We’ve never tried to hide the fact that we are Mazda MX-5 fans here at Double Apex. We have covered the little Japanese roadster in countless stories over time (click here to see a selection). In fact, we even have our own MX-5 track/racecar, which you can read about at this link: Project MX-5. But our car is nowhere near as crazy as this rally raid MX-5.

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Miata madness

The MX-5, or Miata as it is known in some markets, has a real cult following in the US. Miata owners build the most incredible machinery for road, track and rally use. Examples include this car stuffed with a supercharged V8 and this circuit racer that was built for the LeMons (not a typo) race series. A fortunate side effect of there being so many MX-5s in the US is that owners aren’t afraid to build truly bespoke creations as cars are cheap and easy to come by, unlike here in SA.

Cheap and fun

This rally raid MX-5 was built for a cheapie off-road race called the Gambler 500. Racers compete in this annual event in cars that cost no more than $500. Owner Tate Morgan started with an MX-5 that had nearly 400 000 km on the odo and decided that he wanted to race it in the Gambler 500. His MX-5 is lifted, chopped up, and features a roll cage… just in case. Other than the ridiculous ride height and off-road-spec tyres, the little roadster is exactly as it left the factory, from its interior trim to the motor and transmission. In fact, the motor, as you can hear in the video below, is in less than an ideal state of tune at the moment. The exterior livery has been borrowed from a legendary old racecar in the US.

Listen to the owner chat with with automotive photographer Larry Chen about why his car is so special to him.