The first-ever GF1 Championship winning Alf Romeo 158.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is an icon of the automotive industry. Over the last three decades, and spanning four generations, more than a million units of the iconic droptop sports car have been sold, surpassing what the Porsche 911 has taken more than 50 years to do. The affordable sports car has even survived a market that has turned to crossovers, outlasting the Toyota 86, and even the Fiat 124 Spider, which isn't returning for 2021. But while Miata culture runs deep in the United States, with many customization options ranging from bespoke bodywork to kits using donor Miatas, the Tipo 184 kit is arguably the most spectacular we've seen, turning a relatively run of the mill NB Miata into a Formula 1 icon from the 1950s.
The mastermind behind it is TV personality Ant Anstead, who decided to create a tribute to the Grand Prix car that won the first World Championship GP ever, way back in 1950. That car was the Alfa Romeo 158, a car that took 47 wins from 54 Grands Prix in which it raced. Less about the history and more about the kit, though. The Tipo 184 kit makes use of a second-generation Mazda Miata (NB), taking one of the finest driver's cars ever and turning it into a vintage racer. The kit comprises a tubular frame and all the body panels required to mount to the Miata's chassis, and even features an exhaust that runs down the left-hand side of the bodywork. There's a little caveat, though, as the exhaust simulates 8 cylinders when the Miata's engine in fact only has four. Also included is a single seat, a wooden steering wheel, customized suspension, and period-appropriate spoke wheels with central wheel locks.
Mechanically, you still get the donor car's powertrain; a 1.8-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder generating 142 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, mated to, in most cases, a manual gearbox. If we had our way, we'd search for a post-facelift model, as those came with the 1.8L and a six-speed manual, generating a little more power and making the most of the wonderful chassis. That's where the Tipo 184 name comes from, with the first two digits representing the displacement and the last representing the cylinder count, compared to the original racer's 1.5-liter 8-cylinder.
The Tipo 184 kit won't be widely available, however, as Ant is currently offering just ten of them as part of his pre-launch build. Those that do purchase the kits will be able to build them in his shop with his guidance, with the entire experience priced at £7,499 ex VAT, which works out to a tick more than $10,000 at current exchange rates.