For everyone else: The Exocet kit comes with an optional pair of plexiglass panels to cover up the lower half of the sides. Flyin’ Miata makes another pair of parallelograms to cover the frontmost opening of the top half. Some owners go a step further and fabricate something to fill out the rest of the “triangles” on the top half. One such person made a few spare sets to sell while doing so, which I decided to purchase on account of my lack of fabrication skills. Nick requested some pics/info when I mentioned it in a previous post, so this is mostly for his benefit, along with anyone else who might be curious.
All the pieces came cut, drilled, and ready for installation. I didn’t realize I was also going to receive the front parallelograms (which I already had from the aforementioned FM offering), so I guess I’ve got some spares now. More on those in a moment.
Also included were several 3D-printed brackets on which the pieces would be mounted. They wrap around about 70% of the diagonal bars and have just enough flex to snap on at each location. The p-clips shown in the top left are for the front parallelograms, so they went unused.
Remarkably, the brackets all snapped on and held firmly in place without issue. The ones that go between the front parallelogram and the adjacent triangle didn’t interfere with what I had already installed either. Not too shabby for a homebrew kit.
That said, it wasn’t 100% plug-and-play in my case. As you might have guessed from the above picture, the bar padding and mirror mount I have wrapped around my top side bar interfered with some of the triangles. Some quick dremel and re-drilling work later, I had them all installed using the provided bolts and locknuts.
Well, mostly quick. I hadn’t worked with plexiglass before and made the mistake of approaching one of the drillings a little too aggressively. You can see the result below. Some plastic-bond epoxy came to the rescue and seems to be holding strong so far. If it fails later on, I figure I can just cut down one of the spare parallelograms and replace the whole piece.
Their effects were immediately apparent on a short test drive. The normally windy cabin calmed down a bit, with most of the airflow now only coming in at around shoulder level or above. Previously, it took a lot of effort to keep my head stable while air was flying in from all directions at 70+ MPH, but now I’d ballpark that it’s about 40-50% less turbulent in that area. At this point, I’m probably just a taller windscreen away from it becoming decently livable for longer highway trips.
As for this chassis’ tendency to draw exhaust fumes inside, I can only confidently say at this point that it hasn’t gotten any worse. I almost want to say they made some degree of improvement, but I’ll need to drive it some more to say for sure since it has only ever been periodically noticeable before.
The only negative I can come up with is an increased buildup of ambient heat from the transmission tunnel. It’ll probably make really hot days a little more miserable, but it I didn’t find it to be too bothersome while driving around in the high 80s today. Not too bad of a trade-off, all things considered.
I think if I was inclined to DIY something like this on my own, I’d be tempted to try for a single piece like the bottom half, and maybe work some rubber lining and/or a tightening mechanism into the brackets for some added peace of mind. That said, I’m still really satisfied with this kit. It was a little pricey for what it was, but then again, it’s hard to argue with being able to make convenient improvements to such a niche application.