Brandon's MX-5 [Build Thread]

Gonna be honest, I bought this Mazda MX-5 NB 1.8l fully expecting to keep it basically stock and to only have it for less than a year before moving to the U.S. I almost convinced myself that was going to be the case, but I think after just a couple weeks I came to the conclusion that this poor car’s gonna be imported to the U.S. once it turns 25, mainly so I don’t have to feel bad about putting mods on and only decreasing resale value. Infinite value if you don’t sell it, right…?

Managed to find this little monster after about a month of searching. Dirty, barely driven by its last owner, and with some rough patches of bodywork. However, the low mileage and rust-free condition made it an instant buy and fell in love with it on the 30 second test drive up and down the owners street late at night.

first photo at the gas station on my way home after buying it

Started with the obvious and super easy mod of just slapping a ‘’’’ cold ‘’’ air intake on it. I’ll always defend that the intake noises are always worth sacrificing a little bit of power for. Obviously with the lost HP from the warmer air I had to bring it back up, and with a trip to C&M the day after, it was sticker time. Of course, featuring the obligatory DRIVE-R 500mm decal and stickers made by my lovely other-half. Stickers as always are an on-going process, and are an essential maintanence item just like an oil change.

not enough cars have danny devito on them

When getting my car up on a lift, I discovered a couple fun things about my exhaust. One of them being a fake bolt-on attachment to the rear tie down hook to give the impression it’s a dual-exhaust, and the other being some very artistically done noise holes in the backbox. This gave me the excuse to get a new custom exhaust system upgrading to the face-lifts exhaust manifold, definitely a very slim catalytic converter that can fit in a regular 2.5 inch exhaust pipe section, resonator delete and a stainless steel backbox.

definitely wouldn’t want one of the previous owners performing surgery, that’s for sure

the angled tip, slight pops and humble-but-louder tone is absolutely worth it

With the wheels, gonna be honest they’re just an Facebook Marketplace special that are heavier than the OEM’s, but I wanted a fairly specific style, and didn’t have a big budget at the time because I was still fooling myself I wasn’t going to keep the car

And while on the topic of running gear, we got some Tein Advance Z’s on with the only casualties being the two rear anti-roll bar drop links. Brake pad upgrade to some EBC greenstuffs on the front, and very soon putting in braided brake lines and greenstuffs on the rear too.

cheeky semi-slicks and a fitment that begs for a better offset

And now onto the general body/appearance stuff that’s been done. Starting with some LED side indicators, LED amber side markers (that still need to be wired up), black mirror housing, step-style side skirts, front lip, front tow strap and rear tow hook, slimmer wipers, replacement bonnet that hasn’t got sun-rash, replacement boot lid with paint-matched ducktail and center brake light delete, offset number plate mount, and most importantly more stickers feauturing the main rear UNIFIED decal on the rear. I’m sure you have your tickets already, right…?


Inside has been very quiet, with just a weighted gear knob, an actual decent-quality headunit with Bluetooth, upgraded door speakers, and a wider rear-view mirror.

The engine and it’s surrounding area had some work done too, but most of it just being preventative maintainence stuff. Replacing the coil pack, spark plugs, cam and crank sensors, HT leads, cleaning the MAF sensor, adding a front strut tower brace, a beautiful polished exhaust manifold heat shield, and doing a somewhat acceptable job of wrapping the intake pipe in heat-reflective tape.

negligible power gains but gonna be honest i just like the gold look

May’s to-do list is shifting, hydraulics and fuel; including a new shift boot, short-throw shifter while also replacing the worn bushings etc, engine torque damper, braided brake lines and braided clutch line, and uprating the fuel pump to a quality Walbro kit ready for an upgrade a little bit further down the line.

Thank you for listening to my TED Talk.

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