I purchased a donor package comprised of:
– 2003 1.8L VVT motor with 50k miles on it
– Torson 4.1 LSD
– 6spd Transmission
– All parts needed from a Stock 2003
If you care to read about how I sourced it and how I came to this conclusion feel free to read on:
After I pulled the trigger on the Catfish deposit I started to research options for donor cars. I had been told to stick with an NB (second generation 1998+) miata for a number of reasons most notably the larger 1.8L motor. I had also been told to ideally stick with a 99-00 However most of the NB’s I was finding were in pretty good shape and selling for $4k – $7k. This seemed a bit steep for a car I was going to rip apart so I started looking for other options.
I was introduced to Roman Maguinez up in LA and he ended up putting together a donor package for me so I could get exactly what I wanted. This not only saved me some time on sourcing and stripping a full car but it allowed me to get even better components from a 2003 for less than I would have spent on buying a 1999. Roman is one of the people involved in the development of the Catfish and he has personally owned over 300 Miatas so its safe to say he is a good resource. He was great at helping me uncover my goals for the car and piecing together a donor package that would work well for me. I wanted the car to be street legal but built for the track and I explained that I had intensions of doing forced induction at some point down the road. With that said, Roman ended up putting together a donor package from a 2003 MX-5. The kit included the front and rear subframe, a 1.8L VVT motor with 50k miles on it, suspension, ECU and wiring harness, brakes and just about everything else (except for the shell of the car and the wheels). I also ended up having him upgrade me to a 4.1 Torson limited slip differential and a 6 speed manual transmission. I have heard a lot of people say that they prefer the 5spd but I have also heard that the 5psd can only handle about 250whp and I intend to make closer to 300whp with the turbo kit so I opted for a 6spd which is known to be able to handle more HP. I figure they are inexpensive enough that I can start with the 6spd and always pick up a used 5spd for about $200 if needed.
If you are wondering about transportation, the entire donor package for the catfish fit in the back of a midsized pickup truck.