Thursday, October 30, 2008

Surveying the damage

The first task after welcoming Winky home was to peel away the damage and to see what the accident did to him.

I had the front body panels off within a few hours. I'm trying to be careful and take my time so I don't damage anything worth selling. I'm also trying to label the ends of every electrical connection so that it'll be easier to decipher when the wiring harness is out of the car.

You can see pretty clearly where the accident took out the front end. The funny thing is that the bumper is in perfect shape. Go figure.

Unfortunately, the frame is bent. That means I won't be able to sell it to a Spec Miata racer or someone who wants a project track car. I'm keeping the VIN anyway for registration purposes, so it would never be worth much anyway. This way too I don't have to be too careful taking stuff off of it.

This also means I'll eventually have to get rid of the stripped unibody myself. A quick call to the metal recycler confirmed that it was worth about $10 as scrap (I'm not kidding). I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Here's a good view of that leaky valve cover. I don't plan on working on the engine until it's removed from the car, so I know it'll drive me crazy. The plan here (other than replacing the gasket) is to powder coat the valve cover and brake rotors Ferrari red and paint the raised lettering white. It's going to look awesome!

The previous owner said it was driven a few miles after the accident. This is a little worrisome given that the coolant spilled out after the accident. At this point I figured it was worth the risk that the heat damaged something. I know that 1.8L Miata engines are tough little buggers, so I'm banking on their legendary reliability.

So after several hours of digging, grunting and cursing, here's what I've got:

It looks like everything forward of the radiator is toast, but everything behind is as good as it was before the accident. All in all I'm pretty happy, and I think that this will be a good base for an awesome build donor. Not having all the forward parts to sell stings the budget a bit (I'm guessing the parts are worth $500), but I'm confident that I'll still end up at $0 total cost before the stripping is done.

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