The Tall Person Mods for NA/NB Miata. After purchasing a NA Miata as a fun street/track project car, I discovered that at 6’4, it was a rather tight fit. When I sit upright, my head scrapes the hardtop. The steering wheel and leg clearance are also major issues. With long legs, turning the Miata wheel is difficult. I needed a lot more area for helmet clearance and adequate handling to transform it into a Miata track car.
This tutorial will go through all of the tall man mods for NA/NB Miatas. The list isn’t in any particular sequence, but it does progress from simplest to most difficult to complete. The best part is that the bulk of these tall people upgrades are completely free.
It’s also worth mentioning that the clearance on NB Miatas is significantly lower than on NA Miatas. As a result, gaining more space will be more difficult for NB owners. The amount of clearance you require or desire is determined on the purpose of your Miata. Track cars will need more of these modifications so that you can get your helmet beneath the roll bar. The first couple will probably provide some increased comfort for a daily driver, but you won’t need a floorpan drop kit or something crazy like that.
Tall Person Mods for NA/NB Miata
- Door Handle Replacement
- Sunglasses Removal
- Shim for the Steering Wheel
- Spacer for the Steering Wheel
- Steering Wheel Reduction
- Seat and Bracket Replacement
- Gas Pedal Upgrade
- Drop Floor Kit
1) NA/NB Miata Door Handle Replacement
So far, one of my favorite tall guy upgrades on the Miata is the inner door handle. When your foot is on the dead pedal, the door handle/arm rest gets in the path of your left leg and makes turning left difficult.
Getting additional steering room and leg space is as simple as removing the arm rest and replacing the door pull with a piece of nylon or a Porsche-styled door handle. The arm rest is secured in place by three screws, so you’ll have three screw holes to cover once it’s gone.
You can go for a single bolt door pull, such as the Racetech Door Pull. You can also make one with two bolts running from the top hole to the middle hole. You can buy kits for this for $30-$60 or construct it yourself for under $3.
Advantages: more horizontal leg space allows for simpler steering.
Cost: free or a few dollars up to $60.
2) Miata Sun Visor Removal
The Miata’s fold-in-half sun visors are practically useless in blocking the sun for tall persons. When folded down, it takes up too much area to see anything. And when folded up, it simply obstructs your vision.
So, removing the sun visors is a great 30-second mod. This does not help with “fitting” or getting more space out of your NA/NB, but it does increase visibility.
I haven’t found a need for a sun visor, but if you do, you can consider installing a sun tint on the top of the front window.
Advantages: increased visibility.
The cost is nothing.
3) Foamectomy of the Miata
A foamectomy may sound dubious, but it is one of the simplest ways to increase headroom in your NA or NB Miata. A foamectomy is the removal of portion of the padding from the factory Miata seats’ seat and backrest.
There is a lump in the foam at the bottom of the seat. By removing this bump, you can gain around 1 inch of headroom. You can go even further and remove more than just the bump, but this can make it hard to drive on a daily basis.
Furthermore, removing some of the foam from the backrest allows you to lean back slightly more without having to slide the seat up. This also adds some more space and comfort.
You can do it yourself or take it to an upholstery shop for a more professional service. My 30 year old stock chairs are already in such bad shape that I can’t justify spending money to have them repaired. It takes take some effort to pull the entire seat, but it is not a tough task.
DIY Miata Foamectomy Instructions
Benefits include additional headroom and lateral movement.
Cost: $0 if done yourself, $100-$200 if done by an upholstery shop
4) Remove the steering wheel shifter
Both the NA and NB Miata steering columns contain “shims” that act as spacers for mounting purposes. By removing these shims from the steering column, you can effectively raise the steering column’s height.
Removing the shims raises the steering wheel by around 1/2′′ to 3/4′′, allowing for additional leg clearance. Here’s a how-to video for an NB2. I believe this should be relatively comparable to the NA and NB1 models, but I’ll confirm this once I get my hands on this mod.
Advantage: more leg clearance beneath the steering wheel.
The cost is nothing.
5) Steering Wheel Spacer for Miata
Tall people’s knees are the biggest issue with the steering wheel. The steering wheel scrapes against your knees, making it difficult to turn with your hands. As a result, moving the steering wheel closer to you is an option. This is also advantageous for track driving.
More knee space is gained by moving the steering wheel closer. However, if you have a beer gut, this may not be an option. This isn’t my favorite change because it makes getting in and out of the car more difficult because the wheel sticks out further. You should be fine if you perform a foamectomy and remove the steering shim.
For additional clearance, I like a smaller steering wheel, removing the shim, and either a foamectomy or racing seat. Smaller steering wheels with quick release can benefit from spacers (which are less expensive) to move the wheel closer to you.
62mm NA Wheel Spacer: https://supermiata.com/62mm-NA-miata-mx5.aspx
Supermiata 55mm Steering Spacer: https://supermiata.com/55mm-steering-spacer-NB-miata-mx5.aspx
Advantage: more knee clearance with the steering wheel.
6) Smaller Diameter NA/NB Steering Wheel
Getting a smaller diameter steering wheel is the best way to get more knee clearance with the steering wheel. This will aid in both knee clearance and preventing your hands from collapsing into your knees while turning. Getting a smaller wheel and removing the shims is a great way to gain some extra clearance.
The best option is to use a quick release. This also makes getting in and out of the automobile much easier because the wheel can be removed for more space. This is especially beneficial for larger men.
You can also use spacers to bring the steering wheel closer to your body. This effectively performs the same thing as the previous option, but provides even more clearance due to the smaller diameter wheel. If you are larger and have more difficulty getting in and out, putting a spacer on a quick release wheel is far superior to putting a spacer on a stock wheel that cannot be removed. This is a more expensive alternative because the fast release hub + wheel + spacer is more expensive.
Benefits include increased leg and hand clearance and quicker entry and exit from the vehicle thanks to the rapid release.
7) Aftermarket Miata Seats and Brackets
If you have a roll bar and hardtop and track your NA or NB, this is your only alternative for fitting in the car while wearing a helmet. One of the greatest ways to increase head clearance is to install an aftermarket seat with a floor bracket.
The stock Lotus Elise seats are popular swap-ins for individuals who do not wish to adopt actual bucket racing seats. These are popular for daily driving but not for track days because the bucket seats aren’t the most supportive. Kirkey racing seats are arguably of the best for extra clearance, but they are brutal on the street and are mainly reserved for Spec Miatas.
There are numerous pathways to go here, both in terms of seats and brackets. Unfortunately, we can’t really advise you on which path to choose. Because everyone’s body size and shape differ, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Most people would advise you to attend a Miata track event and sit in as many vehicles as possible to get a feel for whatever setup is ideal for you.
Advantage: more headroom
Related : The Choosing Best Steering Wheel: A Buyer’s Guide
8) NA/NB Miata Gas Pedal Modification
The Miata gas pedal mod simply moves the gas pedal backwards, allowing for more leg extension and hence steering wheel space. The one limitation is that this only works for the gas pedal; the brake, clutch, and dead pedal remain in their original positions. Because they aren’t directly next to each other, it can be strange going from the gas to the break.
That being stated, the gas pedal mod necessitates undoing the gas pedal mounting and removing the entire pedal. You must then cut a section of the pedal and weld it back together.
Because having the pedal further back isn’t ideal for heel-toe shifting, this isn’t a great mod for anything that sees track time. I’d recommend sticking to the mods mentioned above before diving into this one, however the video is below if this sounds interesting.
Advantage: more leg/steering wheel room for the right leg
Cost: free if you have DIY abilities, and possibly not too expensive if you buy it from a store.
9) Miata Spec Floorpan Drop
Lowering the Miata’s floorpan is the most effective way to gain greater head clearance. Tall Spec Miata racers are accustomed to doing so. It is, however, the most advanced and expensive because it entails cutting out the floorpan and welding in a drop kit.
The kit itself is inexpensive, but getting the floor cut and the new pan welded in will be more costly. Floorpan drop kits lower the floor by 1.25′′-2.0′′ (depending on the kit), lowering the drivers seat by the same amount.
5X Racing, Advanced Autosport, Mazda Racers, and HHR (Hanks Hot Rods) all have kits available. Depending on how much clearance you require, each of them lowers the seat by a different amount.
Advantage: up to 2″ more headroom
Cost: $300 for the kit, likely $1,000-$1,500 installed.
Summary of Miata Tall Person Mods
Tall men will struggle with any Miata. Particularly the NA and NB models. Fortunately, there are a number of inexpensive or free mods available to make the Miata more comfortable. The extent to which you need to go with big guy mods is determined by your size and how well you currently fit in the automobile. The main concerns for me are headroom and steering wheel clearance. Because I’m planning a street and track build, I’ll have to get a little more aggressive to allow for helmet clearance with a roll bar in the car.
For a daily driver, you can probably stick to simple/free alterations like door handle removal, sun visor deletion, and a foamectomy to improve cabin comfort. I’m going to go with a smaller diameter race wheel, however doing so in tandem with a shim reduction will be the greatest choice for leg clearance. Aftermarket seats are a nice alternative, but it’s difficult to choose one without sitting in it, so we recommend attending some Miata events to discover what works best for you. The gas pedal mod is fine for a DD, but not for any Miata that will see track time. Finally, individuals who need as much space as possible for track days can consider more radical alterations such as a floorpan drop.