Drifting Through The South – Andrew Woolsey’s 1999 Mazda Miata

When I first met Andrew, I was 15 years old, starting my first job at a car audio shop in Charleston, SC. Andrew was going to be training me, and during this process, we began to talk about cars since I was in the process of looking for my first car. He told me about his ‘99 Miata. At the time, the car was stripped down to the chassis, part of a major rebuild. Within four months, Andrew had the car put back together and it was running and driving, ready for the turbo install.

One of the first things that stands out when you start looking at Andrew’s Miata is the engine bay. Unlike almost any other tucked Miata bay, Andrew has routed all of his custom-length wiring through the frame rails and core support, neatly exiting in holes right next to the components. Most tucked bays run their wiring in the fenders. For maximum tire clearance, steering angle, and weather resistance, this was simply not an option for Andrew. The fusebox and the Chevy LS coil packs were relocated underneath the dash, with long custom wires running to the plugs. Small things (too many to mention here) like the custom brake booster line run in the wiper cowl, or the clutch hydraulic line run behind the dash, certainly add to the clean look. The entire bay has absolutely zero exposed wires, except for the plugs that plug into sensors.                           

The motor is a built block with pistons and forged rods. The head has had a custom port job. The intake manifold is a heavily modified and ported NB2 manifold. The turbo kit uses a MKTurbo manifold, downpipe, and oiling system, along with a larger turbo and a custom intercooler piping to keep the routing clean. The exhaust system is a custom MKTurbo built driver side exit 3” system with Silverline diesel glasspack mufflers, which give this Miata one of the best sounding turbo engine notes I’ve ever heard. This means a capability of over 350whp. This car is no dyno queen, it has been daily driven as a turbocharged car, up until very recently and has been incredibly reliable.

After the engine bay, the next thing you notice is the interior. Andrew has spent hours and hours creating a truly custom interior. He is a high-end car stereo installer by trade, so disassembling, wrapping and fabricating interior pieces is not new for him. The dash is wrapped in diamond stitched leather, with a flocked lower portion, gauge hood, and pillars. A custom shelf attached on the passenger side holds his important gauges and the HKS EVC6 boost controller. At the time of the shoot, Andrew was going through a major audio overhaul. At the end of this, the car will feature custom door panels holding Focal K2 components, Focal amplifiers, and a Focal Flax Subwoofer in a custom laminated/stacked wood subwoofer box to perfectly fit in the trunk. Andrew is no stranger to high end audio, and even his old setup with an elaborate passenger tweeter fill stage, Porsche Cayenne mids and tweeters and Infinity woofers was easily one of the best sounding car stereos I’ve heard, Miata or not. And that’s coming from a die-hard audiophile. Wrapping up the interior are two bright red Bride Vios III style seats, Racequip and Takata harnesses, and a Boss Frog Rollbar, painted to match the engine bay.

Moving to the exterior, the first thing you notice is the GV Type 1 bumper. Andrew is a big fan of this bumper and owns a spare one waiting to be painted so when he ultimately drifts this one to disrepair, he will have another one to throw on. The whole car is painted Satin Black with supplies from TheCoatingStore. The wheel setup is 15×9 all around with an effective et0 offset up front, for maximum angle clearance and a more conservative et20 in the back. The front offset warrants a set of flares as well. These wheels are wrapped in 205/50 Federal RSRR front and Federal RSR rear. Andrew also owns a set of XXR 530s in 15×8 +20 wrapped in 195 Toyo T1R that are used as drift spares for the rear. The custom projector retrofit NB1 headlights, flat side skirts, bumper cut, and driver’s side exit exhaust round out the exterior of the car.

In terms of suspension, Andrew is using CXRacing coilovers with a custom tender spring setup he put together to help the car achieve better travel and shock control. Andrew swears by these coilovers and greatly prefers them to his old DIY Bilstein setup, and I would have to agree with that. He is using Chelsea DeNofa (yes THAT Chelsea DeNofa) Level 7 Drift Knuckles for increased steering angle, Supermiata Extended Lower Ball joints, and full poly bushings all around. Arguably the most noticeable thing about the suspension is the fact that the entire chassis has been stitch welded, which dramatically increases chassis stiffness (along with the frame rail reinforcements) and allows the suspension to do its job correctly. A SNS Mazda Parts custom depowered NB steering rack wraps up this portion.

While this Miata may certainly be unconventional, and might not be everyone’s cup of tea, you cannot deny the impressive list of modifications, and the unbelievable number of hours worth of planning, fabrication and testing over the last 8 years. Andrew has built himself a monstrously fast and capable street/drift car. The car regularly attends the Charleston Touge meet, an event which Andrew and I started a year ago, and which gives him an opportunity to stretch the car’s legs and his driving skills with lots of friends and other locals. We can’t wait to see what he will do next with this car!

Photographer: Nico N. (@nico.mx5)

Writer: Nico N.

Owner’s name: Andrew Woolsey

Location:Charleston, SC, USA

Instagram: @andrewxj220

1999 Mazda Miata

Engine mods: Built Block, Ported Head. Big Turbo MKTurbo kit, ported and modified NB2 intake manifold. Custom intercooler piping with HKS SSQV BOV, HKS Pod Filter, HKS EVC6-IR 2.4 boost controller. Full wire tuck and painted bay with a Megasquirt MS2PNP ecu.

Transmission and Differential mods: Aisin AZ6 6 speed transmission, RX7 style clutch type differential. Upgraded Clutch. 

Interior: Custom diamond stitched wrapped dash and trans tunnel carpet. Flocked A Pillar, Lower Dash and gauge hood. Racing Seats and 6point harnesses (Racequip and Takata). BridgeMoto Steering wheel on an NRG quick release and hub. Custom Gauge shelf with 3 round gauges, HKS EVC6-IR 2.4 boost controller. Full custom stereo with Focal components. Boss Frog Rollbar.

Exterior: “Garage Vary” Type 1 Front Bumper, Custom HID Projector headlights, vented hood, front fender flares, rear canards, bumper cut. “Rotiform” ROC 15×9 et0 front, 15×9 et20 rear. Satin Black Single Stage Paint.

Suspension: CXRacing Coilovers with custom tender spring setup. Chelsea DeNofa Level7 Steering Knuckle. Entire car stitch welded. Racing Beat rear sway bar and endlinks. Extended lower ball joints. Full Polyurethane bushings. Reinforced frame rails. 

Brakes: Centric Stoptech Sport Pads and Rotors. Motul Dot5.1 fluid. Stainless steel brake lines.

How did you get in to Miatas? 

When I realized that they were RWD in Need for Speed Underground, and the Manitis kit looked like the Jaguar XJ220.

How long have you owned the car?

8 years.

How long did it take you to build?

The build is never finished!

What is your intent with the car?

A portfolio for my install and fabrication skills and to enjoy on the street.

Is this your daily driver or weekend car?

It has been my daily driver for most of my ownership. In the last year I bought a daily, so I can now build this car to be more extreme.

What are your future plans/goals with the car?

Re-Paint the car, Aero, Electric Assisted steering, finishing the interior, custom audio trunk and door panels.

Shoutouts/Credits/Sponsors: Lawrence at MKTurbo.com. Trey Lance.