DOWNGRADE?? The NC MX-5 is an under-appreciated chassis in the Miata world. Kind of a “black sheep” if you will. I get that it’s kind of bulky-looking, & rounded-off like a sightly used bar of soap. But I think the main reality is: NCs aren’t cheap enough yet. They’re currently in a weird price-point void for race cars and/or project cars. Everybody loves the styling of the new ND… and everybody loves the price of the older NA/NBs. 

…And then there’s the NC. 

NC Miata

But NCs have a ton of underestimated styling potential. Heck – they’ve got factory fender flares. I think once these things start dipping below the $5,000 mark… peoples’ tunes are gonna change about the NC. Take Derek Yarbrough’s car for example:

This is his 2012 NC Miata, in which he competes in the Gridlife Touring Cup (GLTC), a string of wheel-to-wheel racing events across the US. Prior to this NC, Derek tracked a Corvette! Pretty rowdy, eh? Yeah he thought so too… until his track instructor took him out for a ride in his NC Miata. Derek loved the experience so much, that he sold the Corvette… and purchased the Miata from his instructor!

I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t that seem a little backwards?? Shouldn’t you be upgrading FROM a Miata TO a Corvette? Well… maybe. But look at it from Derek’s perspective.

During the ride along, he began to realize that the Miata delivered many of the same feelings he was getting in his Vette, but literally for a quarter of the cost. Fuel’s cheaper, tires are cheaper, parts are cheaper. The Miata does more with less. It’s not a point-&-shoot sledgehammer like the Corvette. But when you start linking corners and figuring out how to keep the momentum, it adds a whole new element of fun (and skill). Basically – Miatas lower the risk & up the reward. They’re just an all around budget-friendly way to enjoy your track time. The more track time you get, the faster you become. There’s something to be said for that. 

Today’s car culture is a little over-consumed with having the biggest, the baddest, and the fastest. Social media spotlight is a huge driving force. But the reality is: Those guys spend waaaaay more time building & fixing their car, than they ever do driving it. And hey – that’s fine if that’s how you like it. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Derek’s been running less than 200 horsepower for 3 years. He’s had an absolute blast with it… and gotten enough track time to probably be faster than you in your own car! He can reliably drive this car to the track, compete, and drive it home without breaking the bank. And for Derek that’s the sweet spot! What’s the point of having the fastest car out there if you can only afford to run it a handful of times a year? 

Text by Hunter Rollins     Photos by Chris Sullivan