By Steve Temple

Photos Courtesy of Exomotive

It’s a gritty world out there — so let’s get to it! While there are all sorts of off-road rigs out there for off-road adventures, ranging from sandrails to trophy trucks, they can get pretty pricey. Here’s a more affordable alternative: the aptly named Exomotive Exocet Off-Road. The Off-Road can be built in multiple levels, from using just a $125 shock spacer kit at the basic levels, to an additional 3-inch lift kit at Stage 2, or going full out with the Ultimate Suspension Package. We’ve covered this company’s Miata-based, exoskeletal Exocet in a previous issue, but that one was purely a street missile. 

The Ultimate level Exocet Off-Road upgrade features the Offroadster suspension package from Paco Motorsports (which also makes a lifted Miata as well). According to Exomotive, a distributor for Paco Motorsports, the kit uses components that are easy to swap, so the chassis can go back to a track-spec Exocet in roughly a day, allowing the chassis to act as “two cars in one.”

The Ultimate Suspension Package provides 15 inches of static ground clearance, and 14 inches of wheel travel on a 13.5-inch wider track. This setup consists of a complete set of eight CAD-designed control arms and four custom shock mounts, cushioned with AFCO coilover shocks. Also included are extended-length, stainless steel braided brake lines, and longer, heavy-duty custom axle shafts from The Driveshaft Shop. An optional 5.38:1 gearset compensates for 30- to 31-inch tires, in order to maintain acceleration and driveability. For the steering system, the package adds custom-machined, zinc-plated tie rod extenders, steering rack relocation brackets, and a heavy-wall tubing piece to extend the steering column. 

Assembly is an almost entirely bolt-on affair, with the exception of cutting and welding the new steering shaft extension. If someone already owns an Exocet, this package is compatible with the chassis. Depending on customer preferences, prices for the Off-Road upgrade run anywhere from $125 to $4,485. (A base model of the Exocet goes for $7,000).

The vehicle shown here is owned by Exomotive, which says it weighs about 800 pounds less than a stock Miata. That alone would make for a much improved power/weight ratio with a stock engine, but they installed its FMII Turbo, goading 256 horses to the wheels. Even Flyin’ Miata installed the 3-inch lift kit and 30-inch tires on one of their Exocets. Keith Tanner of Flyin’ Miata says this about his drive: “I now have mud up my nose and a big stupid grin on my face.”