We have seen countless modified Mazda Miatas over the years, but none as weirdly spectacular as this monster built by Tommy Reichelderfer in Covington, Georgia.
Reichelderfer grew up around British roadsters and worked his way through a string of Miatas before this last project began. The idea of combining the Miata and his obsession with rat rods, hot rods, muscle cars, a newfound interest in drifting, came about in 2010. Now, after countless hours of bending, tweaking, and fabricating, the project appears to be almost finished.
This menacing contraption, whose original name was Piper, began its life as just another average Miata. All of the work since, other than a bit of wiring and the welding of the exhaust, was performed by Reichelderfer himself.
He's an engine builder by trade, but he learned welding and fabricating in his free time. He told us that this mainly involved lots of experimentation and trial and error.
Although it may look like one of those over-the-top ratty show cars, the entire build is remarkably purposeful.
"The idea from the time I got the car was to go V8 and lose as much weight/simplify the car as much as possible, but I didn't know at the time how it would end up looking," says Reichelderfer.
It wasn't until the 350ish-horsepower Ford 302 V8 was fitted and he was out terrorizing the neighborhood without any front sheet metal that he started thinking of the naked hot-rod look.
Soon thereafter, Reichelderfer got the idea for a '32 Ford front end while thumbing through some hot-rod magazines. There was some concern over it looking goofy at first, but after messing around with grille and light placement a bit, it all came together.
Reichelderfer says there's still work to be done before he'll be happy with the car, but as it stands, the grille and open nose will stay permanently, as will the bare metal bodywork. Instead of applying a clearcoat, he occasionally gives the car a quick sanding with fine-grit sandpaper.
Even in the sweltering Georgia heat and humidity, there have been no signs of rust, and he intends to keep it that way.
Reichelderfer set out to build a killer lightweight Miata with big power, and he nailed it. At the last weigh-in, the car had shed a respectable 180 lbs, all while packing nearly four times the power of a stock four-cylinder engine.
That it looks like the coolest "Zero F**** Given" drift-king Miata is just gravy.