Even in a Miata, some things aren't cheap

Here’s a quick rundown of how much money it took to get my safety equipment (seats/bar/harnesses/etc.) set up properly.

Just a reminder. My “ideal build“ is a duel purpose, track monster/offroad adventure-mobile. Eventually getting to the point where I can change between the two identities in a relatively short period of time. This is also a daily driver, and I plan on dd’ing it for quite awhile. Lastly, I’m a big fan of buying the best possible, so I never feel the need to “trade up” in the future for a higher quality part. Might as well just spend a bit more time saving up now you know?


So, the build. Seats, seat brackets, harnesses, roll bar, miscellaneous, in that order.

The seats are Bride knock-offs from a fantastic Californian company called Sonic Motors. I know, I know... I JUST said buy the best and blah blah blah. But when I say knock-offs.... I’ve had these seats (Sonic Motor Vs3's) and the Brides they’re “modeled off of” next to each other and couldn’t spot a difference. The fabric is the same. They feel the same. I’m 99% sure they’re the same seat. And they are everything I want in a seat. So not sure exactly what’s going on here, but at $300 each—with shipping—from a company that’s been an absolute pleasure working with, I’m not complaining. Fixed back racing buckets with removable padding, weighing in at less than fifteen pounds, that are surprisingly comfy for me at six feet tall and 200 pounds.

Seats: $300.00 x2

Total: $600.00


Brackets. Most of the ones I was looking at were very clunky, required a good deal of cutting/drilling/fab work to use or didn’t have certain features I was interested in. Then I found the ones manufactured in America through GarageStar. Strong, lightweight, made for Miatas. I can bolt my stock seatbelt receiver to the mounts if I want to swap between belts and harness, I retain a sliding function (good for passengers) and I sit with the seat bottom touching the floor pan. In addition, there’s not a side mount seat out there I couldn’t get to work with these, no bending/cutting/drilling required. They even included all new hardware, most other companies having you reuse the stock bolts.

Brackets: $219.95 x2

Total $1039.90


Harnesses. I went with Schroth Hybrid II 6-point belts. Comfortable, very quick to put on and adjust, and Schroth’s fantastic customer service and reputation. No Takata products here, thankyouverymuch.

Harnesses: $459.00 x2

Total $1958.90


Rollbar. Blackbird Fabworx GT3 NB rollbar. What that all means is an X braced rollbar that works with hardtops, glass soft tops, and plastic soft tops while being accepted by all racing organizations. Custom powder coat was a cheap add on, so pearl gunmetal grey found a home on my bar. Unlike most bars, the harness bar is built in and therefor doesn’t need to be purchased separately.

Rollbar: $1115.00

Total: $3073.90

Other! Seats were great from the beginning, but I decided to upgrade them a bit for long trips. The removable cushions were cut open, and memory foam used in their place.


Materials cost: $60.00

The harnesses needed a red quick release latch to be street legal. Would it have ever been an issue? Probably not, but the reason behind the rule—making sure first responders can get you out ASAP—is a good one that I fully support.


Latches: $80.00 x2

Grand Total: $3293.90

That’s a big chunk of change. More than I purchased the car for. And there are still a few things to finish up. I would like fire suppression, rollbar padding, door bars, and probably a few odds & ends I can’t think of now.


Looking at the numbers is a bit painful when I think of how much extra power that could have bought instead. But then I remind myself that I can buy 200tw summer tires for $100 a piece. Miata life. Pros and Cons, Oppo. Pros and cons...

PS: before you go off about “harnesses in a street car” ask yourself if you’d rather trust a 25 y.o. Airbag (along with 25 y.o. Impact sensors that were non-functioning when pulled) in a tin can with stock seats that end well below the base of the neck, or a beefy rollbar with professionally installed racing seats/harnesses and hours of direct input from Schroth on optimizing for my particular situation. If you’re still going with the stock setup, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter