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This Mazda Miata Is Going Straight to One-Sixty in An Upcoming Piston Charity Auction

You’ve never seen a race car quite like this one! Both a Spec Miata racer and a Bonneville land speed record holder of over 160 mph, this 1999 Mazda Miata MX-5 has the undeniably impressive status of “2-in-1” etched into its framework and its history. The Miata has just completed its lap around the Bring a Trailer website in a week-long auction that ended October 30th.

Owner Harvey Siegel generously donated his prized race car to the Cars for Piston Scholar campaign to help jumpstart the careers of aspiring automotive technicians. He is a big believer in chasing one’s dreams and as such, hopes his contribution will help these kids pursue their car-fueled dreams the way he once did on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

By Christopher Perkowski

September 13, 2023

Specs of a Speed Demon

The look, feel, and design of this tricked-out Miata racer stems heavily from Siegel’s desire for a car that can achieve speed records, a 165.296 mph record to be exact. Aptly named the 2160 (as in, “Going to-160”), the splash of orange-red paint streaking across this otherwise bright yellow car is just one of many ways this car tells you it goes fast. The entire drivetrain, chassis, and suspension has been modified for reaching blistering speeds and the custom-made engine can output upwards of 250 horsepower, more than double the output of traditional Miata engines.

While the car has since been reconfigured for Spec Miata racing, the original Bonneville engine, wheels, and tires are included in the auction, making this a true “two-cars-in-one” type of deal. This is great news, especially for the bidders out there with an itch to take on the Bonneville speed record themselves. As Siegel put it, “this car was made to go even faster.”

History in the Making

The Team Siegel story at Bonneville.

So why was a car like this made? It wasn’t easy, with the amount of time, money and effort required. But simply put, Harvey Siegel dared to dream big. “Bonneville is the most captivating and exhilarating motorsports event I’ve ever attended,” he said. It was because of this thrill, this drive to test the limits and go faster than anyone has before, that led Siegel to set his sights on the 2011 Bonneville Speed Week. Together with his son, Luke, and a team of expert mechanics led by Ryan Pilla, he aimed to claim a win as a first-timer and become a rookie record holder.

Siegel’s dream came to fruition thanks to the hard work and expertise of his crew, but getting there was no small task. In order to turn a 115hp car with a top speed of 126mph into a 160mph record breaker, accomplished engine builder Peter Marcovicci had to craft and tune an engine that came within one hundredths of the 2 Liter capacity in order to maximize power while still remaining within the limits required to pass qualifications for the 2 Liter GT class. Meanwhile, Ryan Pilla and his team tackled the matter of fabricating the safety systems, roll cage, safety harness, driver controls and tuning suspension.

By the time Luke Siegel stepped into the Miata, an immense amount of engineering and preparation was already there to send him on his way to and beyond the coveted 160 speed record. It goes to show that if there’s a will, there’s a way and there’s no better testament to that than the 2160 Miata. As Harvey Siegel said, “Without dreams, half the things on this planet would have never been done – and if you’re going to dream, why not dream big and shoot for the moon?”

Listen to the world’s fastest Miata launch of the line for a record run.

The 2160 at MiataCon

During the auction weekend, this fireball of a car also showing off its bright red and yellow colors at the Piston Foundation tent during Lime Rock Park’s MiataCon. It was an event celebrating all generations of the Mazda Miata MX-5, featuring racing, showcases, and much more. Many who attended the event remark on how cool it was to see the Miata up close in all its glory.

Photography and video by Automotive Restorations, Inc.

New Owner, New Legacies

The 2160 Mazda Miata has been tied to making dreams come true ever since its inception. Through Cars for Piston Scholars, this car has had the chance to do so again with its final sale of $25,000 going toward funding even more automotive dreams. The winning bidder of the auction, @LordYellington was ecstatic to be the new car owner sharing their thoughts with everyone saying, “This is super!” With that kind of enthusiasm, anything is possible. Through the participation of bidders, spectators, and you, we’re changing the lives of aspiring technicians one scholarship at a time. And as for the Miata, who knows? Perhaps car and owner have already set their sights on Bonneville, shooting for the stars and yet another land speed record.

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