Miata Tall People Mods

NA/NB Miata Tall Person Mods

Jake Mayock

Meet Jake

Jake is a founder of 8020 Media and TuningPro. He has over a decade of experience in the automotive industry including parts sales, writing, DIY modifications & repairs, and more. Jake is currently converting his N54 to a single turbo and building a Miata track car. He’s an experienced, hands-on automotive enthusiast who delivers in-depth, well-researched content.

After picking up a NA Miata as a fun street/track project car, I realized it was a pretty tight fit at 6’4. My head scrapes the hardtop when I sit upright. Additionally, the biggest issue is leg clearance and the steering wheel. Turning the Miata wheel is a challenge with big legs. With the goal of turning it into a Miata track car, I needed a lot more room for helmet clearance and proper steering.

This guide is going to cover all of the possible tall guy mods for NA/NB Miata’s. The list isn’t in any specific order but it does somewhat go from easiest to most challenging to do. The best thing is, a majority of these tall people upgrades are free.

Miata Tall People Mods

Best NA/NB Miata Mods for Tall People

  • Door Handle Removal
  • Sun Visor Delete
  • Foamectomy
  • Steering Wheel Shim
  • Steering Wheel Spacer
  • Smaller Steering Wheel
  • Aftermarket Seat & Bracket
  • Gas Pedal Mod
  • Floorpan Drop Kit

1) NA/NB Miata Door Handle Removal

The inner door handle on the Miata is so far one of my favorite tall guy mods. With your foot on the dead pedal, the door handle/armrest gets in the way of your left leg and makes it very difficult to turn left.

Deleting the armrest and replacing the door pull with a piece of nylon, or a Porsche-styled door handle is a great way to get more steering room and leg space. The armrest is held in by 3 screws, so you will have 3 screw holes to cover up once it’s removed.

You can opt for a single bolt door pull, like a Racetech Door Pull. Or you can do one with two bolts that go from the top hole to the middle hole. You can buy kits for this for $30-$60 or you can simply build it yourself for like $3.

Benefits: easier steering from added horizontal leg space.

Cost: free or a few bucks up to about $60

2) Miata Sun Visor Delete

The fold-in-half sun visors on Miata’s are practically worthless at blocking the sun for tall people. When it is folded down it takes up too much space for you to see anything. And when it’s folded up it just gets in the way of your vision.

So, a great 30-second mod is to delete the sun visors. This doesn’t really help with “fitting” better or getting more space out of your NA/NB but it does help improve visibility.

I haven’t found a need for a sun visor, but if you feel like you need something you can look into doing a sun tint on the top of the front window.

Benefits: improved visibility.

Cost: free

3) Miata Foamectomy

A foamectomy might sound questionable, but it is one of the easiest ways to get more headroom in your NA or NB Miata. A foamectomy removes some of the cushion from both the seat and the back rest of the stock Miata seats.

The bottom of the seat has a bump in the bottom of the foam. By cutting off this bump you can get about an extra 1″ of headroom. You can take it further and cut away more than just the bump, but this can make it a bit uncomfortable to daily drive.

Additionally, cutting off some of the foam on the backrest allows you to lean back slightly further without having to slide the seat up. This also helps give a little extra space and comfort.

You can DIY it or take it to an upholstery shop if you’d like a more professional job done. My 30-year-old stock seats are beat up enough anyway that I can’t justify spending money to get this done. It does require a bit of work pulling the whole seat but other than that it’s not a difficult job.

Miata Foamectomy DIY Guide

Benefits: 1″+ of headroom and more lateral movement

Cost: free if DIY, maybe $100-$200 from an upholstery shop

4) Steering Wheel Shim Delete

The steering column on both NA and NB Miatas have “shims” that are essentially like spacers for mounting purposes. When you remove these shims from the steering column you can essentially raise the height of the steering column.

Removing the shims will increase the height of the steering wheel by about 1/2″ to 3/4″ allowing for more leg clearance. Here is a DIY video for an NB2. I think this should be very similar to NA and NB1 models but I’ll confirm this once I get to this mod myself.

Benefit: Added leg clearance under the steering wheel

Cost: Free

5) Miata Steering Wheel Spacer

The main issue with the steering wheel is with tall people’s knees. The steering wheel rubs against your knees and makes it difficult to get your hands around when turning. Therefore, an alternative option is to move the steering wheel closer to you. This is also beneficial for track driving.

Moving the steering wheel closer gives you more knee clearance. However, it might not be an option if you’re rocking the beer gut. This isn’t necessarily my favorite mod since it makes it more difficult to get in and out of the car since the wheel sticks further out. And if you do a foamectomy and remove the steering shim, you should be okay.

I prefer a smaller steering wheel, removing the shim, and either a foamectomy or racing seat for more clearance. Smaller steering wheels with quick release can use spacers (that are cheaper) to bring the wheel closer to you.

NA Wheel Spacer: https://supermiata.com/62mm-steering-spacer-NA-miata-mx5.aspx

NB Wheel Spacer: https://supermiata.com/55mm-steering-spacer-NB-miata-mx5.aspx

Benefit: Extra knee clearance with the steering wheel

6) NA/NB Smaller Diameter Steering Wheel

The best way to get extra knee clearance with the steering wheel is to get a smaller diameter steering wheel. This will help with both knee clearance and your hands running into your knees while turning. Getting a smaller wheel and doing the shim removal is a great way to get a nice amount of added clearance.

Quick release is the best way to go. This also makes it a lot easier to get in and out of the car as you can remove the wheel for some extra room. This is especially helpful for bigger guys.

You can also add spacers to the steering wheel to bring it a bit closer to your body. This essentially accomplishes what the above option does, but gives even more clearance from the smaller diameter wheel. Using a spacer on a quick-release wheel is a lot better than putting a spacer on a stock wheel that can’t be removed if you are bigger and have more trouble getting in and out. This is however a more expensive option as the quick-release hub + wheel + spacer is going to be a bit more expensive.

Benefit: More leg and hand clearance and easier to get in and out of the car with quick release.

Cost: $300-$500

7) Miata Aftermarket Seats & Brackets

If you have a roll bar and hardtop and track your NA or NB, this is going to be the only option for fitting in the car with a helmet on. An aftermarket seat with a floor bracket is one of the best ways to get extra head clearance.

For those who don’t want to use true bucket racing seats, the stock Lotus Elise seats are popular swap-ins. These are very popular for daily driving, but not for track days as they aren’t the most supportive bucket seats. Kirkey racing seats are some of the best for additional clearance, but they are brutal for street driving and mostly used specifically for Spec Miata’s.

There are a lot of routes to go here seat-wise and bracket-wise. Unfortunately, we can’t really give a good recommendation on what route to go. Everyone has different body sizes and shapes so there isn’t really one solution that fits all. The best bet as most people will suggest is to go to a Miata track event and sit in as many cars as you can to get a feel for which setup fits you best.

Benefit: additional headroom

Cost: $500-$1,500+

8) NA/NB Miata Gas Pedal Mod

The gas pedal mod for the Miata essentially pushes the gas pedal backwards a bit, allowing more leg extension and therefore steering wheel clearance. The only caveat here is that this only works for the gas pedal, so the brake, clutch, and dead pedal all remain in the same location. This can make it weird going from the gas to break since they aren’t directly next to eachother.

With that being said, the gas pedal mod requires you to undo the gas pedal mounting and remove the full pedal. You then will need to cut a portion of the pedal and weld it back together.

Having the pedal further back is not ideal for heel-toe shifting so this isn’t really a great mod for anything that sees a track. I’d recommend sticking to the above mods before you get into this one, but the video is below if this sounds useful.

DIY Gas Pedal Mod Video

Benefit: more leg/steering wheel clearance for right leg

Cost: free with DIY skills, probably not too expensive from a shop

9) Spec Miata Floorpan Drop

The most effective route to get more head clearance is to lower the floorpan on the Miata. This is a common practice for tall Spec Miata racers. However, it is also the most advanced and costly as it requires cutting out the floorpan and welding in a drop kit.

The kit itself is cheap, but getting the floor cut and the new pan welded in is going to be a bit more expensive. Floorpan drop kits will lower the floor by 1.25″-2.0″ (depending on the kit) which therefore lowers the drivers seat by the same amount.

There are a number of kits available from 5X Racing, Advanced Autosport, Mazda Racers, and HHR (Hanks Hot Rods). Each of them lower the seat by a different amount, depending on how much clearance you need.

Benefit: up to 2″ of additional headroom

Cost: ~$300 for the kit, probably $1,000-$1,500 all-in installed

Miata Tall Person Mods Summary

All Miata’s are a challenge for tall guys. Especially the NA and NB models. Fortunately, there are a number of cheap or free mods that you can do to make the Miata a bit more comfortable. How far you need to go with big guy mods really depends how big you are and how well you currently fit in the car. For me, headroom and steering wheel clearance are the big issues. Since I’m going for a street and track build, I’ll need to get a bit more aggressive to allow for helmet clearance with a roll bar in the car.

For a daily driver, you can likely stick to the easy/free mods like door handle removal, sun visor delete, and a foamectomy to add a bit more comfort in the cabin. I’m opting for a smaller diameter racing wheel, but doing this in conjunction with a shim removal is going to be the best solution for leg clearance. Aftermarket seats are a great option but it is tough to pick a seat online without actually sitting in it, so we recommend hitting up some Miata events to see what works best for you. The gas pedal mod is okay for a DD, but I wouldn’t recommend it for any Miata that sees a track. Lastly, those who need all the clearance they can get for track days can look towards more aggressive upgrades like a floorpan drop.

Overall, tall people can fit well into NA and NB Miata’s with a few simple interior mods. What tips and tricks do you have for tall Miata drivers?

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