The Miata of the Month from

October 2012

Joseph Martin and his 1999

Signorelli on Miataforum

Congratulations to Joseph on the selection of his Miata as the October Miata of the Month!

I had been scouring Craigslist for some time trying to find a 99 model Miata within my price range, which was less than $4500. After about a month of searching I found a Craigslist post that was 34 days old, and had a picture of a Miata that had red A-pillars and the rest of the car looked to be spray painted black. The post requested either $4,500, or trade for a motorcycle.

It was at this point that I got a bit excited, and figured it wouldn't hurt to offer him a bike I had recently picked up to resell. I texted the owner, actually expecting it to be sold, only to find out he still had it. Not really expecting him to want a Ninja 250, I offered him my 2009 Ninja 250 with 3,500 miles. To my astonishment he accepted and wanted to meet up that very night! While that wasn't feasible, since the listing was about 200 miles from me, I offered to meet up with him the next morning. We got to the meet-up location and when I saw the car, I was both amazed and appalled...

What I thought was black spray paint ended up being RhinoLiner truck bedding!

Besides the cosmetic destruction the owner had done, the car ran very well and shifted very smoothly. I took her home, and immediately parked her directly in to our paint booth. I didn't hesitate to begin stripping the car down to make her look new again. The front half of the car was sprayed with high-temp paint, and sanded off easily...

But the woes came in once we hit the doors; the RhinoLiner.
I tried to sand it by hand; nothing.
Tried with a power sander; nothing, just made my sandpaper tacky.
Trying to fish for ideas, I tried aircraft stripper... And it worked great!... A little too great. It stripped everything down to bare metal.

So I worked from the passenger side of the car around, until I got to the rear bumper... Well, obviously I couldn't use it on the plastic, so I had to think of something else. I tried scraping it with a razor blade, and that was just tearing up the bumper and was making me angry... So I stopped for a bit, and started looking at the rest of the car, exhausted already. When we noticed that the RhinoLiner by the fuel door was very thin, and some of the red showed through.
This gave us an idea; what if we try using gasoline?
Low and behold... The RhinoLiner just WIPED off, no issues, no difficulty... Simple. After about 10 minutes, we had the rest of the car cleaned of RhinoLiner and we were ready to sand and paint!

Ten days went by in the booth, between weather and time before we had her to the beautiful Candy Apple Red Pearl paint that she now sports. Hours after we put the final coat of clear, it was time to make sure that my new love had the best paint job that I could offer her...

So I took the 1500 wet/dry sandpaper and started sanding down any orange peel that was in the finish, and then buffed and polished her to the mirror shine she has.

About a month down the road, I found a deal I had been looking for to fix the headlight gap issue. I found a "new" front bumper for cheap, and ordered it, as well as ordered a new rear bumper to fix the issue from the aftermarket exhaust. Another month went by before these even came in; but once they did, they were sanded and painted to match the car, and installed on, giving her a nice clean and completed look... The look of a 2001 now.

It's here that she sits for now... A beautiful work of art to me that I passionately restored.

All of the photos I have of her, which include before pictures, during the painting, and after pictures can be found on Flikr. Also, my thread on the forums also outlines the story and process.

Joseph Martin (Signorelli)
Pace, FL

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