Car Feature>> Turbo Tony’s Miata Flamethrower

The first time I spotted this car, I was out at Willow Springs with the yellow Nissan 370Z that I was test driving for my driving impression story on Speedhunters. There were a lot of Miatas at the track that day (obviously, because there was a Miata Challenge event happening at Streets), but in the sea of Miatas parked in the Streets of Willow pit area, I thought this black Miata stood out most. This Miata is owned by Tony Pham, a super nice guy from the San Fernando Valley who bought his Miata because it was inexpensive and fun.

Tony knew he definitely wanted to track his car, but he still wanted it to look good! He admits that there are lots of track monster Miatas out there, but not all of them look as cool as they should. (This is true with any car, not just Miatas.) With this in mind, Tony put just a few styling touches on the car, because that's part of the fun of owning a CAR anyway. If he wanted track-only performance, he could just get a shifter kart or something.

From this side view, we can spot his Japan-spec Mazda side markers, and if you look really closely, you'll be able to see his Finishline polished gas cap, awesome looking Garage Vary front lip spoiler, and Mazda R package rear lip.

My favorite piece in the interior of Tony's car is the RS Watanabe "Falcon Racing" steering wheel. I own one of these steering wheels also, and I can tell you it's definitely one of my favorite steering wheels in my collection. The way your hand grips the wheel is very cool, because it's not a traditional round shape, and it's not your standard "anatomic" wheel either. The RS Watanabe steering wheel has an angled grip, which makes it feel unlike any other steering wheel I've owned. Super cool. If you want top quality wheels and steering wheels, RS Watanabe is the choice to make. Expensive, but worth it, because you touch your steering wheel every time you drive your car, and people see your rims every time they see you out on the road.

Behind the RSW steering wheel is a Daikei steel boss kit (very cool), and NRG quick release kit (hmmmm….), M Road polished air vent rings, Mazdaspeed shift knob, KG Works hand brake, A-spec spin turn knob, Razo pedals, and a bunch of gauges – an AEM wideband O2 and ProSport boost gauge and fuel pressure gauge set in below the radio.

See the front mount intercooler? Yeah! This thing is turbocharged! Turbo + Miata = fun!

When I set up the day for Tony's photo shoot, I actually asked Tony if he could come early, so I could shoot car-to-car shots of Peter Li's Miata from the passenger seat of Tony's car. He graciously obliged, and we set off to shoot Peter's car first. However, it wasn't until we were on the way back from taking photos, when I was riding in my friend Felix's Lexus, that I noticed something really cool an unique about Tony's car!

Well, first of all, Tony's Miata is fast as hell for a street car. That thing moves. He passed us on the freeway so hard, it felt like we were parked! Second of all, right after he guns it, Tony's car shoots out fireballs!!! Siiiiiiiiiiick!!! It looked all crazy to see, as the sun had just set, and this shadowy black car passed us quickly on the left side, and just as he passed us, a fireball shoots out of his exhaust! COOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!

Seriously, Tony's car makes me want to buy another FC3S RX7 again, or even a Miata, as long as I slammed it and turboed it right away. I wanna spit flames on the freeway too! So dope.

Here's Tony's engine bay. What we're looking at here is a 1.8 liter NA8CE engine, with a turbocharger and supporting parts. The turbo and front mount intercooler are from CX Racing; the turbo manifold and blowoff valve are from HKS; the turbo timer, radiator cap, and radiator cooling panel are from GReddy; the 2.5" downpipe, intercooler piping and exhaust are from Bodywerks; the oil cap, diff mounts, and motor mounts are all Mazdaspeed; and Tony chose an ACT Prolite flywheel, Exedy 3-puck clutch, and Mazda Type II torsen differential to aid him in kicking the tail end of his car out. This whole engine setup is controlled with a Megasquirt standalone ECU, with OEM FD3S 550cc injectors for delivering the fuel.

I seriously LOLed when I saw this turbo. I didn't even put my camera down; I just laughed and said "Tony! What the hell is Mingzhu?! That's hilarious!" He just laughed with me and said, "dude, I know, I know… it's a China turbo, but I got it super cheap; the guy from CX Racing hooked me up, and if it goes out, I'll just get another turbo. I don't care! The manifold is HKS. Some people talk *** to me, but hey… it works!" Tony has a great attitude when it comes to his car. He knows that his off-brand T28 turbo is likely to fail someday, but it's okay. Even top brand turbos fail when they get old. Knowing Tony, he'll be prepared to handle it and will most likely have a spare turbo ready to go when this one is on its way out.

Look at that rear camber! If that doesn't capture your attention, then maybe the JDM Eunos and Roadster badges will. I think the Miata R-package rear lip spoiler looks really good on Tony's car. It's clean and subtle, yet stylish. Just how I like my cars.

You might be wondering what type of suspension this car has. Well, you can clearly see the Autopower 4point rollbar, but underneath the fenders, this Miata has H&R race springs, KYB AGX 8-way adjustable shocks, Secret Element drifting tie rods, and shock hats and bumpstops from Fat Cat Motorsports.

Oh, and it's not a suspension component, but in case you were wondering, that's a Bodywerks 2.5 inch exhaust.

I can't believe that a car could look so nice with cheap wheels! Not to diss his wheels, Tony knows damn well that the wheels aren't very expensive. That doesn't matter. What matters is the fact that they're available in good sizes, and they're cheap enough for amateur drifters to buy several sets of them. Tony's running 16×8 (0 offset) XXR wheels, which I like because they look similar to Panasport 3pc wheels (the face), but they have a stepped lip, which makes them look a bit closer to RS Watanabe. Real wheel experts will be able to tell they're not RS Watanabes right away, but I think these have got to be some of the best looking "budget wheels" out there.  As you can probably see from the tire tread and sidewall, the tires are Falken Azenis RT615s.

Props to Tony for making a really good looking "budget built" Miata, that is stylish and functional. He drives this car every single day… but what's more, he also drives it at grip events and drift events! People from the Roadster community better look out for Tony Pham, he is a great up and coming driver, and he's a really nice and genuine guy, so people are naturally drawn to try to help him out. There need to be more people out there like Tony, and more cars out there that blend style and functionality (and budget) like Tony's crazy flame spitting Miata! RESPECT!

-Antonio Alvendia



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desktops of this car... PLEASE!! hehehe


i wish i had a name like turbo tony lol

the car is really nice, i'm not a big fan of miatas, but this passed month i've seen some nice ones from you guys, and i think this one tops the list


for real, headbanger... i agree with you. in terms of looks + performance, i think this Miata is probably one of my top 2 favorite cars if I had to choose ONE Miata to daily drive, from what we featured this month. I also like Peter Brusa's Miata in Atlanta a lot... but then I'd want wheel fitment more similar to what Peter Li was rocking. Either way, these guys all have awesome Miatas.... but out of the group, only Tony's spits flames. So dope!

BTW: i just thought of that nickname as i was writing this story, haha


lol i kinda assumed you thought it up as you always reffered to him as Tony and not Turbo/Turbo Tony

did you manage to get any shots of the flame-spitting? i'm sure that would make an amazing desktop


i have to admit . the flames from this car are sick .

im a believer.tony knows whats up


I just LOL'ed reading the part about the Mingzhu turbo, isn't he afraid of the thing failing on him anytime? Its got to be like a ticking time bomb knowing all the fake parts that comes from China (not to diss Chinese products or anything) The car does look quite dope with those setups, would make any any owner proud to have a car as good as that. Like HeadBanger said earlier, got any photo of the flame-spitting?


wahhhh Antonio accepting knock off wheels!?!? !hahah im kiddin


Antonio thanks for finally giving the Miata props for being more than a girls car. Tony has what is one of my favorite west coast Roadsters right now. If you ever want some pics of some Texas Roadsters let me know. We've got everything from DD's to drifters to track monsters.


Look nice buddy.


Yeaaaa!!! Congrats on the feature Tony! :)


trackfiend, damn man you shoulda sent me that comment like a MONTH ago! mazda month is over now dude!


Yeah, Tony! Dope ride.


thanks guys =)


Du ma con cac! Why yu alway hav diffent car?


I'm not Miata fan never really was but like tony's car. i've known Tony for a few years. he wrecked his miata a few years ago at the nos center and gave up drifting and got a ls400 so we called him ls400 tony. in fact that's what i have in my contact list on my phone. Anyway I was with Tony during the photo shoot sincce I intro'd Tony to Antonio so i thought it'd be coo to hang out. In fact I helped with the lighting as well as Tony himself. like I said I I'm not a real Miata fan so I didn't know what was in the car all this time until now. I don't know what's jdm or domestic on that car. I thought his Chinese turbo was jdm LOL. The car is dope I sit in it pretty good comparing it to my friends s2000 in which i barely fit and i'm about 5'9".

Side note after the shoot on the way home we blew a heater hose a couple miles from the photo shoot in Pasadena. Too many fireballs? We managed to pull over before losing all the water and overheating. We abandoned the car went to Hurry Curry in old town to eat. Tony and Jp went to gas station in the morning and fixed it. Wait a sec, Tony did you not want me to mention the hose thing i can't remember? lol

as always antonio great pics


failsauce on those hideous wheels


Well if you happen to be out our way on the 22nd of February Antonio you should come to a little town called Mineral Wells. There will be a very grass roots drift event that day at the local airport put on by Fabricated Motorsports. The big deal about this event is that the tandem competition that afternoon will give four drivers the chance to earn their D1GP USA provisional licenses for this year. These guys are dedicated to the heart of drifting and the friendships it develops. Once again awesome pics and a sweet Roadster.


what size tires are those? I have the same rims, same size clolor and offset for my 86 hatch. his tires have a nice stretch i think. not too extreme. funny thing, i was gonna put red lines on my lips too. i know these rims aren't jdm and what not but you try getting the cool stuff here in Pennsylvania. plus i only paid $350 for my set. i wonder if they'll look as good on a hachi as they do on this bad ass miata. any body hatin' on these rims, remember, were in a recession. and not everyone can afford the good stuff plus if everyone had the good stuff all cars would look the same.


8-way adjustable dampers?!?!? That's gotta be a new record!


Wow your writing is so fanboy 16 year old first car...

Try and tone it down, and not mention what kind of dream cars you would buy if your parents loaned you the money.


I'm no wheel expert, but just looking at them, those rims look good.


yespls... thank you. there were so many better cars at the miata challenge that could have been featured instead. antonio's miata coverage during mazda month was exactly what i expected.


Great job on getting featured, Tony!

Car is looking great! Good to see nice Roadsters getting some respect!


Props Terry, you always make some nice rides!!! This is probably my favorite!!


sorry phatmiata .. this one is all mines.. terry is my younger brother!


Tony Pham!!

Congrat's bro.. Glad to see another nice miata out of you ;)


And now for the final category of the 2009 Speedhunters Awards, Speed Demon of the Year. As the name