The Gambler 500 is a congregation of over 2,500 cars and over 5,000 people at the dry lakebeds of Oregon, USA. Here, these specially modified cars set out to battle the challenging terrain of the lakebeds and deserts. The car we’re focussing on here is an innocent Mk1 Mazda Miata owned by Tate Morgan, but as you can see, it’s undergone quite the transformation.
The 1.6-litre engine is unfortunately stock and has over 250,000 miles on it, and as you can see from the start of the clip, it much prefers to run on two cylinders over the full four. The suspension is where things get interesting, though. While the mounting points stay the same, the upper and lower control arms are ungraded and the coilovers are aftermarket allowing for plenty of travel and movement. Custom axles also allow for its ridiculously wide track. At the front of the car, tie rod extensions are being used to allow the 14-inch wheels to be turned to full lock.
The car’s aesthetic is obviously on point for its mission, with patches of the original red paint showing through the blue, a roll cage inside, and a spare off-road tyre hitched onto the boot. In fact, this car is so cool, the late Jessi Combs drove it on her show, The List. After Jessi”s passing, Morgan regards this car as being very special.
It’s completely buggered, very tatty, and falling to pieces. But it’s brilliant and a lot of fun, as you can see from the video. We can’t wait to see it in action later this year.