Monday, December 19, 2011

the evolution of iheartstance

Continued from this post: The end of an era.

It’s funny to think that my automotive obsession began from a car shaped like a toaster, but it was in fact my Toyota bB that started all this. Just like any hobby it started out as a mild interest. But then it grew, and grew, and grew into something much larger! It grew so big that at the end of last year it saw me sell my beloved bB, in search of a lower, faster future.

And so at the beginning of 2011, I made the decision to embark on a new project. I knew it was going to be a big commitment for me, and I knew that it was going to involve a lot of time and patience. My project was to find and purchase a standard Mazda MX-5, and make it awesome! I remember back then I had dreams of enormous 10-inch wide steel wheels, insanely stretched tyres and mexi-poke offset. At the time, my definition of awesome was all was these things. Form over function was where it was at!

Photo from Stance:Nation

Almost a year later, it’s interesting to look back and view my progress, as well as the process I have been through to get the car where it is now. The part that I find the most interesting however, is that as my knowledge has grown, my tastes have changed and my requirements for my car have changed too. At the time, I had done some research and had a basic understanding of the MX-5: rear wheel-drive layout, compact in size, great weight distribution and most importantly, convertible. The oldest ‘NA’ generation was not only the cheapest, but my favourite shape too. My knowledge pretty much ended there.

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 it I found myself wanting more... it was no longer just about looks for me. I knew this the first time I took the car out on the open road in summer; driving with the top down was so much fun. I couldn’t wait to start modifying it!

I soon realised that steel wheels were just too heavy and I wanted to do something different, so when I saw these genuine Watanabes for sale I knew I had to have them. One of my favourite classic Japanese wheels; they appealed to me because I knew they were good quality and lightweight. They are not very common here in New Zealand, so I was really happy to get my hands on a set! The problem was – they were only 7.5 inches wide? At first I was a bit sceptical, but when I saw them on the car I knew it was meant to be. With such a low offset and a bit of camber, they looked so tough. My view on ‘wider wheels are cooler’ really changed at that point.

I also decided that I was going to need to stiffen the chassis and think about safety too, so I coughed up the money for a hard-top and had a bolt-in half cage put in. For the suspension I went with BC Gold coilovers – another pricey investment but a very worthwhile one! I’m so glad I spent the money on these things when I had it.

One thing that I bought just for the 'cool factor’ was my Bride seats; what I didn’t realise at the time was how awesome it was going to feel being strapped into a bucket seat while cornering at speed. Amazing!

It soon became very clear to me that the most important part of this project was that I wanted to incorporate my style into the car whilst maintaining its driveability. I had come along way with my opinions and knowledge and I knew exactly what I wanted now. I wanted to be able to drive this car! When I have my mind set on something, there is no stopping me make it happen!

With wheels, handling and safety all sorted, it was time for me to make the car legal to drive on New Zealand roads. This was very important to me as I want to be able to drive the car wherever and whenever I want, not just being limited to the racetrack. As well as that I certainly have no intentions of getting in trouble with the law. After a long and painful battle with my LV certifier, I came out on top!

In recent times I’ve finally been able to put some more personal touches into the car to complete its overall look. One of the most affordable fashion statements you can make at the moment is obviously stickers, though I’m a firm believer in that you should have the stance before you put them on. I opted for a simple selection of stickers from my favourite blogs and websites, in matching colours of course!

Photo from Fatlace

After seeing this photo I knew I had to have one of these hard-top spoilers, and after a little bit of digging around on the internet I was put into contact with Project-G. Within 7 days a box arrived at my door.

One thing I’d always liked was the look of the side skirts (with the additional front and rear lip) being painted in the same colour as the body of the car, and I decided that I wanted to go ahead with this.

I ended up going for a full respray in arctic white, including painting my Project-G wing which I really think completes this whole look. Here is the result...

I’m pretty stoked with the overall look of the car now. As well being on form, the car functions to my needs and to me is the ideal balance of the two.

One thing I just wanted to say is that to me, this car isn't just an object that I own. This year as I've grown as a person, this car has grown with me. It's even taught me a thing or two. This car reflects my own personal style, everything I’ve done has been my decision and it’s been done to my own personal tastes. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I always respect that. But with all the internet hype around automotive blogs, Facebook pages and people commenting on everything with their own opinions, it’s easy to get caught up and forget what’s truly important.

When I look at my car I’m not looking for imperfections or negative things to rant about. I look at my car and feel the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you’re about to on a date with somebody you have a major crush on. I truly love this car, with all my heart. It may not be perfect to other people - but to me, it’s the dream.

This blog is about sharing my passion; my love for cars is real, my opinions are real. Just because I post photos of myself with my car doesn’t mean I’m in the scene for the wrong reasons. I’m not be afraid of being myself, and I always try my best to keep it real on here. A blog shouldn't be about being something you're not, and this is truly who I am. Cars are my life, and this particular car makes me very happy. I honestly can't imagine things ever being not like how they are now!

As this car has evolved, iheartstance has along with it. It's brought out a whole new side to my passion - driving! I used to spend a lot of time only taking in the visual aesthetic, but now I have a much better understanding of the functional side of modifying a car too, rather than just thinking that certain things look good. Sometimes I think about how far I've come since before I started this blog, but sometimes I think about how much there is out there in the world that I'm still yet to learn about. At the end of the day, that thought keeps me going and motivates me to both learn more about cars, and become better at driving them. With the Miatasaurus, I know I’m definitely on the right track.


  1. awesome write up and love how low ur mx5 is to :P

  2. Taryn you're first rate, love your blog!

  3. I loved the write up Taryn and I feel your every word. It really is all about keeping it real and staying true to your own ideals and beliefs. Cheers.

  4. What a great write-up to read.... Really makes it painful to see how far you two have come and know that 2011 for me has been learning that I need to say goodbye. :( But seeing yours reminds me of the great times I've had, and how I'm just moving on to my next project and challenge. ^_^ Hopefully there's more track in your future? :) Definitely my most treasured Miata memory. Can't wait to see what you do though!

  5. Love your car. I would love to make my girlfriends something like yours. Shes stock. Just got her springs. I'm slammed. But not a big fan of slammed! Love the blog keep it up!

    *_\Threw it on the ground/_*

  6. Now i hate u...JK i fucking love u but i really want this car!!! can't wait to have it. It's the best miata i have ever seen. COngrats!!

  7. "It may not be perfect to other people - but to me, it’s the dream."

    This is soo very true and i feel the same way with my s13 ;)

  8. i LOVE the look of your car! this is exactly what i've been wanting for my future miata :) i get the warm fuzzy feeling about it too! i don't care if people think its cheesy to have pink rims! its awesome!


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