1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test

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1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Seat Pickle And Suspension Impressions

May 17, 2010

1994 mazda miata project pro dry.jpg

What's going on here? I removed the seats from Project Miata over the weekend to gain some headroom.

No, here the cabin is drying after I made another attempt at removing the smell that Jacquot mentioned the other day. Out came the seats (easy, five bolts each) and at the suggestion of a commenter, I carefully poured detergent-y water in and went to work with a brush, then shop-vac'ed it up.

It's better. Not 100% gone, but better.

While I was in there, I started daydreaming about having a driver's seat that's not blown to pieces like the stock one. More thoughts after the jump.

Having actual lateral support would be great. Same with a lower seating position. We'll want something that can accept a five- or six-point harness, too, for track work. And sliders are a must, since so many people drive it. Bonus: a single-piece shell seat will be much lighter (not to mention safer) than the floppy stock seat.

1994 mazda miata project no seats int.jpg

However, this combination is a tough nut to crack in a Miata -- the stock seat is actually quite low, so sliders on an aftermarket seat usually means a higher seating position than stock, even with a seat that uses side mounts. And a Miata's sill-to-trans tunnel dimension is narrow, which creates conflict with the various wings and protuberances of aftermarket seats.

I don't have a solution for this yet. I'm all ears, though...

In the meantime, I've really been enjoying the new suspension. There's enormous grip on tap and a precision at the limit that the stock suspenders couldn't hope to provide. You might have guessed this much. However, despite the big increase in roll stiffness and lower ride height, the car's ride quality is actually compliant -- better than the tired stock suspension in many ways. Less bumpstop-ridin' nonsense. Far quicker reflexes.

FCM's damping lets the suspension breathe nicely -- I put a few hundred miles on the car over the weekend and never felt like I was being abused.

In fact, there's very little to complain about at all. This setup is completely daily-driver- / spouse-friendly. In short, a lot of capability has been added without disrupting the Miata's fundamental sweetness. I'm liking it. A lot.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 176,035 miles.

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