I bought two hardtops to use on my fleet of Miatas with the intention of painting them to match two of the cars. Both had to be retrieved from long distances, so I needed to be able to latch the tops to my 2000 SE when I picked them up. So, before making the first trip to Tennessee, I had to prepare the car to accept the striker plates.
The tops were purchased with striker plates and mounting screws, but without the Frankenstein bolts. My 2000 SE did not have the side panels cut out to fit striker plates. I was unsure how to even remove the panels. So again I did some research to learn what I could about how and where the striker plates mounted. I found this site that had pictures showing how and where they made the cutouts. http://mx5cartalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=37140.
I had to do some experimenting on my own to remove the panels. This is how I removed them.
The cover on the top of the door post must be removed, or swung out of the way once the screws are removed.
There is one plastic clip that holds the rubber seal that should be removed very carefully to avoid breaking it. Mine broke.
The wind blocker was removed.
Then I removed the plastic push clip on the rear of the seat belt tower and one on the side.
On the top rear of the seat belt tower there is a plastic clip connecting the split I removed it to allow the panel to slip past the seat belt.
The surround where the seat belt enters the panel just slipped upward out of the panel.
The U-channel on the edge of the door came off easily when I pulled on it but it went under the door sill. I popped the sill up in the rear and the U-channel was free.
I then used a long screw driver to assist with popping the panel clips under the panel free. I believe there were two or three.
The panel came off after slipping the seat belt through the slit.
Once I took off one of the panels, I found that the carpet glued to the panel had slits cut for removing the section of carpet at the proper location. Also the panel had a faint outline of an oval showing the location make the cuts.
I used a 1-1/16” hole saw to drill from the back side at each end of the oval.
I then used a Dremel tool to cut between the holes to finish the cutout.
An X-acto knife was used to trim the burrs.
I was left with a very professional looking cutout.
I was unsure if the cutouts would fit the striker plates properly so I carried my tools with me to pick up the first top. They fit beautifully. No additional trimming was necessary.
The first seller was gracious enough to borrow some Frankenstein bolts from a friend and loaned them to me for the trip home. Once installed, the top fit perfectly without any adjustments.
Top #1 ready to head home.
Top #2 ready to head home.
I ordered additional bolts from a dealer and now have enough bolts and striker plates to mount the top on three of my Miatas.
Now all I have to decide is color to paint the hardtops. Both are red. One will be painted Sapphire Blue to match the 1999 AE and the other may be painted either Black to match all my Miatas, or Evolution Orange for the new project car.