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Single-seater first-generation Mazda Miata is a restomod done right

Italian company Gorgona Cars has revisited the original, NA-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata with an eye on performance. It introduced a prototype called Concept NM that features a lengthy list of modifications and an engine sourced from the current-generation roadster.

The story starts in 2019, when journalist Omar Abu Eideh and engineer David Galliano began brainstorming ways to improve the original Miata. The roadster is old enough that we can call the Concept NM a restomod, though the changes made are more than skin-deep. Over the next three years, the duo created their dream Miata by making extensive visual, interior, drivetrain, and chassis modifications.

Starting with a restored Miata, and drawing inspiration from some of Mazda’s past concepts, they removed the windshield, chopped off the bottom half of the doors, and fitted a hard cover over most of the passenger compartment to make what Italians have historically referred to as a barchetta. The bright trim pieces were painted in black, and the Miata gained a set of 15-inch Enkei RPF1 alloy wheels.

Trimming the doors isn’t simply a design decision: It also increases the Miata’s structural rigidity and protects the driver in the event of a side impact. Gorgona Cars also added a roll bar and strengthened the subframes and several parts of the chassis by welding reinforcement bars.

Gorgona stripped the cabin to shed as much weight as possible. The list of components sent back to the parts bin includes the carpet, the various trim pieces, the dashboard, the passenger seat, the radio and the sound system it plays through, and the air conditioning system. Sitting on a racing seat equipped with a four-point harness, the driver faces a Momo steering wheel and a modern instrument cluster.

This approach to restomodding explains the name: NM stands for Naked Monoposto, which means “single-seater” in Italian. It also plays a big role in lowering weight: The roadster weighs 1,829 pounds in its lightest configuration, or around 240 pounds less than a stock NA.

Power comes from the current Miata‘s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which develops 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque in its standard state of tune. Gorgona plans to offer what it refers to as a power kit that will increase those figures to 225 and 165, respectively, though there’s no word on what the bundle includes. Regardless of output, the four-cylinder spins the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission linked to a short-throw shifter and a limited-slip differential. Adjustable coilovers and beefier brakes are part of the build as well.

Gorgona Cars plans to homologate the Concept NM for road use and bring it to production, though it hasn’t revealed if the United States is on its radar. In Europe, pricing will start at 70,000 euros (about $70,000) excluding applicable taxes and the cost of the donor car.

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