Spoiler: Sharka has a couple new curves!
Before I can dive into this blog post and the 28 pix I have for it, I have to share a bit of history. Many hardcore Miata enthusiasts won’t about know this part. Before a few months ago, even photos of it were pretty rare and hard to find.
I’m talking about the only factory option side skirt ever made for the NA Miata. See the curvy bit under the door on the car above? Yeah, that’s it.
Many have called it the most desirable and most beautiful side skirt ever made for the Miata. While there’s tons of aftermarket options, none are quite as understated as the RS Limited skirts. None match the OEM front and rear airdams as nicely. And none are as rare.
In 1994, Mazda made 500 RS Limited models of the Eunos Roadster in Japan. It was a gorgeous option model. Montego blue (just like the 94M and Sharka’s paint), with the new-for-94 1.8 engine, 15″ wheels, Recaro carbon/kevlar seats, and these side skirts. These were JDM-only cars, never made for export. And of those 500, somewhat less of them (MANY less it seems) were ordered with the optional side skirts. And of the cars ordered with the skirts, not many have made it to 2019.
To learn more about the RS Limited, check out the Roadster.blog page.
I mentioned “a few months ago.” No idea why, but suddenly a handful of these hit the used market. Three or Four sets appeared for sale all at once. Those were the first sets I’ve ever noticed for sale in my 19 years owning a Miata.
I grabbed up the set you see above. It was on a beat up RS Limited living in the UK. HUGE thanks to Chris Horne for finding it for me and sending it off!
Sharka’s set of RS side skirts have seen some miles. They came with no mounting rail or hardware, as it was rusted out and useless. They’re in decent shape, but there’s a few little breaks and scratches here and there.
But they’re gonna be super shiny very very soon.
Any excuse to bring Sharka back to Carmer’s for paint, right? If you’ve not seen, check out the blog entries for Sharka’s full repaint. It’s been exactly four years and the paint STILL looks stunning.
Well, most of it. The lower lip scrapes on something nearly every drive. Four years of punishment has the paint cracking a bit. That small splitter helps a lot, but impact after impact with low pavement has taken the toll. Getting that stripped and re-shot while painting the side skirts won’t be an issue.
Going to Carmer’s always feels like going home and being with family. It’s just the best atmosphere. And I’m allowed to go in and do as much as I want or can. It’s… just fantastic.
I pulled Sharka up onto this little lift and commenced stripping off body parts. The front lip is held on by something like 83 differently sized little bolts. I didn’t want anyone to have to suffer through that. The rear lip and front mud guards came out too.
And then it was time to figure out how to mount the side skirt.
Fortunately, a buddy on MR.net had some of the original instructions for mounting the RS skirts saved on his phone and texted them to me. Everything was, of course, in Japanese, but the photos were super helpful. I just needed some idea of how they were intended to hold onto the car.
Thanks again for the pix John!!
To sum up, you use a metal rail on the side of the car that the skirt hooks onto and has the weight supported by. Then a few plastic mounting pins and some double sided tape takes care of everything else. They mount exactly like the NB side skirts if anyone was curious.
Figuring out the mounts went like this:
1) Hold the skirt up to the car and mark the top edge with tape.
2) Install the metal bracket (36″ x 1/8″ aluminum) inside the skirt and figure out where to drill four holes.
3) Measure those holes.
4) Measure the body to figure out exactly where to drill two of the four holes.
5) Drill two inner holes.
6) Mount the metal bracket on the car with the newly drilled holes. Then mark the two outer holes.
7) Drill outer holes, apply hardware, test fit the side skirt.
I got the extreme pleasure of doing this myself BTW. (insert eye roll emoji here) Ken and Jerry were busy with other projects in the shop and said “Yeah, you can do it. Here’s a drill.” and then I got to figure out the mounting system…
and it worked!!!
(ps, yes, I originally wanted the trained body shop experts to do this.)
The metal bar worked great. It has to be spaced away from the body juuuust enough to allow the side skirt to slide in and make strong contact. I got lucky and found some washers that were just the right thickness.
The only issue was the bolt heads themselves. They stuck out too much in the front two holes and you could see them through the side skirt. A die grinder took care of that. So… yeah, I won’t be unbolting that mounting bar any time soon.
This was my very first time seeing a set of RS Limited side skirts mounted on a Miata in person. I was, and still am, super super pleased with my choice.
They’re subtle and beautiful. Hard to believe these weren’t made as option parts from day 1.
Fast forward a few days….
I randomly stopped at the shop on my way to get more printer ink and… boom! A pile of freshly painted parts. As in being carried out of the paint booth at that moment.
Still warm from the booth cooker.
There’s nothing like fresh paint. Just nothing. I didn’t even want to touch it. Everything was just so flawless.
Also FLAWLESS. Every scrape and scratch was filled. Every broken mounting tab was fixed with a metal backing and fiberglass front. And even the front air dam ducts were carefully disassembled and sprayed inside.
This is what makes up Sharka’s paint. I didn’t post this when I got the car repainted… because I didn’t know! I never knew the Toyota color that went over the Crystal white stripe.
Body: M8 Montego Blue (his original color)
Stripe: 34K Crystal White (3 layers)
Stripe top coat: Toyota 062 Crystal White pearl (3 layers).
And of course gloss clear (5 layers) on top of that.
The Toyota pearl topcoat is really interesting. It’s super thin, not very white, and has the same green flake in it that Montego blue uses. The flake is incredible in person and something I’ve never been able to get a good photo of.
Anyways, after about an hour of standing around and drooling over the fresh paint, I got up the courage to start shoving the parts onto the car.
Insert very manly noises that don’t resemble crying or whimpering here.
So beautiful. So perfect.
Like I said, I was on my way to get more gauge printer ink and just happened to stop by Carmer’s. I then left, got the ink, and drove home by myself… late in the afternoon.
I picked up a freshly washed and beautiful Sharka that next morning.
I don’t think I have any additional useful sentences to add to this blog post. Mostly they’d be full of “LOOKIT THE PRETTY PAINT!!!” and that’s hardly good reading, so I’ll bring this to a close.
I gotta say, it felt great to have a project to bring to Ken at Carmer’s again. And it felt AMAZING to have something to do to Sharka again! The little guy has been quietly sitting in the sidelines while Ramona got all the blog updates. He needed some love.
So, what do you think of the OEM side skirts? Leave a comment below.