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This Supercharged Miata’s Resurrection Proves Special Cars Don’t Have To Be Exotic

Mario Bustamante’s Miata will inspire anyone who’s fought hard to build their car into their vision.

byAndrew P. Collins|
This Supercharged Miata’s Resurrection Proves Special Cars Don’t Have To Be Exotic
Tom Gorelik
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This is more than just another Mazda Miata. It's a car enthusiast's success story in overcoming two major challenges: Saving a beloved car after a crash and doing it on a tight time crunch in the corner of borrowed workspace.

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Mario Bustamante, the wrench turner and driver in this episode of CARISMA on YouTube, traces his love of cars back to his childhood. And you can tell from his soundbites that he's still got a youthful sense of whimsy, describing a car as feeling "like a giant skateboard propelled by a rocket."

But even more impressive is the guy's dedication to his machine. Having a project car in NYC is logistically challenging any way you slice it. Rebuilding a car from a major wreck, or rather, putting two parts cars together to make one working machine, on a short timeline, is especially impressive.

Bustamante has insights about the struggles (and payoffs) of having cars as a hobby in 2024 that resonated with me, too. He talks about relating to extreme sports people, not just because of thrill-seeking, but because of how this hobby can knock you down and demoralize you. I think anyone who's spent real time with a project car can relate to that. We always joke about how "cars are pain," but it also makes the payoff truly emotional. There's nothing like driving a car that's only on the road because of your sweat, blood, and skills.

Mario Bustamante with his '93 Miata. Tom Gorelik

The first-gen Miata is still a staple of car culture, and Bustamante's is not particularly wild-looking. With little wheels and a reasonable ride height, you might not look twice at it if you saw it at a meet. The supercharger adds a nice sprinkle of spiciness—but the whole car's pretty darn clean.

Cars don't need to be exotic to be special—they just need to mean something to the driver. After hearing the story behind this one, I'd say the man-and-machine bond is clearly strong.

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