Yesterday, I found out that the yellow Miata I had found and was strongly considering had already been sold! Unfortunate but it was also in Texas, so finding a local one was a higher priority.
Up next is a ‘01 SE in British Racing Green that I have found for sale in Socal. I reached out to the owner and got a response. I just asked if he had any basic maintenance history. He had bought the car in 2012 with 84,643 miles on it and has done nothing but oil and tire changes. That means it is a bit overdue for some maintenance but thankfully my Miata had basically the same exact history so I already know what will need to be done. Some boomer had bought the car like 5 years prior, drove it around lightly, didnt do shit, left me with tons of small things to fix. But at least now I can come armed with a detailed list of things the car absolutely needs even before I look at it. Asking price of $5150 sounds like to me that he wants to get $5k after a mild back and forth haggle. However, I am more keen to wanting it for around the $4k-4.5k range due to the absolute need for a timing belt replacement. While its a non-interference motor and will at worst strand me, the water pump (changed at the same time) is of bigger importance. A failed water pump on this engine is a dead engine.
The timing belt job on a Miata is every 60k according to Mazda, even though California requires it to be 100k (with no different parts - figure that bullshit out!). Either way, at 133k its overdue on either schedule and would be a top priority for me. Some other things that would be high on my list would be a radiator, brakes, cam/crank sensors, plugs/wires, hoses, and belts just because I did all of those before 150k on mine. But the timing belt is the only DO NOW OR ELSE thing.
Currently my plan is to check out the car on Sunday if the guy is available. My main focus will be to make sure the body is in good shape and no rust anywhere. I should be able to figure out if anything is off mechanically just by test driving it. I’d hope to get in a good 15-20 minute drive if possible. I’m considering bringing my compression test kit too but at this mileage there would be way more red flags if I really needed to even check that. I am concerned he is going to pull the “i know what I got” typical boomer schtick but I am in no rush to get a car right now so I will just walk away if I cant get it much under $5k.