Racing Beat Air Intake System, Crazy Red Italian

[9/12/2000] Reviewed by Todd Kuzma -

Applicable to '99 + 1.8 liter

High-Flow Intake System with K&N Cone Filter

Product installation was relatively straight forward. It took me about an hour from opening the box to closing the hood. The instructions from Racing Beat were not always easy to follow and the photocopy of the photographs was hard to see. By spending some time reading and staring under the hood, I was able to figure it all out.

The kit requires relocating three relays. Two of them fit just fine on the bracket provided in the kit. The third, which I believe is the fog light relay, was difficult to mount as the wire harness was not long enough to reach. I finally got it to fit, but the wires are stretched taut.

The car now has a great intake growl that reminds me of several Fiats and Alfas I have owned with Weber carbs. My seat-of-pants impression is that the car now reacts quicker and accelerates much harder. Still, even if the performance did not change at all, the kit would be worth it for the sound alone.

 Taking the kit out of the box, it appeared to be good-looking and high quality. After reading some earlier reviews, I was concerned about the mounting brackets, but everything looked good.

This was a good upgrade for my car and worth the money. The look under the hood, the sound of the engine, and the performance are all in keeping with the character of the car. I would recommend it for those wanting a fun upgrade that won't break the bank or require substantial mechanical mods.

Over 30 minutes to remove completely

[11/20/99] Reviewed by James McKiel -

Applicable to '99 + 1.8 liter

180 degree cast aluminum elbow, K&N Filtercharger Cone air filter, mounting hardware.

I installed this on a '99 with cruise control. The cruise control did not have to be relocated. It was shipped directly from Racing Beat. All parts were included and in good condition.

The install was very straight forward until the end. The bracket is excellent and gives a perfect fit. Three relays need to be mounted on the new bracket but the bracket only supplies mounting holes for two. I had to improvise and make my own bracket to mount the last relay. The instructions were acceptable.

I have this installed with a Thermal R&D catback and together they are an excellent match. The RB Intake adds growl when you step on the gas pedal. Not too loud either...not much louder than stock if you don't punch it. I can recommend this mod without reservation.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

[11/18/99] Reviewed by Bob Brackett -

Applicable to '90 - '97 1.8 liter

Large cast aluminum air intake tube with K&N filtercharger positioned just behind left front headlight. System attaches to stock air flow meter and replaces stock airbox.

Overall good product.

Installation Easy, but required bending the mounting brackets to fit correctly.

Aesthetics Looks great. Sounds "different". Hisses/hums loudly at idle. Sounds normal low to mid-range. Aggressively snarls beyond 4000 RPM. Took awhile to get used to the throaty sound, but now I’m beginning to like it. Sounds more like a V6. Still think I’m making more sound than power.

Performance Very slight loss of low-end power. Feels the same at midrange. Jury is still out on top-end. Sounds like I’m making more power, but my "seat-of-the-pants" opinion is that I’m not too sure. I’m accelerating away from other cars more than before, but that may be a factor of now I’m running it higher in the powerband just to hear the intake snarl. Still feel a constriction somewhere in the system. I’m sure an after market exhaust system will help the entire system breathe better.

Issues Added 2 additional braces from the intake pipe to the frame to reduce flex.

 Overall nice system. If purchased as a stand-alone item, expect an enhanced sporty sound, but not a significant increase in horsepower. If you’re looking for a throaty, aggressive intake sound, then this is a good system to buy. If you're looking for a significant increase in power, then you'll probably also need to add an after market exhaust system to take advantage of the increased airflow. Serves as a good platform to further enhance the overall intake system by fabricating a heat shield between the exhaust and the aluminum intake pipe and exploring cooler air intake via a TSI or ducting/hoses, scoops, etc.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Bobby Hewitt -   [8/14/99]

Air inlet from racing beat. Cone air filter with a polished elbow that connects to existing air flow meter. Replaces existing stock air filter. The idea is that this air filter allows more air flow to the motor by relocating the filter directly behind the pop up light as opposed to the existing air snorkel which is placed under the fender rim on the drivers side, thus increasing air and adding horsepower. Manufactuer claims 6 more hp at high revs.

Very easy to install (with crazy red italian's instructions, racing beat's instructions are a bit vague and scary if you have no experience under the hood) This new air filter looks very cool under the hood. A thumbs up for asthetics, It's big, impressive and I love the polished elbow. The looks are what really sold me on this new mod but I also like the idea fo what it does, gets more air to the engine. The bracket that comes with thee kit is way too long and it is required that you bend it considerably os the hood can close (do not close the hood without bending the longest bracket you will damage you hood) They should just make a shorter bracket. Since this is an open air filter it adds a growl to the engine at around 3000 to 4000 rpms but no growl at other rpms. The growl is very noticable but only really shows up at those revs and when you are gusto with the excellerator, if you ease into each gear you can avoid the growl, but then what's the point.

At first I was unsure how I felt about this new sound, The closes sound that I can aquate it with is a motorcycle. I initially though it was too masculine of a sound for a miata and thought it would be some thing you would be more likely to find on a mustang, (I hate mustangs) But after a while this new growl grew on me and now I like it. As for the 6 extra hp I'm not really sure I would like to see the results on a dyno tester. I suspect it may be more psychological hp rather that real improvements but a pasanger of mine said it feels faster than normal. Overall I like this new install. They say that this air inlet can not be used with a front strut tower brace but I have a strut bar from R speed that fits just fine it is the max 5 strut bar. The bar touches the elbow but it does not interfear at all.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Peter Lawrence -

Cast aluminum elbow, K&N Filtercharger Cone air filter, mounting hardware

Looking for an initial step into the after-market performance accessories for my '97 Miata, I took the plunge with a Racing Beat Air Intake Kit (with the K&N cone Filtercharger). It took over three weeks for Crazy Red's to ship it to me; when it finally arrived yesterday I was raring to immediately perform installation. However, today I was so irritated with the kit that I removed it and went back to the stock air box.

The kit primarily consists of a Racing Beat cast aluminum elbow that interconnects the airflow meter box to the K&N cone filter (also included). The aluminum elbow is a fully custom casting that must have cost Racing Beat a pretty penny to tool. Apparently, they spent so much money on the elbow that they were over budget when it came time to designing the mounting hardware. The mounting hardware consists of some brass brackets that look like they were surplus parts from one of those cheap particleboard furniture kits you buy at the local Wal-Mart. You quickly discover that the reason these brackets are made of brass is not so much for the sake of corrosion prevention, but rather because the brackets have been ill designed and need to be pliable in order to fit the kit onto existing mounting hardware.

After removing the stock air box, there are a number of mounting points available to attach the kit. However, I have a hard time believing these mounting points were actually considered when the elbow was designed. Sure, the elbow has been nicely tapped at various points to screw in bolts. However, these points do not correlate well with the chassis mounting points the elbow is supposed to attach to. The brass brackets, you discover, come bent at strange angles to connect to less than obvious points. (One of the two mounting points is, in fact, one of the protruding bolts from the strut assembly!) After attaching these brackets you discover, with horror, that the instructions essentially confess that the brackets are not exactly the correct length or shape, and that they need to be bent in order to prevent the elbow and filter smashing into the hood!

I'm convinced that the elbow was never really designed for the Miata. I feel confident that it was, in fact, designed for some other Mazda car (probably an RX-7) that happened to utilize the same airflow meter fitting. The elbow just happened to shoehorn just barely into the Miata engine bay, and the chance to further subsidize the expensive initial casting costs was too good to pass up. By the time you've bent and pulled the brackets to insure adequate hood clearance, the K&N filter is stuck in a tight corner with sometimes as little as 1/10" spacing between the filter element and the body. Sure, the K&N has a beautiful amount of surface area, but the tight confines of the space the elbow forces the filter into has got to place a big limit on airflow.

Now, ignoring how ill conceived the kit is, how does the kit perform? Well, it creates an absolutely intoxicating sound at open throttle, although the hissing noise at idle makes you incorrectly think something is wrong. I don't feel that it offers any performance gains, but the rewarding sound does make the driver far more inclined to drive near the red line.
There is a definitive need for a product to replace the restrictive stock air box, but IMHO the Crazy Red/Racing Beat Air Intake isn't the solution. It pains me dearly to discard a $180 kit only one day after receiving it, but as an engineer I'd far rather utilize the stock box that keep that dreadful contraption in my engine bay.

Under 30 minutes to remove completely

Reviewed by: Kirk Walztoni -

A high flow intake device (as stated in all the rest of the reviews)to allow your car to "breathe".

Outstanding from a performance and sound standpoint. The pickup and acceleration is greatly improved and the sound makes me smile all the time. I'm sure my gas mileage will suffer greatly because I pounce on the accelerator all of the time now. I'd gladly rec. this product to anybody I know. This was my first performance modification and I don't think it could have performed or gone much better... (I actually chirped my tires in 2nd gear--a first for me)

Crazy Red's instructions where superb! Looking at the Racing Beat's instructions I've no doubt that I wouldn't have been able to install the system myself. I'm glad I paid a little extra and got instructions that even I could understand...

Two things that need to be stated on the instructions are 1) Don't overtighten any of the bolts; I snapped one off and spent an hour using a tweezers to slowly spin the thing out and 2) Note how the bracket is fit on the cruise control before you take it out. You have to reverse how the bracket is attached to the actuator and knowing how it fits on before you take it off is a great help.

Reviewed by: Mike McNally -

Augmented Racing Beat air intake kit; basically, an aluminum elbow that allows a K&N Filtercharger to be mounted in place of the stock airbox.

Completely positive experience, and (important note) I have a Flyin' Miata strut tower brace, with which the intake is documented as being incompatible!

I have a 1.8L Miata with cruise control, and I was able (through the judicious introduction of some home-fashioned galvanized steel mounting brackets) to tuck this thing under my strut tower brace. I won't go into glowing reports of the product's virtues, though I could; I'll just say that others who've commented have said everything I could say. I'll just go into details of how I mounted it for anybody interested. (DISCLAIMER: I've sent this report to Dave (Crazy Red), but I haven't heard back. He may or may not endorse this technique.)

The main problems with the strut tower brace are:

1) It's in the way during installation; not really a problem because (with the Flyin' Miata brace, at least) it can easily be moved aside during the work;

2) The brace mounting bracket is bolted on exactly where the air intake wants to sit. This is a problem.

Being somewhat dense, I didn't get to the note about the thing being incompatible with strut tower braces until I was at the final stages of installation. Therefore, I was able to observe that although the thing definitely wouldn't go where it was supposed to, I could instead fit the elbow under the brace just fine.

I have cruise control, and that proved the key issue: the cruise control thingy needed to be moved much further out of the way than it would for a "traditional" Crazy Red installation. To do that, I used some galvanized steel strips (things for nailing 2x4s up for house framing;  they're less than $2 apiece from Home Depot) and fashioned a vaguely Z-shaped bracket about 5 or 6 inches long. I was able to bolt the cruise control thing down low, so that it would ride under the Racing Beat elbow in its "crook". (I also had to bend the factory brace that's on the front (radiator) side of the c.c. thing.)

I then made another high-tech galvanized steel Z bracket for the outboard mount of the elbow. The elbow tucks tightly under the strut tower brace bracket such that all the ridge thingies at the front of the elbow are forward of the brace bracket. My home-made Z bracket goes  aft of the strut tower onto one of the mounting holes for the factory air box (on my Miata, that's a big hole through which a body-colored bolt goes; I was able to use one of the 14mm bolts from the airbox going through the hole the other way (top down)).

Thus, I have have my brace (which I love) and my intake (which I love), and everything looks nice and tidy under the hood. The only minor concern I have is that the air flow sensor ends up a little closer to the exhaust manifold than I'd like. I'm considering making a crude heat shield (more galvanized steel!) to bolt on one of the bolts that holds the Racing Beat elbow onto the airflow sensor, but I don't know whether it'd be worth the trouble.

Reviewed by: Andrew Vogel -


The Racing Beat Cold Air Intake (CAI) system as offered by Crazy Red Italian ( is an affordable performance modification for the Mazda Miata. The package comes in two versions, one for 1.6liter '90-'93 Miatas, and one for 1.8 liter '94-'97 models. It works with cruise control but is incompatible with strut tower braces. The CAI replaces the stock air filter and airbox -- the large black plastic box behind the driver's side headlight -- and the air intake snorkel which comes off of the airbox.

This system, which is delivered as a kit, comes with the excellent K&N Filtercharger lifetime cone air filter (with roughly 10 times the intake area of the stock unit), a cast aluminum 'elbow', a vaccuum tube, bracing, hardware to hold it all together, and an excellent set of instructions.


There are several reasons to get a CAI system for your car. When your car is running, it needs three things to make it "GO": Air, Fuel, and Fire. The CAI system improves oxygen-rich cool airflow to the engine thereby making the 'breathing' better, and the whole combustion process more efficient.

The result? Better performance. This performance increase manifests itself in more low-end torque, more power for passing & downshifts, and a nice swooshing sound that comes from under the engine during acceleration.

The package is inexpensive (under $200) and gives lots of 'bang for the buck'. Installation is fairly easy, requires no permanant modification to your car, and can be completed with basic tools. Besides all that, it looks great in your car.

David DeNuzzo ("Crazy Red") and Frank DeNuzzo ("Crazy Pa") worked very hard with me to try and get the kit to me before I went on vacation. While it didn't arrive in time, their help was greatly appreciated. I've ordered several things from Crazy Red, and each time have been impressed with their willingness to go the extra mile for me.


This is a fairly simple installation if you do not have cruise control (I don't have cruise control). If you have cruise control, it adds a couple of steps and some more time to the install, but it is still quite managable. It is a completely 'reversable' installation -- there is no drilling, cutting, or other permanant modification of any part of the vehicle. The entire installtion process took me about an hour, and that included stopping several times to double-check the instructions and clean up a little bit. If I had to do it again, I could probably do it in about 30-40 minutes.

The first thing to do is to read the instructions that are included -- read them twice. Nothing in there is very difficult, but it's good to read and have some idea of what you're doing before you approach the car.

Next collect your tools. You will not need anything special; just 10 & 12mm sockets, a socket wrench, small flat-head screwdriver, phillips-head screwdriver, a couple of towels for cleaning the engine compartment and setting parts on, 10 & 12mm closed-end wrenches, and (probably most important) extenders for your socket set. Extenders of 4" and 8" are almost mandatory for the install.

Gather the kit, your tools, some towels, and an empty box (for the parts you remove) and head out to the car.

Broadly speaking, the installation process is this:

* Familiarize yourself with the engine compartment (5 minutes)
* Remove wires that cross over the airbox. (5 minutes)
* Remove the airbox and airflow meter assembly from the car (20 minutes)
* Remove the airbox from the airflow meter (5 minutes)
* Install the CAI onto the airflow meter (5 minutes)
* Install CAI into the car (15 minutes)
* Reattach necessary wires (5 minutes)

The instructions suggest disconnecting the battery, but I decided to live dangerously and leave it connected. No problem there as long as you're careful.

First, open the hood of the car and take a peek into the engine. The area where the work will be done is just behind the driver's side headlight. I suggest following the diagram in the instructions and locating and inspecting all the mentioned parts.

You begin by removing the wiring that is around the stock airbox (airbag wiring, airflow meter cabling, etc.). The stock air intake snorkel is loosened, the air tube removed from the other side of the airbox, and the airbox/airflow meter assembly is unbolted from the car.

Once it has been unbolted and examined (to make sure it will come out cleanly), the airbox/airflow meter/snorkel assembly can be removed. This is a slightly tricky part -- you've got to use both hands and it's somewhat awkward.

Examine the gaping hole left in the engine compartment, and clean up a few loose bolts, plates, and other remnants from the previous air system before proceeding.

You can then go sit down for the next step. Remove the airbox from the airflow meter and attach the airflow meter to the aluminum elbow. The K&N Filter is attached, the braces configured and attached, and then it's back to the car to install the new assembly into the car. There is one step in the process when you're installing nuts onto two bolts that you cannot see. This is the trickiest part of the installation, but it's not bad even if you drop the nuts (like I did).

Wiring is replaced, everything is checked and tightened down, and then the hood can be carefully lowered. Reattach the battery (if you disconnected it) and you're ready to go.


Take a look at the engine -- notice how nice the unit looks in the compartment. Now fire it up. Be a little disappointed because you won't hear anything different while the engine idles in your garage.

However, take the car out for a drive and you'll immediately see that the car exhibits a noticeable increase in power between 3,000 RPM and redline. The engine seems to move more evenly between the gears. Intake growl is present beyond 3,500 RPM and the exhaust note is a bit louder and deeper too, however I don't mind one bit. The sound gets you on every shift -- the car sounds more aggressive and sporty. It makes me smile every time I press down on the pedal! Throttle response is improved, and some people report a 7-8 HP gain and that torque is noticably improved. I have not yet filled up my car to check the impact (if any) on milage.


This is a nice-looking, inexpensive, easily-installed performance modification for the Miata. I would recommend it highly for those Miata owners who want to beef up the performance of their car for a reasonable price.

Should you have questions about this installation, please contact me at VOGELAP@EMAIL.UC.EDU  or through the club.

Reviewed by: Tyra Pierce -

Crazy Red's modified Racing Beat Air Intake

I realize that there have been numerous write-ups on this product, but I did have some experiences that weren't included in some of the other product reviews. First of all, the main reason that I selected Crazy Red's intake over the one offered in Moss Motor's catalogue was the great results that I had with the air-horns that I had bought a few months ago. When researching this product, the estimated installation time was 30 to 45 minutes. It took me approximately two and a half hours. This wasn't because the instructions or product was at fault, but I tend to work slowly to avoid problems. I must say that I am more pleased with the intake than I could have ever imagined. The instructions were lacking somewhat in the picture quality, but Crazy Red did such an excellent job of explaining every step in detail that I did not require any pictures. The only problem that I encounter during the installation was that the K&N cone filter was touching the headlight motor and one of the two pointed studs at the top of the strut tower. I corrected this problem by GENTLY pushing the brace holding the intake until I had the proper clearance. I reported the problem to Bonnie (who was extremely helpful), and Crazy Red himself returned my call to help me with the problem. Did the intake improve my performance? I feel that this was the biggest improvement that I could have made to my car for less than the price of one car payment. I have no idea how much horsepower I gained, but I can say that the wife's Altima can't touch me now. I also love the "growl" that my car makes when I push it. It absolutely improved the higher-end power also. At 80 mph, there is plenty of extra power waiting to be used that wasn't there before. I would highly recommend this product from Crazy Red. Not just because of the excellent instructions, but also because of the great customer support.

Reviewed by: Jeff Barlow -

Intake kit for 1.6L Miata that includes mounting hardware, K&N filtercharger (cone type), and cast aluminum elbow for directing the filter away from the header. The kit also includes hardware to re-route your cruise control server if you have it.

I like this kit. Instructions from Crazy Red are a vast improvement over the Racing Beat instructions. It took about 45 min. to install it by myself, which included cleaning up the areas uncovered by removing the stock airbox. It looks impressive under the hood and adds a nice growl when combined with the Jackson Racing cat back Sport exhuast. As far as performance increases, the engine feels smoother through the revs, though it picks up in urgency past 4K rpm. I can tell a big difference on cooler, less humid days.

Would do it again. Not quite as much HP as CAI, but comes close at half the cost. Also is much prettier under the hood than the Jackson system. I also like the fact that this kit comes with a K&N filter rather than the foam element included in the CAI. I've had both types of filters in my stock airbox and the K&N offers lower and less messy maintenance.

Reviewed by: John Huckins -

Funnel Air Intake System

What we have is a basic bullet-proof mouse trap that two folks improved upon...Both with good results.

Racing Beat took a K&N cone filter, approx. 240 sq. inch. of area versus 24 for the stock unit and mounted it on a 180 degree return bend, cast aluminum, elbow which gets the unit away from the manifold heat.

Dave, The Crazy Red Italian, reworks the brackets so that it will fit a car with cruise control. He also includes a very well engineered set of instructions that Helen Keller or I could follow.

The Crazy Red Italian gave me great service and a product that will put a smileon your face. The sound gets you on every shift. Throttle response is greatly improved...Mileage suffers...never leave third gear anymore. try it you'll like it.

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