make it an even better machine.
Fithi, May 19, 2008
Reply: I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it!

Mud Flaps


Proper "rally cars" have red mud flaps...not black. You were oh so close to being perfect... ;-)
Richard Dekker, May 13, 2008
Reply: To each their own, Richard...

Great website, love the detail

Having finally purchased my first Miata (after like ten years of wanting one)its great to see someone putting this level of info on the web. How much contiguous time have you spent in those seats, I have to install a drivers seat and am curious how much time you've spent and how comfortable they are?
Nathan barnes, May 4, 2008
Reply: I've spent a couple of long track days in the seats without any complaints. We're going to be doing an all-day TSD in a month or so and that will be the real test. Of course, your own particular physiology will be what really matters.

Mud flaps

Hey Keith, great project you have going there. I have followed it since the biginning. I have the exact same material that you used for your mud flaps, and I'd like to do the same thing you did. I wonder if you could send me some more picture, how you installed them, etc. Thanks a lot and keep on your amazing work!
P.S. My email is benoit151@hotmail.com
Benoit, April 23, 2008
Reply: Sure, I'll take some more pictures and put it in the build diary for you in case anyone else is interested.


Quote: "Now I just need to come up with a testing regimen that doesn't involve the track!"

Well, tight donuts in the shop may work...course you'd have to have the guys move everything back out! ;-)
Richard Dekker, April 15, 2008
Reply: I have a particular road in mind. We'll see how many tries I get before the cops show up.

Lapping video


C'mon, taking the Esses on two wheels is way more fun! The car looks very well poised, but you've got to do something about the front-end drive / inside rear wheel lifting...that just won't do.

Which way are we going to run the track at the Open House this year?
Richard Dekker, April 12, 2008
Reply: I'm working on the traction problem - watch for updates. As for the Open House, I'm not sure which way to run. I usually decide that on the way to the track!

Congratulations Keith

Congratulations on being featured in "Forever MX-5".
Being a new magazine, they probably ARE desperate for writers. Fortunately for them, you have an informative and humorous style!
You know, I've been lurking around on this site for over a year, and I've just now gotten around to signing your guestbook. I guess you could that I tend to procrastinate a bit.
I spent over two years lurking on Miata.net before creating a login!
Maybe I'm learning to procrastinate a bit less! One can always hope, can't they?
Mark Blusiewicz, April 9, 2008
Reply: Thanks Mark! Good luck with the procrastination. I'm planning to stop procrastinating myself.


Camelbak mounting?

A picture of the camelbak mounting would be much appreciated. The Super Cups are on their way, and the one recurring thought from this weekend at Thunderhill was that I needed water. This thought usually occurred on grid. :)
Zandr, March 25, 2008
Reply: They're rather hard to photograph. They're basically tucked in behind the seats with straps going around the roll bar to prevent them from escaping and scampering around the car. Easy to remove but secure. I'd originally thought of trying to use the normal shoulder straps on the seat somehow, but the options available on the "Unbottles" worked better.

WOW! Congradulations!

Well well, congradulations Keith, on the feature in Forever MX-5. That is quite an achievement. Great work on the car so far. If you choose to write for the magazine on a regular basis i think you could make an outstanding contribution to the magazine. Good work!
Mike Jenkins, March 22, 2008
Reply: Thanks Mike!


I see that you like your Camelbaks for your water and you like to drink alot dont drink to much or else your going to have to go pee to often aha love the build keep the good work up :D
Mike, March 15, 2008

Janel's legs

Well, having seen Janel's legs, you don't want them flopping about. :-) And unhappy co-drivers are not something you want to experience during a rally.

So, again, from a been-there, done-that (in my rally-prepped RX-3 my shoes once melted to the footrest in one rally!) the ability for the co-driver to basically lock their legs -- feet on the footrest to ass against the seat-back WITHOUT straining muscles or cramping -- is hugely important. Certainly something to fine-tune prior to a week on the Targa.
Richard Dekker, March 13, 2008
Reply: Janel says she's happy with the footrest location, but I'll get her to re-examine things there. Straining muscles would really be a bad idea.
And I'm going to tell her what you said about her legs! :)

Anemic motor?

Your latest dyno work does reveal itself to be quite underpowered. 170-180 rwhp sounds right since it would be in the ballpark figure as to horsepower per litre as the seven once all the little "bugs" are worked over. To quote you and it is a very true statement; "If it was easy, everyone would do it".
Chris B., March 5, 2008
Reply: We've had other motors of similar spec make an extra 15 hp. This is the only one that's used these cams though. So I'll try some others. It does have a really nice torque spread and it's obviously more flexible than any other naturally aspirated Miata engine I've ever driven. Even the Seven's engine is a little lazy until it gets on cam.
Honestly, the horsepower of the engine is not a major concern. It's already going to be powerful enough to be fast in the race. It's the suspension and the driver that are really going to matter.

Next links not working correctly

Clicking on the pictures or the next button while in the Miata Build section takes you to the previous entry, and the previous button takes you forward.
J.Huckleberry, March 4, 2008
Reply: The default setup is to show the entries in reverse chronological order as that works best for repeat visitors. If you want to see them chronologically, click on "show oldest first" at the top of the page. Then the next button will work the other way. The site will remember your preference.

Logistical problems?

What, still no green card...ie: not allowed back in the US if you leave? Man, that sucks that you have to miss the school...regardless of why.

As to the trip to Pueblo, try it out as a Navex rally...and have Janel feed you instructions via some unknown / untravelled route (on the way back, not there, lest you get lost!).
Richard Dekker, February 28, 2008
Reply: Janel's already writing out a route book for the track itself! Of course, after the first couple of laps I'll probably have figured out where it goes. Hopefully.

Intercom system


As a former co-driver, a couple of comments re: the intercom system.

- Be prepared for a loss of exhaust system (ie: ear-plugs).
- Do you have a micro-phone on your helmet? Two-way communication is a must-have in a rally car, for a few reasons. Stages that are duplicated (are there any on the Targa Newfoundland?) will always generate driver notes back to the co-driver for the second run-through, and it's also a good way for Janel to know when you're over your head and to reel you back a bit or spur you on.
- The ability to confirm instructions is also a good thing, if you missed one you can ask for a repeat, or, if her micro-phone quits and she's using hand signals, you can still confirm things back.

These are all my "been there, done that's!" from a few years of Pro-Rally racing. Granted, RX-3s with radical Rally-Port (bit further than a Bridge-Port) 13B engines produce a lot more noise than an I4 engine, but a race car is a race car -- they're noisy environments...especially when you've ripped a hole in the exhaust (or your header cracks).

Richard Dekker, February 21, 2008
Reply: Thanks for the comments, Richard. You'll be glad to know that Janel is already developing the proper co-driver attitude, she called me a trained monkey the other day. Anyhow...
I do have a microphone on my own helmet already so we can communicate both ways - it's in the background here. There are a few stages that are duplicated in the opposite direction, but I don't think we ever hit the same stage going the same way.
That's a good suggestion about earplugs. We'll keep a couple of sets in the car. A rally-port with an open exhaust would be painful!



Header looks great in the engine bay...but it too needs Martini stripes!!! C'mon...you know ya wanna!

Richard Dekker, February 18, 2008
Reply: I honestly hadn't thought of that. Curse you! Hmm, where can I find high-temp paint in Opel Flame Red?

Plug for the antenna hole

With regards to the plug for the antenna hole you used (image 391), just wanted to let you know that if you don't have access to the OE parts (really neat knowledge, though), inexpensive replacements can be found in the hardware aisle of your local hardware store. In my case, Lowe's had them for something like 18 cents.
wreckerboy, February 14, 2008
Reply: Good tip, thanks!

Looks Great!!

Hey Keith

The car looks great and that header is just sick!!!!

Glad to see the project is still on track.


Paul Moisse

Amsterdam NL (formerly Montreal QC and Toronto ON)
Paul Moisse, February 9, 2008
Reply: Thanks Paul!

have an idea

Have you considered putting on exhaust wrap on the headers? They would be an effective solution to preventing any cracking problems and they are relatively inexpensive. About $50 for a roll of 2”X50’ wrapping. They work by keeping the heat inside the pipes and prevent the thin walls from cooling down too fast, which is a major cause cracking. Considering the way the exhuast header is made and your expressed concerns about cracking, I highly recommend using them.

Chris, February 7, 2008
Reply: Chris -
I've used header wrap in the past, and found that it helped demolish a Jackson Racing Miata header in fairly short order. I've been leery about using it ever since. I do have some here that I can use if the header does show signs of problems though.

heat treating

If you really want heat treat the header properly, you could ask the local pottery shop to do it for you by putting the header in a kiln. Kilns are temperature controlled and can reach up to 2,000+ F. Just a thought.
chris, January 28, 2008

domestic oven heat treatment

If you want more heat, there's probably a self-clean feature on your stove! Seriously. I tried that once with a grungy cast iron skillet I dragged home from a flea market (hey, nothing to lose). Came out the next morning with a thin layer of oxidation, but after seasoning with cooking oil, it looks brand new. I think that's somewhere around 1000 degrees.
magicgeorge, January 27, 2008
Reply: Yes, we do have the self-cleaning feature on our stove. Hmm, I might have to wait until Janel has to go on a trip out of town.

Cooking the headers in the oven

Be careful not to overdo your bounds when doing something like that. Members of the opposite sex don't often see our view points as car people. I know this because I got caught doing something very similar and had to scrub out the entire oven. Not fun work. :(
Chris, January 27, 2008
Reply: When the member of the opposite sex owns a turbo Miata, she tends to be a little more understanding. Although I expect I would have had to clean the oven if I'd made I mess...

Goodbye Hello

Hey TargaMiata team.

Just wanted to put my fanboy, 2 cents worth in. Sucks you won't get to do this in 2008, Eric. All joking aside, I know how long you guys have talked about this. But life keeps on throwing curveballs I guess.

On the other hand, I'm super stoked for Janel to get to be the co-driver. I think she'll be awesome, and you guys will rock, on The Rock. Wish I/we could be there to cheer in person, but little people (ie: babies) prevent that THIS year. However in the future, who knows? Hope to see you all soon.
Doccomoli, January 26, 2008
Reply: Those darn little people, taking away all the fun.

Talk about obstacles

You're not even here yet and it looks as though you should already qualify for the "Spirit of Targa" award.
Derek C., January 16, 2008
Reply: Well, if it was easy everyone would do it! Thanks for the kind words, Derek. We'll see you on the Rock!

Sorry about Eric!

Really sorry to hear that your co-driver cannot make the Targa. My best friend from high school is a car guy and this whole build was something I had on the back burner as an Idea for us. I can imagine how much it would suck if it turned out the same. I'm very glad you are moving forward either way. Best of luck as allways and let us know if you're going to accept "applications" for the spot ;-)
bluej (josh), January 11, 2008
Reply: Thanks Josh, Keith and I have been planning to do Targa together for years and we almost made it in 2007 *and* 2008 so there will no excuse for Targa 2009. I think Keith may have a special person in mind for the Targa 2009 co-driver seat though, so watch the site for an impending change Team shakeup!



Sorry to hear you won't be there. I hope you are back in the middle of a Targa endeavor soon.

Luis, January 11, 2008
Reply: Thanks Luis, I'm really sorry as well. I still plan to be somewhere to the side of Keith's Targa Miata 2008 experience, but just not in the ballast (co-driver) seat. And Targa 2009 is not that far away... [Eric]

The car is looking great

Hey Keith. The car sure is getting close to being finished. The "header legos" are a great idea. That crazy header will look awesome when its finished. Will FM offer it as a product when your finished with the design? Good luck with finishing the car, i hope it all goes smooth. Ill be watching
Mike Jenkins, January 2, 2008
Reply: Thanks for the note, Mike. I'm hoping the header not only looks cool (if I can manage to build it!) but actually works. Who knows, it may become a product some day although it will require a different intake than stock. First, I need to build it and then test it. It might just be a crazy looking part that doesn't work.

OK, so I've been under a rock...

...but the Targa project is *fantastic*. You had me at the Martini colors. :)
Zandr, December 29, 2007
Reply: Thanks Zandr! I hope you make it out to Colorado sometime soon to check it out in person.

Alignment - A-arm issue

If the alignement is still off, check the other wheel to see if it has gained camber. If so, it is possible the subframe shifted. Loosen the bolts that secure it and shift it back.

PS. no need to put this in your guest book. I just can't email from my home account while at work.
Luis MacLean, November 21, 2007
Reply: Thanks for the suggestion, Luis. I've already checked the other side, it seems to be just fine. Since both the upper and lower control arms are attached to the subframe, a shift of that piece wouldn't make any difference to camber anyhow.

really?! no helmet!?

Hey Keith, it's nice to see the progress and I love reading the updates. Quite frankly though, I'm amazed that you are planning to run without a helmet at the targa. I'm sure I speak for many others when I say that if something happened we'd be very upset. Is it really worth it? Think of the mrs.!
bluej (josh), October 2, 2007
Reply: I didn't say I was going to drive without a helmet during the event, I said "I want to be able to drive the Targa Miata without a helmet". Like I did on the way in to work this morning.
I wasn't planning on wearing a helmet on the transit stages - that's normal road driving at normal road speeds.
During the competitive stages, of course, we'll be wearing helmets. I'd wear one then even if it wasn't required!

Re: Sep 7 entry, suspension testing

Hi Keith,
So what did you learn re: effects of the damping adjusters, e.g. this adjuster made the car more composed getting on the berms, over here on the track..etc? What was the ride height? Cheers.
JasonC, September 21, 2007
Reply: The compression damping adjustment was mostly for low-speed damping, so I was using that to deal with turn-in and roll. There was a little effect on the high speed behavior as well, as increasing the compression damping did make the car a little less happy to climb berms. I found a point where the extra compression damping seemed to cause more damage to the car's compliance than it added to its turn-in behavior. However, I'll be running as little compression as I can while staying off the stops. The long travel and relatively stiff springs meant that I didn't need much. With the softer springs that I've just installed, I'll likely need more. But time will tell.
On the track, I didn't spend much time with the rebound. There's still a lot to play with there and since I knew the new springs were coming, I knew there was a big change in the future.
Ride height was "as high as I could get it with those springs". I think it was about 12.75" front and 13" rear, but I never paid much attention. The numbers aren't really portable to another Miata due to the amount of bump travel available.

Well done

Very great adventure absolutely fabulous!!!!
Your car is very ........ I love it I want the same but without the Martini stickers to be more discret!

Very well done and very good job
BB from England
BB, August 22, 2007
Reply: If you're looking for discreet, a Martini paintjob probably isn't the best idea!


Don't you need a functioning heater to keep the windshield clear if it gets cold and rainy in Newfoundland? And a rear defroster too?
Jason C, August 22, 2007
Reply: I'll have a blower to move air over the windshield. Heat usually isn't a problem in a race car, but I'll do some testing this winter. A/C would actually be best but I just can't bring myself to do that.
I've never had a rear defroster in a Miata.


Have you considered sending flowbench numbers to Dema Elgin @ Elgincams.com? He will do a custom grind for the flow numbers, engine specs and desired characteristics. Should be worth maybe another 10% with a ported head.
Jason C, August 22, 2007
Reply: The cams I'm running are a custom grind already, actually. The engine is the least of my concerns right now, it's very flexible and good to drive. I'd rather spend the money elsewhere - despite appearances, this is not a cost-no-object car.

long travel shocks

You can use combo of long bumpstops, and some "packers" (solid disks made of chopping board material, with a hole and a slot, that you slip on the shaft to limit bump travel. And, regarding the excess droop travel, add a tender spring. The main spring needs to be long enough only to prevent bind at full bump, from your given static ride height (total stroke of spring, or free length, minus fully bound length). Any excess droop, should be taken up by a tender spring. You can use a compound spring; it's basically using a tender spring that has a significant spring rate. You can calculate the resulting spring rate, and the wheel position at which one of the springs binds up.
Jason C, August 20, 2007
Reply: Thanks for the note, Jason. Going with a longer spring will put my spring perch in a better place, that's one reason I want to use 8". Tender springs will come after the rest of the suspension is figured out. Since this particular setup (the blue shocks) is a prototype, it makes more sense to get the fundamental geometry right before messing around with packers and losing overall travel. We're still at the design stage where the dimensions of the upper perches are being worked out. I've come up with my wish list for upper and lower travel, now I'll make the changes to have that happen.
It does not appear that coil bind will be a problem given other constraints.

A work of art


Excellent! Excellent! Excellnt work! The paint scheme is truly classy. Both simple and bold, it's very striking! The logo sizes and stripes fit the car perfectly, and yes the valve cover's hue looks better than if it was actually Flame Red (at least 25hp here!).

One note along the lines of the battery...have you considered installing a cannon plug (aircraft style) in the body somewhere close to the battery? I use one at work in a truck bumper and it is easy, quick, and foolproof. One end of a jumper cable set can be the plug, the other with the normal, big alligator clips, if you need a jump off an unknown car. Just a thought after mention of the cold conditions one might find in Newfoundland.

It's great fun following this build (and religiously following the Seven's site as well). Keep up the good work!

Robin Danek, August 12, 2007
Reply: Robin, thanks for the kind words!
I hadn't considered an external jump point. I have a lot of faith in this little battery - the one in my Seven has put up with more abuse than its more traditional predecessors did - but I did make sure to use automotive terminals instead of bolt-on motorcycle types in case a boost was required. The external setup is an interesting idea though. Hmm.

Looks Great

Looks great. Paint and graphics are perfect. The time you spent working out the stripe scheme was well spent. Keep the updates coming. -Al
Al Fitzpatrick, August 12, 2007
Reply: Thanks Al! I can see some flaws, including one set of fender stripes that just didn't work that well, but I'm not going to point them out!


I'm still awed by this project. Awesome work, once again. That engine cover jumps at you like nothing else. And the stripes, speechless. I wish I can take on a project like this some day. I'm still working my way up the ladder by starting in autocross. Keep up the good work.
Eddie Vega, August 11, 2007
Reply: Thanks, Eddie. Good luck with the cone dodging!

Excellent build story!! Looking forward to seeing the car and your team next year in TARGA.
Dave Suhl - Stage commander Team 'F', August 10, 2007
Reply: Thanks Dave, I can't wait to get there!

Martini logo


The paint job looks great. Hard to believe this is your first one. Anyway,
are you going to put the Martini logo on the hood?

Tom, August 10, 2007
Reply: Thanks! Yes, the logos will be going on shortly. I needed to put the paint down first to make sure everything matches.

Shake Down Tarmac Rally Events?

Keith, With the delay to 2008 for Targa have you considered a shakedown tarmac rally here in the USA in 2008 prior to heading to Targa? There are two great tarmac events on the NASA rally schedule (Tennessee and Idaho) that would be a great chance for you to test the car. I am not sure about the rules on fixed roof etc so it may not be possible but, just a thought......
The car is coming together very nicely.
Al Fitzpatrick, August 9, 2007
Reply: The Miata isn't welcome in most rally events due to the lack of a fixed roof. I've come across a note that the Miata is specifically exempted to this rule thanks to someone trying one out for rally that I need to confirm, but the Targa rules are different and I don't know if I'd conform anyhow. So the short answer is, I've considered it but I'm not sure it's possible. I may have to content myself with shaking the car down on the track.

Paint Scheme

I think the paint job looks AWESOME!


Eric, August 3, 2007

about that odyssey 680...

I've got one of the 680s up here in Ontario. And its sitting on the shelf. Why? Because in cool weather, it doesn't crank very well at all.

I expect northern Newfoundland mornings to be quite nippy, might want to make sure you have some backup way of starting your Miata...
Mitch Rybczynski, July 28, 2007
Reply: The 680 is rated for more cold cranking power than a standard Miata battery and my other one's never been a problem in cool weather - but we'll have a set of jumper cables in the support vehicle regardless. Thanks for the reminder.

A suggestion in regards to 'red'

In reading about your search for the perfect red, i thought it might be useful to point out another option if you persist in having trouble finding the right one. Look into the stock bright red of manu dodge stealth's. It is a very bright and orangy red that i've heard mentioned also matches that of an older corvette red so should be very easy to find. Best of luck!
bluej, July 8, 2007
Reply: Thanks for the suggestion! Porsche Guards Red has also been mentioned as an option. I'm trying to find an authentic color if possible. The real question is - how authentic is that Lamborghini color?

Good Job!

I have been following this build for 2 months. I read all the build 2 times, and I just want to tell u, that this is a Super GOOD JOB ur doing. Keep going at it, no matter what. Bummer I couldn't buy a Miata to do something like this, but I would have if it wasn't for the choice I had to do. Go!
Eddie Vega, June 27, 2007

Bummer, but good luck

I'm bummed to hear about the postponement, but then again, at least you'll have a super well prepared for the 2008 event.

I do have one question- it may be a bit odd- are you planning to leave the headlight hardware intact? It would seem that since you need to flash to pass and whatnot it would make sense to leave the lights up all the time, unless drag is a major concern. That said, there would (I think) be a major potential weight savings in the removal of the motors and associated hardware. So, the short version- are you leaving the headlights intact or just putting them permanently up?

Once again, good luck. On a side note, is your future wife happy about the new honeymoon possibilities?
Ricky (again), June 18, 2007
Reply: The headlights are going to stay as-is for now. The motors aren't that heavy, although Eric and I did discuss a manual method of raising and lowering them. This might happen eventually, who knows?
Surprisingly, it's the steel cover to the lights that seems to have the greatest individual weight! They're surprisingly heavy. There are carbon fibre replacements out there, but that's not in the budget.
Unfortunately, the visa problems that keep me in the US also keep us away from our preferred honeymoon destinations. Sigh...

Good things come to those who wait.

Hi Keith,

I am sorry to hear about the delay, but like you said, it will allow a lot more shake-down and development time for yourself's. I hate to be selfish and say it, but your postponement actually works out better for me. I happen to be getting married this September, and hapens to be the same weekend as the end of the Targa, but I have already talked to the (soon-to-be) wife and she is willing to entertain the idea of our 1-yr anniversary being a trip to NFLD for the race. So, I look forward to keeping up on all the diary entries, and I hope to see you at TN 2008!
Martin Savill, June 11, 2007
Reply: That works for me!


You've got it easy as far as the whole immigration situation. A friends wife was forced to leave the US and wait two years for re-entry, after getting married! Consider yourself lucky :-)

Here's to a great showing in 2008!
Mitch Rybczynski, June 11, 2007
Reply: Yikes, I guess I was lucky! Don't give the INS any ideas, though...


Sorry to read about your effort being delayed to 2008 but you will have gained a bunch of time for testing and de-bugging. I would say that extra time will pay off in 2008!
Al Fitzpatrick, June 11, 2007

So sorry

What a shame you won't be here for 2007. It must be a heart breaker. I think I'm almost as disappointed as you. I was really looking forward to seeing the car. Oh well...2008 it is !!!
Derek, June 11, 2007
Reply: We'll be there in 2008, and the car will be better for it.

TN 2008

Sorry to hear about TN2007. Remember you can't always expect tp see them coming. At least there is TN2008 to look forward to.
Keep up the great work, albeit at a slightly reduced pace.
How about posting a wedding picture? :-)
Luis MacLean, June 11, 2007
Reply: Thanks Luis. I view this build diary as being about building a race car along with a matching diary. It's not the typical blog full of babble about my personal life, unless it actually affects the race car. So the wedding pictures won't be added.
459 days to the Targa!

my two cents

congradulations on the marriage. also the car looks great. i think you have been a little hard on your self about the paint.......its a race car, it doesn't have to be perfect, plus the "textured" paint will help hide any blemishes. good luck with the rest of the build, with the race......and with the new wife!!!
diesel.junkie, June 10, 2007
Reply: Thanks! Although as you'll see in today's posts, the wife did cause a major problem for the race. Just not in the way you might think.
The latest paint looks good. I'm getting ready to paint a hardtop for a non-race car, that's why I'm being picky.


So,will TN 2007 be considered a honeymoon?
Derek, May 18, 2007
Reply: Well, it's taking the place of Keith's honeymoon this year. Next year, there will be a real one! Don't expect a lot of work on the car for the next few days, although Eric will see the car for the first time tomorrow.


You kinda snuck in the comment about your wedding. Congratulations!!

Looks like the car is coming along very nicely.
Al Fitzpatrick, May 16, 2007
Reply: The wedding isn't really appropriate to the car build, but it will slow things down a little in the next few days as you might expect...


I was wondering where the heck the cams are coming from and what the specs are... are these items that could possibly be sold by FM at some point in the future? (a guy can dream...)

Keep it up!
Ricky, May 13, 2007
Reply: The specs aren't quite public knowledge at this point. If they work, they will likely be made available through FM.

Good luck

eh i hope the targa miata turns out great i have a miata my self and i was going to enter but then i read all of the specifications for the car and it was to much work so then i seen you guys building it n i was liek sweet n all my friends call it a chick car, i already prove them wrong when they get wasted in a race, but i hope you guys own all the other cars at targa good luck :)
Mike Stranges, May 13, 2007
Reply: We'll do what we can to defend your honour amongst your friends!

Does it run?

Wow, I love the inside look at the Miata build of the century! Here's to hoping you do well at the Targa! I'm so jealous.

So the burning question is: Does it now run? I keep checking the RSS feed in anticipation, its killing me.

Lets see a video! Some clips of the engine purring along!
Mitch Rybczynski, May 11, 2007
Reply: I'm planning to start it in the next couple of days. Don't get too excited about video, the camera isn't behaving at this point.

More of the same

I must say that your Targa car is very impressive so far. This comes as no surprise as I've read your book on your Seven as well. Both write-ups provide very good lessons on all the small things that are involved in building a car from the ground up and for pure racing. I am very interested in how the engine will turn out as I couldn't find much info on FM for an NA engine like this. I wish you the best of luck with completing and racing it. Hopefully I can make the trek out to the Open House at the end of summer. Don't know though. You guys are a long way from AR.
Matt Fettes,, April 17, 2007
Reply: Thanks for the note, Matt. I'm pretty interested in how the engine will turn out as well - it's a bit of an experiment.

Good Luck

Great project. Great website. We wish you the best for that next goal.
Axel Windmueller, April 11, 2007
Reply: Thanks Axel!

We know the build will be solid. Good luck with the Targa!

The build is looking great. Being a Newfoundland native I asked Marsha if I could go to the Targa and she said no due to the 4 car garage we are building. I guess it is back to the vicarious life style I have gotten accustomed to. Is there a new book in the future? I would to read about the whole Experience.

Best wishes, Mark.
Mark Henley, March 20, 2007
Reply: There's no book planned about this particular adventure at this point. But who knows?

Great following your work.

Hi, my name is John Wahlgren and Í live in Gothenburg, Sweden. Great work on your car and since I´ve been working professionally with automobile painting I know how much work it is to grind, paint and put it all together again.
I want to make a streetcar/racer of my 1991 Miata and your work serves as good inspiration. keep up the good work, John.
John Wahlgren, March 3, 2007
Reply: Thanks for the note, John. Nobody's going to mistake our paint job for a professional one, but it'll do for a first try. Good luck with your Miata!

looks great!!!

great job!!
steve jordan, March 1, 2007

Loving it

Saw this link on www.miataforum.com, and just spent an hour reading through. Project is looking great! One day I'll have to try the same thing. Love the Targa, I'll look for the car when I watch it on TV.
Keep up the good work!
Grimace, February 27, 2007
Reply: Thanks!

Good Luck!

I did TNL in 04 and 05 -- a truly insane amount of fun! The Miata is a perfect car for the race. There are few cars in the Late Modern Modified Small class, so by simply (simply?! ha ha) finishing you should take a spot on the podium for your class. From what I've read on the blog, you very well could be overall contenders!

Oh yeah, 11.5:1 compression? You'll be bringing your own race gas, right? It can be challenging to locate hi-octane gas in the more remote legs of the race.

Check out my somewhat longwinded account of TNL2005 and my E36 M3 build-up: http://www.whistlehog.com/blog

Maybe I'll see you in September!

Todd F., February 24, 2007
Reply: Thanks for the note, Todd! We have noticed the scarcity of entries in our class - we're not complaining.
As for the octane, we'll probably bring a bunch of toluene with us to doctor any poor gas we find. We also have the ability to change the timing of the engine to run on lesser fuels if we have to.


Hi Keith!
With the painting practice and "hi-tech" booth, I see a new FM service opening up! ;-)

Maybe I can have a complete re-paint done in 2009?

I may have to see about coming back to the open house in August.
Dennis B. Swaney, February 19, 2007
Reply: I don't know if I'm quite ready to charge for my services! Then again, if I do it for free you can't complain about the result, can you?
I hope you can make it back for the Open House. You'll get a chance to see the Targa car in person.

I will be following you. Good luck

I live in Winnipeg, Canada, and have been intrigued by the Targa Rally. I try to watch on TV but would love to be there, especially in my Miata. I will now even have more reason to follow not only the rally but your web site. Thanks for doing this. I have a Canadian edition 1993 Miata LE, which seems to cross at least 1/2 of Canada and the northern States each year. Maybe I will have to drive out this fall and give you some cheering. thanks. Doug
D. Ross, February 18, 2007
Reply: We'd love to see you if you do manage to make the long trek to Newfoundland! You're closer than we are.

Best of luck


You're bringing forth my Rally bug again...which is bad news for me, as trying to justify a trip to the "Rock" in September...

Glad to help where I can with Pro-Rally advice...and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished car in the flesh in August at the FM Open House.
Richard Dekker, February 16, 2007
Reply: It's been helpful talking to you as well. We'll see you in August!

Looks like fun... I'm jealous

Hi All,

I'm really jealous. It looks like fun and you guys are doing a great job. If you need a hand let me know. Will work for plane fare!

I'm following the build from Crete, in Greece, and have been dreaming about doing something similar for a couple of years now. We have a baby on the way though so it will need to wait (liked the comment about the windshield in the bedroom).

I noticed you also have a Mini (and a caterham?)... what year is the Mini? I have a '75 with a 1.3 and a 40 Webber DCOE.

Alex P., February 13, 2007
Reply: That Mini runs in the Targa Miata family. Eric brought it over from the UK and Keith traded a Miata for it. You can see more about that little critter on its website. We seriously considered using it for the Targa, but when Flyin' Miata came on board that made up our minds. The "Caterham" is a Locost, seen here.


Reverse the order of your build diary.

Love where you guys are headed with this build. Now how much power are you guys allowed to run in this rally?

David Caldwell, February 13, 2007
Reply: Thanks for the suggestion - we are working on the code for the diary to let you read it backwards.
We're allowed to run as much power as we can. However, the rules of our particular class restrict us to the standard block, no forced induction and no nitrous. So there's a limit to how much we can produce. If we ran in unlimited, we could make twice as much power - which would probably mean we'd land in the ocean twice as far from shore...

Targa Miata

A few Miatas have run Targa in the past, but nothing comparable to this build. I really look forward to seeing it.
I've been a Timing Marshall for all 5 years and will be again this year. Bringing my two daughters as well...it's a family affair!
I have a 1993 with custom paint, CAI, Borla duals,chassis braces, Motegis and Flyin Miata rad. Limited only by budget and know how!! Hope to get some ideas from your team.
Come on Sept.

Derek Churchill, February 13, 2007
Reply: We'll see you there!

the rock is hard

Hi flyin' Miata team
I've been a Targa volunteer for all 5 targas so far here on "the rock" . I think you should be aware that the nickname "the rock" is very apt for this province. the roads are quite rough, and so you should be thinking about ground clearance and durability when you do your suspension set up. That arm dam in the pic above won't last 10 minutes. By the way I have a 1990 Mariner Blue Miata - with hard dog bar installed.

Best of Luck and see you in September

Larry Picco
Larry Picco, February 12, 2007
Reply: Thanks for the warning. The picture at the top of the page is of the Flyin' Miata "Track Dog". It's a full-on track car, not the Targa car. That airdam doesn't even survive aggressive kerb-hopping at Thunderhill - but the car runs at might higher speeds than we're allowed to hit in the Targa so it needs the aerodynamic help. We're also not going to be running a fragile fibreglass body or a 4' wide wing. The only reason it's at the top of the page is because we don't have a running car to take pictures of yet and because it's a cool looking car.
That said, we are planning on running stock ride height for good clearance and we're doing what we can to maximize suspension travel. Keith has been building fast street Miatas for years and he's looking forward to making the best one he can.


Interesting car. Hope it does well. Look forward to reading in future.
Al Norwood, February 12, 2007

Go miata go!

Im loving this project! keep it up guys!

Dennis Karlsson
Dennis Karlsson, February 12, 2007

Watching the build

I am enjoying watching the build from Knoxville TN. Keep the updates coming.
Al Fitzpatrick, February 12, 2007