When my eldest son left for college last year, it hit me hard how fleeting our time with our kids is, so I looked for fun projects to do with my two younger boys while they are still at home. When a co-worker showed me this picture of a cool race car created from a Mazda Miata, I knew this would be perfect.
Having only changed the oil, brake pads, and belts on cars in the past, this seemed like a great project for all of us to learn something about cars together and end up with something super cool when we had finished. We only had to find an old Miata; get a set of metric wrenches; and, with help from a crowbar, strip it down to the power-train, wiring, seats, and gas tank. Finally, we would bolt on an exoskeleton frame kit from www.exomotive.com.
The website says that with no engine modifications, we should be left with a street-legal, do-it-yourself racecar that will have a sub-5-second 0-60 acceleration.
We found a totaled Miata with undamaged mechanicals on Craigslist for $750 and immediately jumped into disassembly while listening to music, turning wrenches, tearing stuff up, solving problems, and just generally having a fun time.
It hit me that for us, “quality time” usually consists of eating out, going to a movie, or watching a football game on TV. There is nothing wrong with those things, but they lack the depth and permanence of actually building something. When this project is done, even though it will cost us about $9,000, we will know how to strip down and rebuild a junker into a racecar. More importantly, we will have spent priceless time together that we will cherish for a lifetime.