Cyberpunk Mazda MX-5 Packs Onboard Cyberdeck

Back in April of 2019, inspired by iconic films such as Blade Runner and Akira, [Chris Watson] embarked on a journey to create his very own cyberpunk roadster from a 1991 Mazda MX-5. After pouring an incredible amount of blood, sweat, and fiberglass into the project, he now has a vehicle that wouldn’t look out of place cruising the streets of Neo Tokyo. Even if you’re not usually into car mods, his impeccably photographed build log is an absolutely fascinating journey.

But as impressive as the car itself might be, what really caught our attention was the computer sitting on the dash. From early on, [Chris] wanted the vehicle to have a companion cyberdeck that would be used to control various onboard systems. At this point it’s just for show, but he says ultimately it will be integrated with the electric motor he plans to install in place of the MX-5’s original power plant. We can’t wait to see it.

Of course, the lack of a practical application has hardly stopped us from admiring any of the other cyberdecks we’ve covered thus far. This one started out life as a laptop with a broken screen, which [Chris] beheaded and connected it to 15″ external display mounted in the top of a heavy-duty case. With a new SSD and a fresh copy of Linux Mint to verify all the hardware was still functional, he put together an MDF bezel for the display that includes some faux antennae and covered aircraft style switches.

When this futuristic roadster is making an appearance at a car show or contest, [Chris] makes sure to load up some suitably high-tech looking imagery on the display. It even shows some flashing technobabble error messages pulled from The Fast & The Furious.

Traditionally we haven’t covered many custom car projects, though to be fair, we traditionally haven’t seen many that looked like this either. But between ever more technologically advanced vehicles and the insightful car modding column helmed by our very own [Lewin Day], we expect tricked out rides may become an increasingly common sight on these pages.

9 thoughts on “Cyberpunk Mazda MX-5 Packs Onboard Cyberdeck

  1. Not going to lie, the best part of this build is the ‘danger to manifold’ fast and the furious reference.

    I am pretty bummed that the ribbon cables on the screen are just decoy cables, at first I thought he had managed to take the laptop apart and extend the display cables. It is actually just an external monitor plugged in over vga.

    1. I think it’s entertaining to watch guys run over their own oil coolers because the wood screws into plastic idea is a classic fail.

      It’s less entertaining when your car gets hit by their flying debris or you get rear ended by one of these guys because they spent all their money on bondo and electronics and skimped on maintaining their brakes.

    2. How about the offroad 4×4 LED pod lights that have no functional purpose on road going vehicles? Side note they’re illegal to use on the roadways of the US… as are the led “headlights,” and LED or HID bulbs in your factory 1999 Ford F150 reflector headlights… one of the few traffic laws I find entirely and disappointingly unenforced in the ‘States.

        1. Well, he’s referring to people who swap led or HID bulb “kits” into standard halogen bulb based reflectors. I’m guessing the 1999 Ford F150 was just an arbitrary choice of an older vehicle that doesn’t have projector housings.

          I have no problem with people upgrading their lights, but only if they’ve got a way to do it with a proper beam cutoff so it’s not blinding everyone. (Either replacing with a newer model headlight designed for HID/LED, or retrofitting a projector)

          I actually find a lot of the factory LED headlights are the worst, though. I think when the rules were created, they were thinking from the perspective of a standard halogen reflector, so now they’re all throwing the same amount of light from 1/10th the area, and even the stray light is hard to look at.

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