Third Time’s a Charm

This is the third Spec Miata Brett Becker has built since 2005.

It can be difficult to get things to turn out the way you envision them at the beginning. Whether it’s a remodeling project at home, a single issue of a magazine or the conversion of a production car to a racecar, things don’t always turn out exactly as you had imagined.

The 1999 Spec Miata Brett Becker just finished over the winter of 2018-19 came about as close to what he had envisioned as he’s ever come with a racecar build.

“I wanted to give it a theme to make it interesting, but I didn’t want to do a wrap or custom paint,” Becker said, adding that new car’s name is “Bullet.” “Custom paint on a Spec Miata is usually a bad idea because it’s more costly to repair. Because the car is silver, I went with a P-51 fighter plane theme, and I was able to do that with number decals my brother designed, which I had made at GoGoGear.com. Add some bullet hole stickers and a pinup girl, and it seems to work.”

Except for building the roll cage, Becker did all the work in his garage at home, and many of the projects were turned into features for Speed News. Those will be published throughout 2019.

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One of the goals for the new car was to get a little more room for the driver than his old car had. A drop floor from Advanced Autosports allowed the Kirkey seat to be located lower and just a little farther aft than his old car. Going from a 16-inch-wide seat to a 15-inch wide seat also pushed the seat back a bit, too.

“A containment seat is a must, but I didn’t have the budget for any kind of composite seat,” he said. “The Kirkey is a great seat for the money. I had one in my last car, too.”

He used a Sparco steering wheel with an NRG hub and a 1.5-inch spacer to get the wheel up and out the way of his legs for heel-toe downshifts. For safety harnesses, he went with 2-inch cam-lock belts from Impact Racing. They use pull-down adjustments for the shoulder belts and pull-outward adjustments for the lap belts. The hinged clasp design keeps them tight, with less need to retighten during a race.

Inside, he painted the package shelf black to reduce glare and the entire interior silver, including the roll cage, which was fabricated at Blackbird Fabworx in Canoga Park, Calif. The cage uses pyramid-X construction for the door bars with “IMSA bars” to support the front hoop at the top of the windshield.

“The paint didn’t really come out the way I wanted, for reasons I don’t understand,” Becker said. “I bought matte black paint for the package shelf and gloss silver for the interior, but the black came out glossy and the silver came out matte. Go figure.”

Installation of the AEM X-Series gauges are the subject of a tech story in the April 10 Speed News and the installation of the Impact Racing harnesses will come out in May. A new Lifeline fire system will be added later.

“Yes, it is just another Spec Miata, but I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out,” Becker said. “I was quick to take good photos of it right after I finished it because it’s never going to look this good again.”

Owner:Brett Becker
Year:1999
Make:Mazda
Model:Spec Miata
Weight:2,400 lbs. w/driver
Engine/Horsepower:1.8-liter DOHC I4/ not much
Transmission:Five Speed
Suspension:Front: Double wishbone with Penske coilovers, Eibach springs, bars.
Suspension:Rear: Double wishbone with Penske coilovers, Eibach springs, bars.
Tires:Front: Toyo Proxes RR 205-50-15
Tires:Rear: Toyo Proxes RR 205-50-15
Brakes:Front: Stock calipers, with Carbotech XP10 pads
Brakes:Rear: Rear: Stock calipers, with Carbotech XP8 pads
Data system:AiM Solo DL
Sponsors:The California Wine Club, Track HQ, AEM Electronics, Impact Racing, 949 Racing, Blackbird Fabworx.
Image courtesy of Brett Becker

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