By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

The Bauer Limited Production Catfish was born from a simple philosophy; take everything that makes the Miata great, and allow it to be even better. Through a lightweight composite body, a purpose-built tube chassis and accentuated aerodynamics, the Catfish achieved exactly that. The car weighs 1,750 pounds at the curb, and has been pushed to nearly 300 hp and beyond. Many of these developments (and a good part of the Catfish’s evolution in general) is thanks to this car, Cord Bauer’s own Catfish #1, which is currently up for auction here on BringaTrailer.com.

As the best-selling two-seat convertible sports car ever, you’d better believe the MX-5 has some things going for it. The Miata is affordable, lightweight, rear-wheel drive, and is a hoot to pilot on the street, or on a closed course. But the Miata has gained a little weight in subsequent generations, and through the addition of equipment you and I may deem unnecessary in the pursuit of performance. Tops, doors, fancy interior treatments, and heat and A/C may become unnecessary, depending on how fast you want to go.

But Bauer went beyond simply subtracting weight in the design of the Catfish. The company instead designed a whole new tubular chassis from mandrel-bent, DOM tubing, which all the major systems from the 1990 to 2005 Miata bolt onto. The fiberglass bodywork is also special, employing woven S-glass and carbon-fiber reinforcements. The interior is comprised of aluminum, fiberglass and Kevlar, with front and rear firewalls included.

The Catfish has gone many places in the last few years, with the addition of turbochargers and higher horsepower engines. The chassis has even been configured to accept GM LFX and LS engines, taking the power to weight ratio from super car, to death-wish territory.

But the typical Catfish (and an ideal configuration in our opinion) is much like the one you see here, Cord Bauer’s own Catfish #1. The car is powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter Miata engine, with boost coming courtesy of a Garrett 2560 turbocharger, front-mount intercooler and a cast intake manifold. The Miata mill itself is actually a nice build, with an NB2 bottom end with a forged crank, and an NB1 top end with upgraded valves, springs and adjustable cam gears.

This Catfish wears a color scheme we’re familiar with, and it suits the car well. Black 15x10-inch 949 Racing wheels and fat Achilles rubber give the car attitude fitting for a track machine.

As for specs, Cord reports that the car weighs 1,750 pounds full of fuel, and has been tuned to 250 bhp on pump gas and 275 bhp on E85. For reference, your standard Miata (NA through ND) will hit the curb at between 2,100 and 2,500 pounds, and produced between 90 and 170 hp in most cases.

The auction here on BringaTrailer.com ends on Friday May 10, and the current high bid is $18,000.