Photography by: ©2014 Toni Avery & Ron Avery

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I recently purchased a 2013 Mazda Miata Club. But me being a car girl and this being my second everyday car, leaving it stock wasn’t in the cards. I’m not talking ridiculously large wheels or an expensive engine modification, no, more reasonable yet fun mods anyone on a budget can do.

First was the exhaust. Out of the three cars I test drove, the Miata had the least exciting exhaust note. So while I signed the paperwork I added a new exhaust into the deal. Since I purchased the car from Galpin Mazda, GAS (Galpin Auto Sport) would be installing the exhaust. Almost as fast as I purchased the car, the exhaust was installed the same week.

While I was looking for improved sound, the Magnaflow exhaust provided so much more. The horsepower was bumped up 8 hp to 175 hp (167 hp stock) and the torque also improved by 10 lb-ft to 150 lb-ft (140 lb-ft stock). The car also shed about 2-3 pounds with the new exhaust. The sound is great! I even get those wonderful exhaust crackles when downshifting.

Magnaflow exhaust: around $800 for 8 hp and 10 ft-lb gain and 2-3 pound weight reduction. All while improving the exhaust note, can’t beat that!

Believe it or not, but the Club version of the Miata does not come equipped with Bluetooth. Living in California and driving a manual, Bluetooth is a must. I also added this into the deal and had it installed the same day as the exhaust.

The tiny screen that shows you which menus you are scrolling through is placed right next to the cigarette lighter. The dial, play/pause button, end/pick-up call buttons are all in one compact unit that can be placed anywhere there is a plastic surface in the car. I chose the location you see below for convenience in use.

The system works great! I also have my iPod connected and can receive/make calls with very little distraction. Since the Miata also doesn’t come with a navigation system, my iPhone now serves as one. The map app that comes with any iPhone acts as a navigation system and gives directions through the Bluetooth, which plays through the cars speakers. So even if I’m listening to the radio or my iPod, the system silences whatever is playing to give directions. The same goes for when calls are received. The system asks if you would like to accept the call and you can either say ‘accept’ or press the ‘pick-up’ button.

Parrot Bluetooth: around $200 for hands free phone use, hands free navigation (on any iPhone) and iPod connection.

These next mods are more aesthetic than anything but really improve the look of the car. They can all be found on

The original pedals on the Miata were as plain as plain can be and needed some help. I found these great pedals for a very reasonable price, $79.95 and while they look easy enough to install, they aren’t just a ‘snap on and you’re done’ type of job. Warm water was needed to sort of soften them and force them to snap over the pedal. Not too much drilling is required but you’ll need some serious upper-body strength for the installation.

The Handbrake was another item that could use some help in the looks department. I found a really well made leather hand brake handle for just $69.95. This was one item I thought would be better in the hands of professions such as those at GAS. After installation, the end result is a great visual upgrade but in terms of practicality, the fit causes a little difficulty when engaging the push button to release the brake. While I’m happy with the look, I think this is one improvement that could be left off my list.

New parking brake handle

Finally, the easiest upgrade was the shorty antenna. Again, I found this one for just $26.95 and installation was as easy as unscrewing the old tall antenna and screwing on the short one. This is a huge improvement over the stock antenna not only looks wise, but also when I go to cover the car I don’t need to remove the antenna. Reception is just as good with the shorty and it looks ten times better!

Short antenna

Pedal Set by IL Motorsport: $79.95, Leather Hand Brake Handle by IL Motorsport: $69.95, Shorty Antenna: $26.95

Update: More upgrades have been made to the Miata including a leather shift boot, blacked out badges and alcantera hood gauge cover.