Story and photos by Jim Youngs

Like descriptions of Colorado’s climate — “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it’ll change” — Flyin’ Miata’s Exocet Sport seemingly evolves on a daily basis. As an example, since we last shot this Exocet, it now benefits from a horsepower boost in the form of a healthy turbocharger and has provided some off-road thrills thanks to a lift kit and monster mudder tires.

For those not familiar with this firm, Flyin’ Miata is a Palisade, Colorado, company specializing in making Miatas faster, with better handling and more fun through a thick catalog of proprietary products and services for the diminutive sports cars. The firm also has a program for installing GM LS engines that you’d swear came straight from the Mazda factory. The company is also a distributor for a couple of component cars such as the Exomotive Exocet and others.

The exposed chassis of the Exocet is just about as simple as you can get when it comes to building a specialty car. It consists of a stout, 191-pound exoskeleton space frame to which you bolt on the so-called Miata “roller skate” (engine/transmission/suspension/backbone chassis), readily sourced from a donor car. And then utilize a host of components from that same car (i.e. gauge cluster, master cylinder/booster, steering column, gas tank, wiring harness) without much modification.

Flyin’ Miata did the complete build in-house using a 1999 Miata purchased at a salvage auction. The donor was wrecked, but the drivetrain was in great shape. The company even sold enough scavenged parts to realize a zero sum for the donor. The goal then was to use as many OE components as possible, and about the only mods necessary were to jettison some redundant lengths of wire from the wiring harness (power windows, audio controls and such), but maintain all the emissions gear, including the charcoal canister and catalytic converter.

Since the Exo was to become a test bed for Flyin’ Miata, they opted to upgrade the radiator and brakes during the build, as well as servicing the engine and transmission, and installing a new clutch. The builders also reached into the FM parts bin to include V-Maxx coilover shocks at all four corners, Flyin’ Miata front and rear sway bars, plus their Little Big Brake Kit (Wilwood four-piston calipers on stock Miata rotors).

The FM Exocet wears Kazera KZ-M 15- by 7-inch alloy wheels wrapped with Toyo RA-1, DOT-rated competition tires (225/45R15). As you can see in the photos, those soft-compound, normally stepped-tread design tires have seen plenty of use as the car spends lots of time on a nearby road course. Indeed, when filling out our tech form, Flyin’ Miata answered our paint questions about special application (stripes or fades, etc.) with amusing remarks such as, “… rubber chunks on frame were applied using a high-speed technique at Laguna Seca.”

Flyin’ Miata’s Exo arrived with the frame powder-coated Prismatic Hot Yellow but left with the fiberglass components (nose piece, hood, fenders and tail piece) in their black gelcoat finish. FM usually removes the fenders since the car gets so much track time. Floors and trans tunnel are made of sheet aluminum that are riveted to the framework. FM had to add some brackets to the frame here and there for things like lighting, aftermarket radiator supports and such.

Our question regarding the interior resulted in yet another amusing response: “Basically it doesn’t have one.” A pair of Sparco Sprint V racing seats face the stock Miata instrument pod and a Driven steering wheel with NRG quick-release hub. A pair of Willans five-point racing harnesses keep cockpit occupants in place. No carpeting, no trans tunnel padding, no frills — basically just bare aluminum and yellow frame members and a sound system that produces “SuperTrapp exhaust notes and passenger screaming.”

FM figures about $14,500 to build the Exocet Sport and about 100 hours of labor went into their track star. It’s interesting to note that the company has also built a V8 version for a very satisfied customer. That monster car sports a Cadillac CTS-V supercharged LS with prodigious output in the 500-plus hp range. We can hardly wait to see what other high-flyin’ mods are in the works at Flyin’ Miata.