My name is Taryn and I live in Auckland, New Zealand. Some people might know me from iheartstance, the blog I started just over two years ago to document my new found automotive obsession from day one. Today Speedhunters has given me the opportunity to share with you my story of how my MX5 Roadster, the ‘Miatasaurus’ changed my life.
I guess I’m not what people would consider the average car enthusiast. For a start, I didn’t grow up around cars, and going back three years ago I was completely clueless about anything automotive. I didn’t even know how to change a wheel! It wasn’t until I turned 21 when I started hanging around a few ‘car people’ that I started taking notice of them. But it wasn’t drifting, drag racing or anything remotely speed-related that sparked my initial interest. It was the controversial trend of stance that originally caught my attention.
Somehow I found myself swept up in the stance craze, where mottos such as ‘if your car is drivable, you’re not low enough’ and ‘form over function’ took priority. I loved the idea of having a low car with flush fitment, but my knowledge was limited.
I decided to buy a ’93 Eunos Roadster, and I couldn’t wait to spend every dollar that I earned on my new project! With visions of enormous 10-inch wide wheels, insanely stretched tyres with ‘mexi-poke’ offset and chassis rails resting on the pavement, my Roadster was going to look awesome and that was all that mattered.
But all that changed when I hopped in and drove it for the first time.
As my MX-5 journey began, so did my love affair with the car. What I saw before as a convertible chassis with ‘stanced’ potential had become something so much more than that, and as I got used to driving the completely stock car, I found myself wanting more.
It was no longer just about looks – I guess you could say it awakened the true, genuine enthusiast in me – a small but important departure from what had previously been a fairly one-eyed automotive appreciation. The chassis was nimble and lightweight; ideal for developing my previously non-existent skills behind the wheel, and I soon realised I could have a lot of fun doing just that.
I started going along to local track days and learned how to drive properly. From that point onwards I felt differently about my MX5, I understood the car better – I understood its purpose. I enjoyed being in the driver’s seat more than ever before.
With my new found appreciation and understanding of what my Roadster was truly made for, I built my car with the intentions of having a good balance of form and function. I kept the engine near stock and with a good suspension set-up. This was all I needed for the perfect beginner’s car. You can read the specs here.
It’s still been interesting pushing the boundaries with my ride height whilst wanting functionality as these are two things that generally don’t go together! New Zealand has very unaccommodating roads for lowered cars, and not to mention very strict laws on ride height, suspension modifications and stretched tyres.
Our country has a huge modified car scene, one of the biggest per-capita in the world. You would struggle not to see at least a dozen modified cars just driving to work, and we get a lot of cool JDM cars that the US has never had access to.
We also have a huge MX5 presence, which until a few years ago was mostly middle-aged males and (usually eccentric/colourful wig-wearing) older ladies. But since I’ve had my car I’ve met a lot of younger MX5 owners, male and female, and we have all shared similar tastes in modifying our cars. With the NA chassis being so cheap and easy to buy parts for, more and more people here have picked up on this and have jumped on the MX5 bandwagon, which is great to see! I know they won’t be disappointed.
Speaking of JDM, my MX5 also encouraged me to take more of an interest in Japanese car culture in general, with nostalgic Japanese cars and wheels becoming a growing obsession for me. This year I’ve also been working on a new project, and over the last month the overall look of the car has finally come together. Meet Project Z…
To give you a short overview, it’s a ’75 Datsun S30Z with a replica G-nose, ZG flares and OEM fender mirrors added, on 15×9 and 15×10 Work Meister CR01s. But this car’s story will have to wait for another time.
My Roadster has been a huge catalyst in my journey to discovering my own automotive passion. Perhaps it helped me realise the most important thing of all. I’ve learned that a car is far more than what you see visually, it goes much deeper than that, and to truly understand that you have to get out there and make your vision a reality in the real world, not from sitting behind a computer screen.
Behind the paint, the wheels and the stickers, your car will always be a machine. I guess I never knew how much joy it was about to bring to my life until I sat behind its little steering wheel and gave it a chance.
I'm 17 and my 19 year old boyfriend bought and restored a mk1 Mazda mx5. Was the best thing ever. But, in the end he sold it and ended up getting an s14, which is amazing.
Since I'm now driving this year him and I are ready to buy and restore our first car together and it's going to be an mx5 once again.
Cannot explain the excitement!
This story has made me more determined.
Weare rocking her IheartStance and Low Dreams Fitment Queens stickers on our W124 estate. My wife and I enjoy when chick do big things for the automotive society. We appreciate your work Taryn and keep up the great work. Sorry to hear you sold MX-5 but defiantly warms our heart you are building an S30Z with the ZG front end.
I have both of those cars... i pulled my S30 out of the weeds though I wish mine was that nice. good taste
Most def, nice build... (the Nissan too of course!). I wish more girls in my country could grab the passion of cars like you did!... well done!!!
Awesome write up. This is how passion comes about. Begins with an interest, curiousity takes over and you follow through discovering and growing to love something. Be it a person, thing or car, a lifestyle or culture.. Tasteful roadster you got Taryn, and what a bad ass s30 project. Look forward to reading into that.
Really cool car for her, really gorgeus Nissan for the project. Those wheels looks amaizing. Anyway, not expecting to see this on a girl. Beautiful contry New Zeeland (one of very few I would live in)....
Anyone that can find and identify a true passion in life, and then devote their soul to pursuing it should be commended. Good on you for being open to more than just "the look" and taking the time to learn and understand your car, as well as the joys of driving and the nuance of set-up! Regardless of the ultimate goal (stance, grip, drift, etc) it is always refreshing to read about those who commit themselves to a passion.
Really enjoyed this, different outlook which is good, and fresh, and just a we bit hotter than larry LOL...........
Nice to see more females getting into the sport, but 10 inch wide wheels on a Miata and "stance" are going to hurt the cars performance more than help it. Owned and raced an NB for 6 years with success, currently hold a few track records. It's unfortunate to see people drawn into the scene by the fads and trends that often come to pass as quickly as they came on the set.
To each his own, but someone should really take this girl out in a properly modified Miata to keep her on the right track with tuning and modifications. "stance" has no function, no respect from established veterans of tuning/racing and is a hell of a thing to spend your hard earned dollars on. Just my opinion though, she can do whatever she wants with her money.
It's nice to read a well written article about another Kiwi's passion for cars, and it sounds like you've learnt a lot in the past two years. You've built up a great following and are a source for inspiration, regardless of whether you're male or female. Keep up the good work.
Much and love and respect to her and her car, but is this really "SpeedHunters" worthy? If this was a just a regular male with the same story, I'm sure no one would care to listen to his story...
Just my two cents.
Awesome piece! A woman's touch on a piece of beauty like the S30... sounds like magic to my ears. Can't wait to see!
Congratulations, great to read your story and see your pride and joy....! Well done from mx5 club member in Ireland.!
Really nice to see girls in automotive scene. I'm from a country that does not allow to modify cars much, but slowly I'm making my mods too, and see girls like you motivates me even more!
she can have my heart anyday. pretty and she knows her stuff, wow, whoever wins her heart is a very lucky guy
I'm glad that someone who started in the stance scene realized cars are much more interesting when they're not considered fashion accessories that accent their skinny jeans and flat-brims. More power to you, regardless of whether you're a female or not, in realizing that there's more to automotive joy of machine than hard parking.
@JohnathanWhye it is the same car, he is my fiancé and we are building the car together :)
@jayvelliott How do you figure that? Just stick to hecking youtube dork.
@jayvelliott Seriously...why the hate?
@LucasECarpio Who's joking, a girl that "gets it" about cars. Being pretty is just a bonus.
Stance turned her from someone sitting in the front right seat to a driver. There's one solid plus! The article clearly mentions the thought about balancing look and performance and as it's her car who can say where to draw the line?
some camber and lowering your car can bring a good riddance of better lap times/handling if you do it right, stance isnt all about demon camber and air susp. you know:)
@Pancakes Front left seat in NZ* Yeah thats what I said above, it's her money she can do whatever she wants man. I've never understood aesthetic trends in the automotive world, especially when it comes to spending big $ on those trends. Thats all my point was. Stance is an incredibly unsafe and backwards tuning philosophy, especially for someone just getting into cars. What you hate to see is someone have to re learn all the wrong technique and philosophy they filled their head with hence why I said I was glad she had a change of heart at some point.
@pedeyI didn't read the whole article, I stopped reading after the line "my Roadster was going to look awesome and that was all that mattered." Didn't realize she had an epiphany mid way through and realized what the MX-5 is all about. Thank God! I would hate to see the lessons a Miata can teach a driver thrown away over the stance craze. Good for her. Hope she enjoys her car to the fullest.
@Carlf I know. I raced a 2002 MX-5 for 6 years. Every definition I can find of stance entails slamming the car and extreme camber that kill a cars handling. A little bit of camber and lowering a car appropriately isn't "stance" it's just proper tuning.
In my opinion fully adjustable coilovers are a bit much for a beginner to concern themselves with especially on a car that has ~90-100whp provided the motor is healthy, but whatever, glad she's enjoying her car.
It's all about the driver Taryn, the best money you can spend is in getting good instruction and spending as much time on track as you can. Enjoy your MX-5 girl.