Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Targa Miata is not an MX-5 with a Removable Roof Panel

Regular readers and those who know me in meatspace are aware that, although I have always been a car guy, I've been completely obsessed with automobiles and motorsports since I bought Mia, my Mazdaspeed Miata. One benefit of owning a Miata is the enormous online and real-space community of owners who are willing to share information and even help you work on your car. I guess that benefit is one ramification of the Miata being best-selling sports car of all time.*

Probably the most famous single person in the Miata community, at least in my mind, is a gentleman by the name of Keith Tanner. Mr. Tanner is the author of one book about working on the Miata, another on the Miata's history and the process of buying one, and at least one non-Miata volume. He works at Flyin' Miata, posibly the most popular source of aftermarket performace parts for the the first- and second-generation MX-5, and he frequently appears on at least a couple of the online Miata forums to answer questions about FM's products.

For over a year now, Keith has been building a Miata to contest the Targa Newfoundland, a rally race held in the easternmost province of his native Canada. He's named this car the Targa Miata** and given it its own website, the most interesting part of which is a very thorough build diary. Keith, with his wife, American Janel Tanner, as his navigatrix,*** will be starting the Targa in just a couple of weeks, so the assembly is essentially complete. If you've ever wondered how to build up a race car on a budget, I encourage you to read though the blog. I found it both informative and entertaining.

* That, and the huge amount of aftermarket support.
** Not very creative, I admit, but very descriptive.
*** The official title of Janel's position is co-driver, but functionally, the person in the passenger seat will be navigating. And I think it's perfectly cromulent to feminize "navigator."

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