It all starts on paper
What draws oneself to express creativity? It is common in most people and I can safely say that Miata owners in general have that drive to express their creativity through this little roadster in many ways. Whether through a unique accessory applied to their Miata or full blown body kit and wheels, personal expression runs deep and strong in the roadster import community.
For me, I think this is how it started - with a small boutique Miata shop just 5 minutes away from Suzuka circuit where F1 races take place. The shop is aptly named Pit Crew Racing and famous for its quality dress-up, tune-up and nostalgic accessories for the Eunos Roadster.
And while Japan is known for being the birthplace of the Miata (MX-5, Eunos Roadster) and 2nd largest market for the Miata, its aftermarket industry for this roadster towers anything else in the world to date. Pit Crew Racing, like most unique Japanese speed shops, is quite small and has a certain charm about it when you look at the shop front. It is not a shop that competes with the larger brick and mortar shops - but rather a small outfit that specializes in only a few items and maintains that successful and timeless formula.
Owned by Tetsushi Uezono, the company has been around since the introduction of the Miata with unique retro-like products. His vision in all his products pays homage to the sports cars of the 1960s and remains very spartan in form and design - very much against the grain of today's JDM mass produced products. The key signature item that they are known for is the Pit Crew Racing conversion kits (i.e. body kit) for the 1990-2005 Mazda Miatas that pretty much transforms your Roadster into something James Bond would be utilizing minus the ejection seat. I hate to classify this product with a simple term like "body kit", but in fact this conversion is more intricate, factory-like and remains surprisingly one of the easiest modifications I have done on my Miata to date. The 1990-2005 conversions come as a frontal or rear kit and is installed - and the front requiring no drastic modifications other than cutting some minor plastic from the inner bumper support. The rear kit is a bit more involved - but either one simply slips into place and the hard work is simply prep and paint and how customized you want to make it.
The great thing about this kit is how well it blends into the original flow and body lines of the Miata. When people spot this unique kit on a modern based car, several things seem to happen at once. The eyebrows first raise and then their sensory glands buzz like a distorted frequency from outer space trying to place the make and model of the car . This kit has so much heritage spewing from its clean lines and unique look that it almost becomes a time machine for the driver. Since instillation on my 95 Miata, I have just about heard everything about the look, but one thing is for sure the comments are always different and that is nothing short of pure joy for me. I look at this look as a wonderful cocktail - there is some a dash of Japanese Animae influence as well as the nostalgic aspect from Mr. Uezono - but I can honestly say that this look is in a class of its own when compared to other Miata conversions out there.
So how where did this look that Mr. Uezono created come from exactly? You can see hints of all sorts of different designs in the front and rear that it may make your head spin. When I look at the Pitcrew Racing conversion I see lots of European influence as well as some domestic influence. I have posted several examples in the left frame for your viewing. What influences do you see?
Through several international articles that I have read, it is quite simple most of the look comes from the Ginetta G4. I think it is best summed up by Shin Yoshikawas article in the 99/IV Miata Magazine ("Its The Pits"): "Most telling, perhaps was Mr. Uezonos reflections of the fabulous Ginetta G4, one of the most celebrated British backyard special of the 50s and 60s but yet body is hardly a faithful Ginetta replica, however-at most it can be said that it has a certain G4 feel." Well stated.
If you are interested in learning more on this kit, feel free to roam the web site (I try to update as much as I can) or feel free to email me with any questions, suggestions, etc. The only distributor of this kit in the US in Rspeed (www.rspeed.net) and while not a cheap kit you are certain to have invested in making your Miata a unique ride that will separate yours from the crowd today - and for years to come.
There are many more pictures I have sourced from around the world with the Pit Crew Racing conversion kit for the NA (90-97) and NB (99-05) Miata in the left frame. I try and add more photos as I come across them - if you have a Pitcrew conversion that you are working on, please feel free to email me and I will host them on my web site.