Simpson Design Italia GTZ

by Michael Satterfield

Simpson Design is a small coachbuilder in the Pacific Northwest that specializes in building retro-inspired sports cars on the Mazda MX-5. The companies latest creation has been dubbed the Italia GTZ. Drawing from the timeless lines of coachbuilder Zagato, the GTZ was commissioned by a client who wanted a sports car that was reminiscent of the Aston Martin Zagatos of the early 1960s. 

Not a replica but an homage to the classics of the past that can be driven daily thanks to a reliable modern chassis and drivetrain. The client had Simpson start with a brand-new 3rd generation Mazda Miata. Virtually everything bolted to the car was removed. The all-custom body panels were first hand-shaped out of steel by Jim Simpsonmoldedmoulded and produced for the final car in lightweight fiberglass by Sunbacker Fiberglass in Monroe, Washington.   

 All the windows were custom made in glass, masterfully crafted by Glass Armor LLC in California. The side windows are tempered glass and the quarter windows and rear windshield are laminated safety glass. Custom internal bell cranks were built into the doors to accommodate the vintage door handles while retaining the side body impact structure in the doors to guarantee no compromise on crash safety.

Every interior is handcrafted to the individual client's specifications. The materials for any interior are carefully chosen to impact all of the senses- the feel of the seat, the smell of fine leather, the gleaming finish of the handmade steering wheel. In the end, the interior is the most intimate part of a driver's experience of their car. 

Jim started Simpson Design in 1978 as an outlet for his original design work in building custom sports cars. One of his creations, Blue Ray 3, a concept car built on a preproduction second-generation Mazda 929 prototype chassis, represented Nardi at their 60th anniversary at the Concorso Italiano during the 1992 Monterey Pebble Beach weekend. As part of his associations with Mazda, his designs on Miata platforms have been featured in Mazda's booth at the Laguna Seca Historic races.

A Simpson Design car is not a kit or a replica, you can't order a body to install on your own Miata. Each car is handcrafted by Jim Simpson himself for clients across the USA and as far away as Asia, Europe, and even the Middle East. If you would like more information or to see more of Jim's incredible designs visit