The Mazda Miata is an interesting car. To many people in the world who aren’t automotive enthusiasts, “high performance” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of this Mazda roadster. To some folks, the Miata is just kind of a funny little vehicle — a cute convertible you might expect to see cruising down Pacific Coast Highway, top down and blasting Katy Perry at full volume. Denying that the aforementioned scene probably does, in fact, happen dozens of times each day would be silly. Conversely, denying the true performance potential of the blonde-haired-stepchild of the sports car community would be an outright and shameful display of ignorance.
It takes a real man to drive a Miata, and Shane Cabral is a man indeed. After discovering his love for Japanese cars at the ripe age of 12, he grew up with high hopes, waiting patiently for the time-honored teenage tradition of receiving his driver’s license (and the associated freedom) to become a reality. Shane’s first car was a ’90 Honda Civic, not exactly what we would call a sports car straight out of the box. Everyone has to start somewhere, and for Shane the limitations of the EF chassis outweighed the benefits, so the search for the next best thing consumed his late teen life.
After owning another FF Honda for a short time, Shane ended up stumbling across a Miata thread on a popular message forum and his mind was changed immediately. Within a matter of days, the Honda was gone, and shortly thereafter Shane had his first Miata. It was a U.S.-spec car, shipped all the way from Torrance, CA, to his home in Montreal. He immediately fell in love with the lightweight and nimble chassis and quickly got to work performing basic modifications to feed his addiction for speed. After an unfortunate and untimely accident, Shane was left with a wrecked MX-5 and aspirations to build the next one to an even higher level.
Anyone who has ever searched long and hard for a very specific car knows the pains of waiting for the right vehicle to surface. Countless hours of searching through classified ads, days on end browsing online forums and for-sale threads, the search can take its toll on anyone. Not to be deterred, Shane stuck it out and was rewarded when he finally located the car we see before us. After taking delivery of this clean ’91 British Racing Green Miata, the build began immediately.
“I would say that it was a quick build,” Shane adds. “It only took me a little while longer than the Canadian winter season to build this car. The absolute first thing I did with my new Miata was begin by taking it apart piece by piece.” Any project car has its issues, but starting out with a plan of attack is the best way to make your life as easy as it can be. Shane started things off by pulling the motor in preparation for an extensive overhaul.