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						Miata Based Exomotive Exocet 1

Flyin’ Miata Has Been Dedicated to Making the Miata Even Better

Text and Photos by Jim Youngs, Editor Emeritus

You can find several attractions in the tiny Colorado town of Palisade, nestled in the shadow of the Grand Mesa and bordered by the Colorado River. In addition to lush peaches and fine wine grapes, this area boasts both popular bicycle and kayak areas and the gateway to the spectacular Colorado National Monument. And there’s another big enticement: Flyin’ Miata.

This company is the go-to source for everything MX5. Founded by Bill Cardell in 1983, it’s housed in a 25,000 square-foot former indoor horse arena. The company began as The Dealer Alternative specializing in repair and servicing of Porsche, Audi and VW products. It was 1989 when a Porsche customer introduced them to a Miata and the love affair began. Two months later Cardell’s own Miata was turbocharged and a new business formed.

“In 1996, we moved to Colorado and started working on Miatas exclusively,” Cardell recalls. “A couple of years later, we bought our first dyno to use as a tuning tool. Many of our special parts had been given the name ‘Flyin' Miata,’ so in 2000 we renamed the company to match.”

In keeping with the Flyin’ part of the company’s moniker, it has added monster horsepower upgrades in the form of LS V-8 engine conversions. But not just some crude swap, as it’s one thing to wedge a V-8 into a little car, and quite another to make it look as if it came that way from the factory. Flyin’ Miata not only does an awesome job in appearance, but also achieves something other than just a nose-heavy hot rod.

In addition to a thick catalog of Miata hop-up engine parts, suspension upgrades, and brake enhancements, Flyin’ Miata has diversified its offerings. As a natural extension to the business, it is now a dealer for some Miata-based component cars such as Westfield, Exocet and Catfish. Of course, this hands-on company is not content to just take orders for those customs, but created formidable demo models of each and loaded them up with some of the best components offered in its catalog. We had the opportunity recently to take a look at a couple of the in-house builds and they both bristle with cool tech and are high on the fun-factor scale. 


In building their Exocet from Exomotive, Flyin’ Miata’s team did all the work themselves with the goal of using as many of their salvage 1999 Miata components as possible without modification. For example, the wiring harness wasn’t modified except for cutting off a few redundant lengths such as power window and audio controls. The majority of it was left alone and simply strapped into the car. All of the emissions gear, rearend, steering, engine, transmission, instruments and such were retained basically without any mods.

The company did replace stock shocks with V-Maxx coilovers at all four corners and added Little Big Brake Kits consisting of Wilwood calipers on the stock rotors. The Exo wears a complete set of 15x7-inch Kazera KZ-M wheels shod with Toyo RA-1 rubber (225/45-15).

The boys left the engine with its stock internals and induction, but added one of their Level 1 lightened flywheels. The car spends a good portion of its time on FM’s local track and has been turbocharged since our visit. It apparently makes a great test platform for R&D for the company.

“It basically doesn’t have an interior,” is FM’s description. Bare aluminum panels make up the floor with a pair of Sparco Sprint V racing seats mounted. It has an NRG quick-release hub steering wheel and air conditioning described as “copious fresh air.”

We always get a chuckle at some of the answers to our typical questionnaire filled out by feature car owners, and this one was no exception. In response to our question of Make/features of sound system, FM commented, “Exhaust note and passenger screaming only!” When asked about the car’s brand and color of paint, Hot Yellow powdercoat was listed and when asked about Number of coats and any special application (stripes or fades, etc.) FM responded, “Rubber chunks on the frame were applied using a high-speed technique at Laguna Seca.”

While still on the subject of Exocet, we were able to take a look at a special customer model under-construction sporting none other than a Cadillac CTS-V supercharged LS V-8! 


We’ve published a considerable amount of info on the stylish Catfish made by Bauer Ltd, so we won’t dwell on all of its details except to say that it is also a component car that comes with a steel subframe and belly pan that attaches to a Miata chassis.

FM staffers built their Catfish based on a 2001 Miata and utilized its engine, transmission, gauge pod, and differential. The build team added a Flyin’ Miata II turbo system to realize about 250 horses at the rear wheels. Like the Exo, they also added FM V-Maxx suspension components and the FM Little Big Brake kit. For wheels they chose TR Motorsport C3M 15 x 9-inch wheels with Hankook 225/45ZR15 tires.

The Catfish interior is purposefully simple with a pair of Sparco Spring seats and G-Force Pro FIA harnesses. The steering wheel is a removable Momo Prototipo and the gauges are stock Miata with Flyin’ Miata gauge faces. The team also added a rear-view camera. The door panels were covered in microsuede. Since our visit the Catfish also received Bauer’s new full windshield instead of the small racing windscreens. The windshield gives the stylish car a dramatic new appearance, a nice upgrade from the one we featured initially. And we hear that a 2.0 Version is in the works with a number of additional improvements, so stay tuned for more details.

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