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mndsm
mndsm Reader
12/14/09 10:17 p.m.

So- a friend from the MN Mazda board sold his Mazdaspeed6 recently. He decided that it wasn't the car for him, and it was time to get while he still had positive equity in the car. His new weapon of choice is a c5 z06. I made the comment that for equal money, a Miata could be built that would destroy said Corvette in any contest of speed. Track, autocross, drag, standing mile, the works. I figure that I'd start with a 1g Miata.... and work from there. The obvious start for me would be a warmed over ls1 swap, and all of the accompanying trackworthy suspension........ and then the details get a little foggy. My question to you is, how would YOU build said Miata to work the big bad bowtie over? I considered "spending" the big money to get an LSA and calling it good, but I figure realistically you could build a smokin ls1 for about half that cash.... I figure 10k on power related mods, and another 13.5k in suspension, wheels, tires, etc. figuring about 1500$ for the chassis.I figure for fairness sake, no r-compounds or track rubber, only comparable street tires. Beyond that, all is fair game. Wild swaps, crazy super secret damper suspension, all of that. My rules are also based on me doing all of the work myself, so there'd be no labor costs. Bonus points are awarded for keeping the Miata relatively streetable, to the level of the z-car at least. Whaddya think of my wild claims?

Keith
Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/14/09 10:49 p.m.

I have a lot of respect for the Z06. A lot. In 2003 or so, Car and Driver had a Superfour Challenge, inviting all the four-cylinder tuners to bring their baddest toys out. It was pretty cool stuff, with some very quick cars and at least one with yellow windows. Not many rules, most just a street tire and fuel limitation. At the end of the competition, Larry Webster lined up with a bone stock Z06 and demolished the entire field in one run.

What sort of money are we talking here?

If an LS swap is in the cards, figure out a bad-ass LS. 1, 7, 3 with a cam, whatever. Personally, I like the 480/376 crate motor from GMPP. It even has a two-year warranty. But that's going to depend on your budget.

I'd also start with an NB (1999-05) Miata. More room for the powertrain, stiffer chassis.

You're going to have to cheat on tires. The widest you can easily put on the car is a 225/45-15, and your choices are R compounds or the Hankook R-S3. Meanwhile, the Z06 has acres of tire.

For suspension, AFCO. That was easy :) And some good brakes.

You know, I'm basically giving the recipe for Elvis here - and for good reason. Elvis was at that C&D competition. I don't think he'd lose a second time.

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
12/14/09 10:56 p.m.

So let me get this straight...you want to spend 20+ grand and hundreds of hours with the hopes of making a Miata that might keep up with a stock Corvette that costs less than $20k? I guess I don't understand what you're trying to prove. Is this something you're actually doing or proving your prowess in magical bench racing math?

Bryce

davidjs
davidjs New Reader
12/15/09 8:02 a.m.

Can you take the Miata, make a Locost, then "swap" all of the miata bits for something else? How much of the Miata has to be left?

mndsm
mndsm Reader
12/15/09 8:13 a.m.
Nashco wrote: So let me get this straight...you want to spend 20+ grand and hundreds of hours with the hopes of making a Miata that might keep up with a stock Corvette that costs less than $20k? I guess I don't understand what you're trying to prove. Is this something you're actually doing or proving your prowess in magical bench racing math? Bryce

This is all a mythical bench race. I never really intend on building a Miata that serious (or do I?).... but at the same time, I have a habit of arguing in favor of building a car from the ground up by hand, as opposed to going out and buying something that's already going to be fast as hell. Don't get me wrong, the z06 is an AMAZING car. Have come close to pulling the trigger on one several times. I just never like taking the easy route.

Another perfect example was the few days I spent shortly after the GTR came out, arguing that a used Evo+the remainder of the GTR money in building it, would walk all over it. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense to a lot of people, but that's how I do things.

For reference, my theoretical budget would the the same as the purchase price of said Corvette. I know it's a horribly impractical idea, but I never really take the easy way out.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
12/15/09 8:18 a.m.

I think it'd be easy...

But then you have to question "Why?"

I'd do it, simply because i like Miatas better than Vettes, but you've also gotta figure, that Miata wouldn't be streetable, it'd be a track monster. The Vette would still have air conditioning, and be just fine driving to work in a driving rain.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Marketing / Club Coordinator
12/15/09 8:21 a.m.
Keith wrote: You know, I'm basically giving the recipe for Elvis here - and for good reason. Elvis was at that C&D competition. I don't think he'd lose a second time.

It's a darn fine recipe. I loved driving Elvis, and it would at least give a Z06 a run for its money. I'd pay to see the showdown.

Autolex
Autolex HalfDork
12/15/09 8:26 a.m.

how much is a turnkey FM Westfield? and one with a mazdaspeed motor?

I would go that route.

njansenv
njansenv Reader
12/15/09 8:59 a.m.

I've seen reasonable mileage z06's for well under 20k....I think you'd have a hard time building a built-LS1 Miata for that price...

Nathan

Autolex
Autolex HalfDork
12/15/09 9:20 a.m.

how about THIS?

GlennS
GlennS Dork
12/15/09 9:21 a.m.

People under estimate just how fast z06's are around a track. If you get into modding cars you also have the problem of having spent the same amount of money and built a slightly faster car than the zo6 driver. He then spends another 2 or 3 grand and "OOPS" hes way faster than you again. You gotta keep in mind that the zo6 can easily be made a lot lot faster.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
12/15/09 9:21 a.m.

Honestly, i think a nice NA widebody miata with some huge meats, a built BP and some huge amounts of boost would fit the bill.

chaparral
chaparral New Reader
12/15/09 9:32 a.m.

Over the past couple of years, I've been building and driving this long-term project of a CRX. It started as a DX, then went through a couple of ZCs, and now has a B16 with a screamer of a pipe (4-2-1 header, no cat, one resonator). It's got a Corbeau seat, Koni shocks, stiffer springs, a couple roller bearings where bushings used to go, and as it stands probably adds up to around seven grand.

Lots of fun to drive, and very difficult to beat down a back road - low center of gravity, very little inertia, lots of braking power, fast acceleration. It's easy to think that it's got "the right stuff".

I recently bought a plain C5 hatch. It's on run-flats, the flywheel weighs about three tons, and the swaybar bushings are shot. It's a little slack, maybe even wallowy. Until you drive it down a back road, you'll think "Oldsmobile, nice sounding, but kind of a two-seat Aurora".

It will take the CRX's lunch money and flush its head in the toilet. The lousy power steering goes away past 40 MPH and you've got basically an aerodynamic Miata that's a foot wider with huge tires and fewer than ten pounds per horsepower. I don't know how much Elvis weighs - but the C5 weighs in at 3085 with those monster tires.

Schmidlap
Schmidlap Reader
12/15/09 9:55 a.m.

/Clarkson/ But the Vette's got leaf springs!!!! /Clarkson/

Another advantage that the Vette would have going for it is longevity. All of it's parts are targeted to last 100,000 miles (whether they do or not is another discussion), whereas a lot of the aftermarket parts out there have no chance in reaching that, and are designed more for outright performance, with little thought of durability. Also, the Miata frame probably won't last nearly as long as the Vette when you triple the power it has.

Bob

mndsm
mndsm Reader
12/15/09 10:16 a.m.

And these are all excellent points... for sure. I'm glad that people are taking a realistic approach to it, no matter how insane the idea is. I still think it could be done, personally. But my defintion if streetable is pretty loose, I figure if it's got plates on it, that's close enough for me.

Keith
Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/15/09 10:17 a.m.

Elvis weighs 2500 lbs, there's still a significant weight advantage with the Miata. And that's the high end of expected weight. If I put a V8 in my Targa car I'd be looking at around 2300 lbs.

The turnkey cars we build at Flyin' Miata share the same drivetrain as a 2009 'Vette but weigh about 750 lbs less. Then, for $300, we can add another 50 waranteed horsepower and still be less than the price of a new 'Vette. So that particular bench race - turnkey FM V8 or brand new 'Vette goes to the Miata for performance and price.

You've still got the problem of trying to fit big rubber (I've set Elvis up to run 255-series rubber if we have to, but a welder was involved) and the aero will never be as good as the Vette. Rubber is probably the biggest problem. If you want to go widebody, that helps, but you still have the problem of diameter, as you can't get a street tire wider than 225 without going to a 25" diameter.

A 480 hp V8 Miata has AC, power steering and is a really sweet highway car. Rain isn't a problem. You just have to not be a moron, and realize that the throttle has a position other than WFO. So streetability isn't a concern.

The used Z06 is a problem though. They're very quick. And they're used, so they're available at a significant discount. You'll spend more to keep one alive, both in terms of consumables and things like bushings. But in terms of trying to match all aspects of performance for the buying price? Extremely challenging. The Corvette engineers today aren't idiots, and they had a pretty good budget to play with when they built that Z06. If you're basing your idea of Corvettes on the weakling C3, you'll be surprised.

Would the Miata frame last? I think it would. Just put some well-chosen reinforcements in place and it should be fine. High-performance Miatas have been around for a while.

Would a high boost, built BP with fat rubber and a widebody do the job? In some arenas, yes. I can beat a stock Z06 in an autocross with my Targa car, mostly due to the size of the car and probably also due to driver variances. But in a test like the one Car and Driver put on, no.

z31maniac
z31maniac Dork
12/15/09 11:00 a.m.

245/35/17 Toyo R1R 23.9" OD.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
12/15/09 11:11 a.m.
mndsm wrote: And these are all excellent points... for sure. I'm glad that people are taking a realistic approach to it, no matter how insane the idea is. I still think it could be done, personally. But my defintion if streetable is pretty loose, I figure if it's got plates on it, that's close enough for me.

Well, one easy approach... is to buy one of those bodyless Z-06 rollers that keep showing up on ebay for $8500 and drop a Miata body on it. That should run under $12k... leaving money for slicks.

mapper
mapper New Reader
12/15/09 11:41 a.m.

I can't stand GM, the company that likes to let us know that their products are what "Real Americans" buy, but I will admit that the C5 and C6 Z06 is an amazing car. And then there is the ZR1.

Ian F
Ian F HalfDork
12/15/09 11:59 a.m.

Fun discussion. Similar to debates I constantly have with myself: build up a car that might be competitive and might be less expensive and might be fun to drive... or jsut go buy an already established "fast car" and have fun.

I'm still working on this one and have reached no definite conclusions...

One thing that has disuaded me from a C5 Z06 (and I could afford one if I seriously wanted one), is the consumables - tires and brakes - when used in a competitive manner.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
12/15/09 12:01 p.m.
Ian F wrote: Fun discussion. Similar to debates I constantly have with myself: build up a car that might be competitive and might be less expensive and might be fun to drive... or jsut go buy an already established "fast car" and have fun. I'm still working on this one and have reached no definite conclusions... One thing that has disuaded me from a C5 Z06 (and I could afford one if I seriously wanted one), is the consumables - tires and brakes - when used in a competitive manner.

I wrestle with this every day. I get tempted constantly to sell the MX6, and part out the Celica to get a nicer car that is more capable out of the box. But then i realize that i'd just mess with that car anyways, so i may as well start with a cheap platform.

Figure $8k or so for an E36 M3, vs. $600 Celica w/ $7400 in modifications. I know which i would have more fun with.

mndsm
mndsm Reader
12/15/09 12:06 p.m.

I think the BIGGEST single reason that I haven't tried to acquire one to date isn't even the consumables, it all has to do with the fact that we all know the z06 is a wild car. We know it's fast, we know it handles well, we know it's about the best value dollar per dollar out there. What we don't know, is if a better value could be created.

Keith
Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/15/09 12:17 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: 245/35/17 Toyo R1R 23.9" OD.

Right, Toyo does have some cool oddball sizes. You've still jacked up the rolling diameter by an inch. Now, go wider

I've spent a lot of time trying to fit the biggest rubber I could under a Miata. I've done 245/45-16 (same as a 245/40-17) with some rubbing - I wasn't allowed to use Toyos on that particular car due to class limitations, so 245/35-17 wasn't an option.

Could a better car than a Z06 be created for $20k? Not easily. You'd have to choose your battles. My Locost will beat one in an autocross but will lose on high-speed tracks. Using the Miata as a base will get you in the ballpark, but you're still going to struggle.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
12/15/09 12:20 p.m.
Keith wrote:
z31maniac wrote: 245/35/17 Toyo R1R 23.9" OD.
Right, Toyo does have some cool oddball sizes. You've still jacked up the rolling diameter by an inch. Now, go wider I've spent a lot of time trying to fit the biggest rubber I could under a Miata. I've done 245/45-16 (same as a 245/40-17) with some rubbing - I wasn't allowed to use Toyos on that particular car due to class limitations, so 245/35-17 wasn't an option. Could a better car than a Z06 be created for $20k? Not easily. You'd have to choose your battles. My Locost will beat one in an autocross but will lose on high-speed tracks. Using the Miata as a base will get you in the ballpark, but you're still going to struggle.

I hear you on the tire size issues.... i have the same problems. I really don't want to go to a 17" wheel, but i think 265/45-16 is just out of the question considering i was working with a 205/55-15 stock. And i doubt going to 17s would be any better.

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
12/15/09 12:32 p.m.
mapper wrote: I can't stand GM, the company that likes to let us know that their products are what "Real Americans" buy, but I will admit that the C5 and C6 Z06 is an amazing car. And then there is the ZR1.

I've come to really like the C5 and newer Corvettes. However, other than mabye a Cobalt SS, there's nothing else GM makes that really interests me above what I could get from Ford (and Ford didn't take my money because they failed at life).

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