Mike wants to give a big thanks to Bill at MiataRoadster for everything, Kenjo and Garrett from Rad Roadsters for the feature. I want to thank Mike for letting us shoot his car! It’s always great to see someone with such dedication, attention to detail and most importantly it’s good to catch up with old friends.
I’d like to introduce a good friend of ours at Rad Roadsters, Mike Gaite! Mike has been around Miatas, or at least, a specific Miata for more than a decade. When you’ve been modding one car for that long it starts to show in custom details and touches, you just get bored with off the shelf parts and cookie-cutter builds. I’m not saying Mike has a fully built 2 liter stroker with individual throttle bodies, but the car he’s built to the idea in his head is definitely something special to behold, featuring more personally customized and fabricated parts than off the shelf ones. That’s a lot of hours put into a car.
Mike’s story actually started out in the Phillipines a long time ago. His first car, a Toyota Hilux, wasn’t exactly sporty and wasn’t exactly a car either, but he would go on to own a few car imported from Japan. Various Corollas, Galants and Sentras, a few being full blown race cars which he campaigned for Tom’s and other teams. Reminiscing of street racing back on the island, Mike says his favorite car from the past was a 2 door Starlet from Japan with a 4k engine. “It would blow the doors off my brother’s KE70 Corolla from stoplight to stoplight!”
His miata might be the car he’s owned for the longest period of time though, a labor of love for more than a decade and it really shows. He first took notice of the miata when the doctor who delivered his daughter in 1991 had just bought a brand new British Racing Green special edition and offered to let him try it out. He instantly fell in love with it, but didn’t end up buying this Classic Red model 2004.
One of the first things you have to notice is the flawless paint gleaming off the car, then the aggressive width added to the body by the CarbonMiata flares; but something you might not notice is the thin molding between the fender flares and the body of the car. Mike searched for standard molding for the flares because he wanted them to look properly finished, but the molding he sourced was either too wide or much too expensive from dealerships. He ended up finding the right size at a hardware store, made for edging metal plates and in my eyes it’s perfection.
Details like this are never an oversight Mikes car, they MAKE the car. When asked about where he got his eye for it, he said basically that it runs in the family. A family full of architects and interior designers, Mike being an architect himself, you could say this car was chiseled from stone and ought to be displayed in a museum of art. Hey, the OEM taillights were in the New York Museum of Modern Art! It could happen, especially with how this car is always evolving and staying current. I must confess my favorite iteration of it was on a mild set of SSR MKII’s, it was just so gorgeous. Who knows what the future holds for this car, but right now Mike says he’s always contemplating the idea of boosting or V8 swapping it. Maybe a little something special to get back to those racing roots of his.
Chassis – Flyin Miata frame rails – Custom rear cross brace – Custom brake master cylinder brace – Racing Beat front and rear sway bars – TEIN Flex coilovers
Wheels and Tires – Rota RK-R 15×9 +0. Sandblast finish done in house by Rota – Hankook RS3 225/45-15 Engine – Megasquirt PNP – AFM delete – Custom cold air intake – OBX header – TRUST catback – ACT Stage 2 clutch and pressure plate
Body – TRAP 105mm front lip – Brightning bumper intake – CarbonMiata fender flares – Jetstream TSI with custom turn signals and LED bulbs – JDM side markers with LED bulbs – Garage Vary rear panel with Corvette C3 lamps and LED bulbs – KG Works rear spoiler – OE lower bumper trim – Custom headlights with HELLA 90mm projector lamps
Interior – Custom one piece FRP seats with Porsche basket weave upholstery – Custom door cards with Jaguar speaker grills and Porsche basket weave upholstery – Nardi 330mm Deep Corn Sport Rally steering wheel with 50mm spacer – Joyfast shift knob – MiataRoadster custom length short shift kit – OE JDM tombstone – Barchetta short console with custom cover and shift boot delete – Art Works Dewa SA6-R gauge faces – Custom gauge panel – IL Motorsports A/C knobs – Chrome vent rings – Custom rear speaker box with 6.5” 2 way speakers – Custom rear window sun shade/wind blocker – JDM OE Roadster door sill cover plate – RetroSound Radio, Kenwood AMP and Clarion Graphic Equalizer on custom face plate – Zeromotive OE 1002 style pedals – Spec Miata hardtop brackets – Garagestar door bushings
Written by Garrett Ogle
Photos by Garrett Ogle and Kenjo Raif
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